Being a mom and an artist, I was so excited when my first son started preschool and began bringing home art projects. I had the grand idea that I would be able to save all of these projects in a portfolio for each of my children. When school began, the art projects began rolling in at a rapid rate. I was inundated with finger paintings, alphabet creations and doodles. I quickly learned that unless I rented a storage locker, there was no way that I would be able to save everything that my children's little hands created throughout their years of art classes.
As my second son began his educational adventure, I realized quickly that I was going to have to get very creative in finding ways to display and store their artwork. Projects were coming home at an alarming rate, and I'm sad to say, that since I didn't have any good storage solutions, some of these one-of-a-kind treasures ended up in the recycling bin.
That is when I knew I had to get serious and find some ways to keep their art without causing any major storage solutions. Over the years I have come up with a few storage solutions that allow me to keep and view my little one's creations whenever I feel the need.
- Go digital! One easy storage idea was right at my fingertips for years, and I kick myself when I realized how long it took me to discover it. It is a solution that allows you to save copies of all of your children's art with minimal effort. Simply scan them into your computer and keep them on a disk. You can label each picture with the date, project type or special occasion it represents. I now have a disk for each of my children for each year of school. I simply label it with the child's name and the school year and I am able to save all of their artwork and many of the writing samples, without creating chaos in my home. While it doesn't allow me to save all the originals, it does allow me to keep everything they bring home for future viewing.
- Save me a place! A more creative solution for keeping art originals is to create placemats with your child's art! This is a very simple craft project that your child can help you complete. All you need is several pieces of your favorite handiwork, clear contact paper and a pair of scissors. If necessary, cut art work to a size that is comparable to a placemat. Cut two pieces of contact paper that are a half inch larger than the artwork on each side. Remove backing of contact paper and lay it down on a flat surface with the sticky side up. Center artwork on the contact paper, and smooth out any air bubbles. Be careful, because contact paper is very sticky and you may only get one shot at centering your art. Once the art is down, it is very difficult to peel back up. Remove backing on the second piece of contact paper and place it on top of the project with the sticky side down. Remove all the air bubbles, by poking a small hole in the bubble with a straight pin, then smoothing the bubble down. Trim edges if necessary. Kids love sharing their artwork at mealtime, and may even enjoy the chore of setting the table if they can put out their own placemats! A set of these also make great, inexpensive gifts for grandparents at holiday time! You can also make smaller versions and create a set of coasters! Did you see the great post on DIY placemats yesterday?
- The wall of fame! If you have a wall in your house to display just a few pieces of art, make it your wall of fame! Choose a few pieces of your child's artwork and pick up some frames while your out. You can pick your favorite pieces and make them permanent, you can swap out the artwork seasonally or as your kids bring home new wall worthy art! Kid's love to feel special so being allowed to display their art in a special way for all to see can give them a great sense of accomplishment.
- Make it Stick! Decoupage is one of my favorite activities with my kids. It is something that is simple enough for most older children to handle and it makes a neat, permanent craft. The great thing about decoupage, is that you can do it on almost any surface, so the list of things you can create by combining this medium and your children's artwork is endless! A few ideas are flower pots, old wooden cigar boxes for keepsakes, the outside of a photo album, the top of an end table or desk, jewelryâ€¦the list really is endless. These also make great lasting gifts for grandparents. All you need to complete a decoupage craft is your artwork, paint brush, decoupage medium and an object to decoupage. Simply follow the directions on the decoupage medium bottle and make your works of art permanent! Check out this previous Quirky Momma post on Decoupage!
- Creation Station! In our house, we have a large desk that has been designated our creation station! It is where we keep our art supplies and where the children can complete projects anytime! I knew it was another perfect area to adorn with artwork, I just need to find a way. Then, one day while walking through the home improvement store, it hit me! I was walking through the plexi-glass aisle and realized that was my solution. After returning home and measuring the desk, I was able to purchase a perfectly fitted piece of plexi-glass at a minimal cost. I simply place the art work between the desk and the plexi-glass, and the plexi-glass also helps to protect the desk top while my kids are doing projects and is easily wiped off when things get messy
Once you begin to look outside the box and get creative with your storage solutions, you'll find an abundance of options and hopefully have a little fun in the process! And if you choose to use a disposable option like digital storage, don't trash the art work when you are done! Be sure to toss it into the recycling bin. Some of these ideas are quick and some take an afternoon to complete. Some are neat and clean and some may have you and your child messy as can be. But one thing is assured, you'll be left with many memories without the headaches of having to rent a storage locker to keep it all!
Need some fresh art projects for your child? The Quirky Mommas have some great ideas for you: