How to organise and display children’s artwork
Updated: May 18, 2019
Displaying meaningful objects is one of the proven ways to make your home instantly happier. Children’s artwork are definitely one of those things that can “spark joy” in your heart. But our kids can be prolific artists, producing treasures at school and preschool every day that they bring home for you to admire and display.
By the end of the first few weeks of school, bookshelves, fridges and walls could be overflowing with creative output of all shapes and sizes … and we all know that clutter is bad for your home, for your mind and for your whole household … even if you try to keep it in the kids’ playroom.
You love your kid’s art―you really do. But when the school floods your home with a deluge of drawings at this time of year, you can easily feel overwhelmed. Pint-size Pollock or not, your children need you to celebrate their artistic endeavours. This will send a clear message that you’re proud of your children, which boosts their self-esteem. But what do you do with all the art? Here’s a system to help you sort, save, and surrender your children’s artwork.
1. Sort It
If your children are grown or if you have older children still in school, you will first start by organising the artwork you already have. To make it fun, do it with them. There should be laughter and some tears reminiscing. Although be careful that some children will want to keep everything they see, even something that has no meaning at all or that they completely forgot about!
Plan to winnow at the end of the school year, or more often if you have more children. Until then, you can keep art that’s not on display in a portfolio.
Make four piles: one for display, one for storage, one to send, and one for the trash.
Place your “storage”pile into categories. For example, you can have; Pre-School, Elementary, At Home, Special Art Projects…
Let go of the items that hold no meaning to your children and you.
2. Hang it
One of the most basic things you can do to save time and little egos is to establish a mini-museum now. As fresh pieces trickle in from school, take down older installations that your child has grown less attached to. Try stringing a clothesline on a wall in your child’s room or playroom and hanging art from clothespins. Rotation is easy, the clothesline isn’t permanent, and clothespins won’t damage the artwork with holes. You can also go for a chic steel wire rod or some reusable magnetic hangers.
3. Frame it
For the Peoples’ Choice pieces, invest in framing so they’re kept safely forever.
The best way to show your children how much you appreciate their art is to choose one or two of your favourite pieces over the years, have them professionally framed, and display them as you would with purchased art. Give your children’s art pride of placement in a busy part of your home. "When I was a kid, I was proud of artwork that my mother had framed,” says Adam Gould, a Brooklyn painter. “I knew what I created was special.”
You can also find display cabinet frames that open and are designed to hold multiple pieces of children’s art. It allows you to swap out the work inside to reflect the season or what your children are currently working on.
Companies such as The Little Square Gallery or Be An Artist can also turn your favourite kids art pieces into a beautiful framed poster. We have personally used them several times to gift our families. The results were amazing.
4. Store it
You can invest in an art portfolio that you can personalise with your kids’ names and even photos.
Keep pieces your children are proud of and pieces that represent milestones, such as their first collage. If one of them drew only sharks for a time, choose the best few. Then put the pile you’ve selected into the portfolio and label it in marker with their name and the year. Add to the portfolio until it’s full, then write on the end year.
You can also use folders & binders, where you can also store certificates and reports. Use plastic sleeves to slip in A4 and smaller artworks. These can be popped on the shelf and enjoyed by you and your children in years to come. Don’t forget to cover the binder in a particularly fetching piece of art!
Store chronologically or, if you’re super-organised, you might add tabs with events or date dividers.
More voluminous artworks need to be stored in an air-tight bin to avoid them being damaged in a few years from now.
This is least fancy option of the bunch, but it’s practical and you can always ask your child to decorate the bin with a few new drawings that you tape inside the bin, facing the outside. As always when you’re organising something, don’t forget to label every single binder, folder or bin.
5. Digitise it
This is nowadays the best way to keep your children’s artwork forever and to be able to share it with the grandparents for example.
Take a picture: This is your best way to digitise especially when the artwork involves glitter and is oversized. For best results, place it near a window to use the natural light.
Scan: This is also an option if you have a large or book scanner. You can also use the scanning apps on your phone.
Phone apps such as Keepy allow you to organise, save and share your kids’ artworks in digital form. Memories, artworks, photos and mementos can be stored and features added such as timelines, narration and web galleries.
Turn your art into a photo album
Lose the clutter and keep the art in one easy-to-find spot, and make copies for your loved ones ! This is something that we’ve been doing as birthday gifts to the grandparents, and it was always a huge hit !
Website such as Blurb make beautiful high quality books that you will be keeping forever.
6. Send it
Sending kids’ artwork to friends and relatives is always a nice gesture. You can use a postal tube if needs be.
Decide with your child whom to send the art to (grandparents, godparents, former baby-sitters, doting friends). The recipient will be happy to get an unexpected package and a sample of your child’s work.
And if you cannot send it nor toss it away once you’ve digitalised everything, don’t worry: we feel you !! Some things are just too sentimental. It is absolutely fine to decide to store everything. And Homefulness can help you with that too !