Managing Children’s Art
March 11, 2009 by Stephanie O'Dea
Kids create a lot of art. An AWFUL lot. I don’t save everything—in fact, I toss practically everything that is produced on a daily basis—but I do save and display some of the most decorative items, and the ones that show new milestones (faces with eyelashes, people with fingers, etc.).
Seasonal art is stored in the garage along with the other seasonal decorative items. It’s fun to pull out 6-year’s-worth of orange construction paper jack-o-lanterns each Halloween and hang them together.
I do keep the “newest” art on the refrigerator, but try to limit it to one or two items at a time. I prefer to use the fridge as a place to stick important papers and lists, and if it’s buried in artwork, my papers get lost.
The above picture is of a strip of corkboard surrounded by 1/4 inch round that hangs in our hallway. I put this up all by myself a year or so after we moved in, and I love it. The cork is thin, cheapy cork I got at the hardware store that was already cut in 1-foot squares. I used scissors to cut the cork 4 inches wide, and carefully nailed (with tiny finishing nails) it to the wall (use a level! seriously, use it). I trimmed up the quarter round with a hack saw (the kids were totally impressed) and nailed it on each side with more finishing nails. I then used a tiny bit of putty to fill in the holes. When the putty dried, I sanded it down and painted the wood trim white with leftover semi-gloss paint we had in the gargage. Any gaps between the wall and the quarter round were smoothed out with some beads of Kwik Seal (I love that stuff).
If this sounds too complicated (it’s kind of sounding that way to me this morning, and I did it), just stick up the 1-foot square cork board tiles instead. We have these in the play room over the kids’ desks, and I love them. They are easy to install using the little foamy stickers they come with (use a level), but you will need to use finishing nails in the top corners after a while; the foamies dry out, and the cork falls with the weight of too much art stuck to it. It’s up to you if you would like the cork accessible to children, or up high. My kids are good about not fussing with tacks and have fun taking the art on and off themselves, but I did install it high enough that they need assistance, and high enough to not lure toddler visitors.
Another super easy place to hang additional art is the back of the garage door. We have an a rt area set up out there with messy crafts—painting, playdough, etc.—and I stick on the day’s work with tape. It brings a bit of life to an otherwise ugly garage door, and gives the children a sense of pride to see their work displayed.
Many decorating magazines suggest framing children’s work and displaying in matching or coordinating frames. We’ve done that, too. I love the look, but wish I was better at switching it out. These exact frames with the exact inserted art have been moved 3 times, and the art is about 4 years old. But I like it, and it is a cute arrangement on the bedroom wall.
There are lots of opportunities to recycle kid art: turn it into greeting cards, wrap presents, or send it off to grandparents. I have seen talented women scan in favorite drawings and print out the work onto fabric for an heirloom quilt.
Do not feel guilty for chucking little drawings and notes that come in daily. Save the important ones, and recycle the rest. If you kept it all, you’d be buried in paper.
What are your favorite ways to store/display kid art?
related: It’s PROM Time!