Thursday, March 18, 2010

Displaying and Storing your Child's Artwork

I have been promising my husband that I would fill and hang the dozen empty frames that have been sitting on the floor in my bedroom for the past couple of months. Last Friday was the first Friday where I didn't have to volunteer so I made myself a long list of to do's and started bright and early in the morning.

I didn't exactly know what I was going to do with all those frames, but I was going to do something or they would be returned. Yet, its so hard for me to return anything that is 75% off. I was cleaning out my son's backpack after he came home from school and discovered a great treasure. I found so much artwork that I absolutely love. I have framed my kids artwork before and now was the time to do it again. Below is my favorite piece E painted. I had to frame it immediately. My snapshot doesn't do his work justice.

It's E's interpretation of his trip to McDonald's. Do you see the golden arches above the red building?

If you are a parent, you are bound to be inundated with piles of artwork which can be a little overwhelming. The refrigerator has only so much space and you can't frame everything. Here is my solution to the stacks of artwork that come home in your child's bag. When my child comes home with something, I place it in this big box where I store all my kids artwork. This box only stores art pieces and nothing more. It is just a temporary storage place and at the end of each month, I pull out all the artwork and sort by child. I then take a picture of everything. I would sort the digital images into folders, by year, by child's name and age. Here is E's newest creation. It is a picture of a fish under water. This picture would be stored under 2010/E/5years.

After each piece has been photographed, I would sort the pieces into two stacks. I would keep the pieces that I love the most. Usually, this consists of just drawings and paintings. I would then throw away (yes, throw away) the rest, usually colored pages, handouts, etc. I have too many kids and too much artwork that I just don't have enough space to keep every single keepsake. I have a picture of everything so I do keep a copy of it, just not the physical artwork itself. The ones that I do keep, but not hang or frame, I file.

The artwork is separated like the pictures, into child's name and age so if I need to ever look up something that E did when he was 3 or I want a copy of A's hand print when he was 6 months, it would take me less than a minute to locate.

So what do you do with the hundreds of pictures you have taken of your child's artwork? What I do is I turn it into a photo book of their artwork. I won't take credit for this idea. I learned it on Oprah. Here is a book I created for E. It consists of all my favorite pieces that he created when he was 3-4. I plan on making one every one or two years for each of my kids.

The cover is also a piece that he painted. Inside the book contains everything that I love. You can also add descriptions of the artwork if you would like. I made this book through shutterfly. They gave me a free photo book once and I have been hooked ever since.

I think that having the great pieces that your child creates all in one single book is better than having stacks and stacks of artwork that may not be as enticing to sift through. Not only is it a keepsake for yourself, your child will absolutely love to look through it as well.

I have also made photo books that describes my child's year. Creations are limitless. You just have to use your imagination. If you don't feel that you have one, just borrow your child's.
I have discovered that the best artwork for my walls, for a book can sometimes be right inside my child's back pack. Take a look and you just might be surprised at what you find.


  1. I just found your blog through Knock Off Wood this morning and I have to tell you...this is a GREAT idea! I can't wait to start photographing the projects my kids do and then tossing the original. I think it will make a lovely keepsake for them when they leave home as well. Thanks for the inspiration! I can't wait to look around some more...

  2. This is such a great idea!!!! I agree with Shauna, I can't wait to start. Thank you so much for the idea and inspiration!!!!!! I have very crafty children. My middle daughter in particular created a whole boxful of presents for my birthday this year and it made my heart ache to think of leaving them behind when we move. Now I can to that and still have them too. Thank you!!!!!

  3. LOVE THIS ... !!!! All of my daughter's paintings are on our fridge... or in her room . Can't wait to put it in a photo book !! AWESOME IDEA !

  4. I love this idea! btw, great blog! I found it while searching for Anthropologie knobs for my kitchen! =-)


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