If you have one—or several—young, budding artists in your home, you are probably blessed with an abundance of authentic, original, hand-signed pieces of incalculable value. As their patron—errr…parent—you may find it difficult to keep each and every masterpiece. So what do you do? To toss or recycle them seems such a waste (especially since you must do it under dark of night so that fragile egos can be protected). However, keeping so many stacks of paper on the counter, table, desk, and floor does not a clean house make. Even with the best housecleaning services.
Luckily, there are creative folks out there who have ingenious solutions to this “art-full” opportunity, and we are happy to share our finds with our fans.
The first thing you must do is dedicate some time and gather all the artwork in one place. Sort out your favorites, and include your child in the process, making sure to include the ones of which he or she is most proud. (If that includes all of them, don’t fret—we have ideas for that, too).
- Go digital. If you have a digital scanner, you can scan and resize artwork and create a portfolio with your child’s masterpieces. Once you have a digital file, you can use it as you would a photo, putting it in a photo book, a digital frame, as a desktop image slideshow, or use it to create your own stationary at almost any online photo printer. No scanner? No problem—your digital camera works great in a flash.
- Save for Collage. For those of you who can’t bear to part with any of it, take pictures of the artwork, scale them down to large thumbnails, and distribute in a single frame. This example uses a photo software grid, but you could also pin a few within a shadow box frame or create a collage of images on a bulletin board.
- Spring-loaded frames. One of those “wish I would have thought of that” ideas, spring-loaded frames allow artwork of a specific size (typically in the standard construction or paper sizes) to be displayed and stored, with the most recent masterpiece closest to the glass. You don’t even have to take the frame down to insert the latest piece, just swing open the door, insert, and admire.
- Embrace it as the home décor it is. If you have children, there’s no sense in hiding their creativity. Dedicate a blank wall or mantle or window to the display of treasured things. Change it out seasonally and relish in the organic nature of spontaneous, boisterous creativity.
- Custom wrapping paper. Nothing says “Happy (insert personal holiday here)!” like kids drawings and paintings. It’s a personal, charming touch that will surely be remembered and opened carefully.
- Sharing is caring. Care packages stuffed or packed with kids’ artwork are a great way to share the love. Grandparents, retired teachers, relatives, and long distance pen pals can all benefit from the bright creativity kids pour onto the page. And don’t forget your local nursing homes and hospitals!
We’re sure many of our fans were once young, commissioned artists themselves, and are bursting with creative ways to capture the world and the art that fills it. We’d love to hear more of your ideas! Please share a comment with us.