Framing the big picture ¦

These are works from Hans Jean, Jean Dubuffet and Meret Oppenheim that I borrowed from MoMA.

They have inspired me. If people are willing to pay a lot of money for art that looks like this, why am I not capitalizing on what I have at home? I have budding Picassos whose art I can hang on the wall for a fraction of the price.

The big question is how to get children’s art onto the wall without it looking like the front of the fridge. I have found a solution which translates kid’s art stuffed in kitchen junk drawers to amazing wall hangings. No need to shop for posters and art for your home when you have birthed a factory for such things.

This is what creates the magic:

A floating frame. They can be purchased almost anywhere that sells frames. The prices range from under $10 for two pieces of plastic clenched by metal strips to $30+ for glass surrounded by wood. They are extremely easy to use. They look modern/contemporary (which I LOVE, but my house is not) in the store, but on my wall with my wall color matting my kid’s art it is almost style-neutral.
Part of the brilliance of this is that kid’s art is usually irregular in size and shape. They don’t seem to crank out 8x10s, 11x13s or 14x16s. Their medium usually starts with a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper and then gets bigger with tape and glue or smaller with scissors. But with the floating frame you can frame the strange sizes and irregular borders with ease.
The other thing that I am not afraid to do (anymore) is alter the size and shape of the origianal art (gasp!). If you are altering it to frame it and display it proudly vs. not altering it to save it for eternity “just as it is” the loss of artistic integrity will be forgiven.
I also group like artwork together just like I would if I was arranging “fine” art on the dining room wall. Above is a grouping of Reid’s “Blue Period” he painted when he was three. I think if I had just displayed one it wouldn’t have the impact that the three together have. I also have space under this grouping to add 3-6 more paintings since his blue period seems to be in perpetual continuation.
Another thing I watch out for are things to frame that aren’t traditional children’s art. This is a paper that Ryan (then 5) wrote numbers and pretend multiplication tables. Not all his math is perfect, but I think framed it is pretty artistic.
I love placing the art in non-traditional places. I don’t keep the children’s art to just kid’s rooms and playrooms. This grouping is hung in the kitchen. It is the first thing you see when you come in from the garage. The zebra above sits on a shelf in the masterbedroom.

My current to-do list includes picking up a few more floating frames because Ryan just brought this home from school:

Is MoMA in HIS future?


  1. A Mom Two Boys says:

    You is BRILL-IANT! The “is” and “-” are meant to ACCENTUATE your brilliant-ness. Kinda like the CAPS…!!!

    Now, get to work on a way to make my clutter look artsy. K? Thanks.

  2. I love the zebra.

    Also, when the kids create new art and want it on the wall, but you’re reluctant to add MORE frames, put the power in their hands: Ask which art they’d like their new pieces to replace.

    That way, they have ownership over the newly designed walls, and the pride of having their new work featured on the walls.

    I saw this idea (framing children’s artwork and hanging on the wall) in a Real Simple magazine a few years ago, and tucked the idea away for when I have kids of my own.

  3. Happy Campers says:

    Jeff & I were just commenting last night about the art in the hotel room. A big red circle, with a hand drawn black circle in the middle. Framed. Huh?

    You have WAY inspired me with the floating frame idea. I have a big folder of artwork sitting in the playroom waiting to “do something with” but could never figure it out.

    Been to your house all those times & never thought about all your cool artwork displayed as being the boys’ work. YOU ROCK!!!

  4. jennifer h says:

    What a fantastic idea. The floating frames are perfect for this sort of thing, and I wouldn’t have thought of it. (Are you secretly on Martha’s staff, feeding her ideas?)

  5. AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC says:

    H, you are far too creative to be my friend. I have a huge pile of “art” waiting for a home. I should so do this!

  6. Tootsie Farklepants says:

    OMG! That’s the coolest thing ever! You’re a genius! I’m so copying you.

  7. I love this idea. I will have to start viewing my childrens art with a different eye.

  8. Amazing idea! I love them all, especially the blue period. I think the floating frames look so great! I will definitely be using some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Burgh Baby's Mom says:

    I’ve started doing the same thing. Some of the Toddler art is FAR better than the expensive stuff.

    Gorgeous collection!

  10. BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) says:

    Very very cool! I love the floating frame idea. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I have a cool funky drawing my oldest daughter did when she was about 4 of people dancing. They are in all different colors and all over the page…I love it and have it on the fridge but I think I need to frame it.

  11. PeasInMyHair says:

    Very nice!

  12. MoscowMom says:

    Love how you’ve done it! Our dining room is completely covered in the kids’ art, too–but matted w/various construction colors. You’ve inspired me to head to IKEA and stock up that kind of frame instead–and I love the suggestion of letting the kids decide how to work in new pieces by choosing what they want to remove.

  13. Well, I think I need to pick up some floating frames…I’ve got drawers stuffed full of MoMA worthy art…I think even some Hermitage quality stuff.

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