Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to Do With Children's Artwork

We are drowning in children's artwork around here. No lie. Ever since I set up a permanent crafting station at the kitchen table, it's been art-o-rama. We have painting parties. We have sketch-a-thons. We have a zoo's worth of animals made from paper plates and toilet paper rolls and glitter. Yes, glitter, the herpes of the craft world. And so far, I haven't been able to bring myself to throw a single thing away.

In a drawer next to the mister's side of the bed, I've stashed away nearly every scribble P. has ever scribbled. Coloring sheets. Puffball lambs and cut-outs glued to paper. And of course, every time I shove something new in there, I have to wonder whether I need to save all the figure drawings and finger paintings she has ever done.

Well, almost all. I have recycled some on the sly, especially when she went through that draw-a-line-request-new-paper phase back when she was two.

what to do with children's artwork

Lately I've been saving more and more, though, because her drawings and paintings have gotten better. A rose is a rose. A person is a person. Or something like a person. Her houses have windows and doors and the doors even have knobs. Like I posted a few weeks back, it's just plain fun to watch the details emerge. And like I said above, it means I'm stuffing sketches and paintings into filing cabinets like there's no tomorrow.

There's too much to hang up and anyway, we're running out of wall real estate.

what to do with kid's artwork

So here are some suggestions for things I and you and we can do with all the pretty little pictures piling up!

Make a clothesline display and rotate it. As new stuff comes in, switch out what's hanging up. There are fancy clip lines you can buy (thanks, Pottery Barn), but a string of yarn and some pretty painted clothespins work just as well.

Create an art wall. Dynamic Artwork Frames have hinges on the side so you can switch out the art without too much fuss. Or you could just DIY hinged frames or frames without glass, though, so don't feel like you need to spend a bunch of hanging kid's artwork because of mommy guilt.

Save the okay stuff temporarily, then save the best stuff in a scrapbook.Or an art/journalism portfolio with plastic sleeves - these last foooorever.

Children's artwork makes amazing wrapping paper for family gifts. We have used P.'s scribbles to wrap gifts for two years and probably will again. Protip: Grandmas loves it!

If space is at a premium in your household, photograph all that children's artwork, ditch the hard copies, and make a digital collage. When it's not taking up any space, there's no reason not to keep every painting and line drawing your little darlings make.

But what I'd really like to do if the money is there is photograph all my favorite pieces of kid's artwork - or heck, everything we've kept - and make a thick hardcover book using a site like Blurb. It'll never be all that interesting to anyone but me and the mister and our parents and maybe P. and H. when they get old enough to be interested in what they were like as as littles. So what?

I kept both kid's umbilical cord stumps, for goodness sake! Compared to that, a professionally produced art book is way less wacky.

How have you dealt with the deluge of kid's art at your house?


  1. I cut up a bunch of my kids' paintings, folded them in half and gave them to my mother as note cards for Christmas!! She loved it!

  2. Love the ideas of scrapbooking (or digitally scrapbooking) kids artwork and using it as wrapping paper! I’m horrible…most of it ends up in the recycling bin, though some of them get displayed for a while before they’re gone. I do keep a few favorites though. Who knows if I’ll be able to keep that up when things actually start to look like real drawings though.

  3. I was with you until, "kept both kid's umbilical cord stumps."
    Please tell me you did not boil and eat them in some kind of ceremonial ritual. I kid, I kid!

    We have artwork coming out of our ying yangs too. bought a clothesline display at IKEA but have yet to put it up. was thinking of putting the rest in a big scrapbook album and just keep adding pages


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