Kids love to make ‘art.’ As soon as your child can hold a paintbrush, crayon or pencil they will turn into a mini Picasso, making what they feel are masterpieces, worthy of adorning every wall in your home. Then, when they start school they will no doubt come home daily with yet another contribution of ‘art work’ to add to your walls. Before your child is 6, you could easily have collected 500 pieces of price less artwork.
So what do you do with all this artwork? Most parents pin it up on the refrigerator or a pinboard for a certain amount of time, and then replace it with the next masterpiece that makes it way to your door. The question then becomes, does it get removed from the fridge and pitched in the trash or should you save every sketching and drawing for posterity’s sake?
Saving kids artwork can be a harrowing job. Some things are just so darn cute, that there is no way your parental soul can bear to part with them. Other things, well to put it nicely, would make for great paper to start your next fire with (although your child will likely not agree). And unless you have unlimited space, you will have to some how filter all the children’s art work and decide which to keep and which to pitch.
The following will give you some helpful ideas about how to save your kids artwork, and make sure that you aren’t drowning in framed elementary handprints and square houses.
One of the greatest ideas of all times for saving artwork, is to take a picture of it. (Or just scan it in to your computer where it can be used as a desktop background and shared with family) If the artwork is good but not something that you necessarily want to keep in a hope chest, then take a digital picture of the work and keep it in a file on the computer. This way, the artwork is never really lost and you can preserve the memories for your children. In fact, at some point you could print out an entire scrapbook sequencing their artwork from their first smiley face to their first water color.
Another idea is to make a scrapbook for your children. After the masterpiece has spent its due time on the fridge or corkboard, place it carefully in a scrapbook. You can start an art book for each one of your kids, and this is a much better way of preserving it then simply throwing it in a box and sticking it in the attic. However, if you don’t have the time to compile a scrapbook, but would like to make sure you use plastic sealed bins to save artwork so that it won’t get ruined in the storage process.
Another novel idea, which is especially useful if you have a child that doesn’t want to part with anything they have ever drawn, is to use clotheslines and string and allow your children to display their artwork in their own rooms. This is a much better solution than having it all over your house, which can create quite a mess.
Another thing to consider, however ‘tricky’ if you have a child that has trouble parting with any of their creations even if the random scribble, is to keep it in a bin (after displaying for a day or two) and then discarding it when your child is not around. Chances are after a few weeks your child will not remember or even know the piece is gone.
While you may have an abundance of artwork, chances are you have plenty of family and friends that don’t. Let your child pick a few pieces of their art to gift to friends and family. They will take great pride in mailing it, and then even the grandparents or aunts who live far away will have a piece of your child to display in their home.
For the finer pieces, the ones that strike an emotional chord with you, and that have special meaning you may want to consider framing them and displaying them on your actual walls. Children’s artwork when tastefully framed can be a great personal and emotional accent to your home. Plus, when they are displayed in frames they tend to look more organized than just randomly magnetized to the fridge.
Speaking of frames, one of the best ways to save artwork, is to make a special wall in your home for your children’s artwork and purchase some of the frames that are made for just this purpose. The backs will easily lift off so that you can swap the pictures around and you can always have the freshest and most beautiful piece of artwork hanging in front. Some of these frames are even purposed to provide extra storage areas for artwork so that they aren’t left lying around your home.
Bottom line is that while you may start out saving everything your child creates, eventually you will become overwhelmed with art. Saving every piece of artwork can be tedious and messy. Some things are worth keeping for the long run, while other things to put it nicely, just aren’t. You can purge and re-purge as time goes on. In the end, you want to be left with a collage, notebook, scrapbook, binder, or tote box of artwork that show some sort of development and personality. Eventually you will realize that not everything your child brings home from school every day is considered ‘art.’