For years, I’ve been collecting and saving my children’s artwork. It started with the first scribbles they made before they could talk, and then continued through the glittery painted swirls that they made in pre-school.
Unsure what to do with these abstracts, they have ended up folded and crumpled, stacked in piles, and jammed unceremoniously into file folders and storage boxes in my basement.
With my eldest child approaching 12 and my youngest in fourth grade, I’m no longer pulling wide-stroked paintings of circle faces with arms and legs from their backpacks. I do, though, still come across little treasures now and then, glimpses of a moment in their growing hearts and minds.
However, not only am I running out of storage space but I also feel slightly guilty about the way these memories are being kept. The truth is, though I’ve always thought I should, I don’t actually attach great sentimental value to items. Add to this the fact that I go through bouts of mad purging in hopes of realizing my minimalist fantasies, and often these would-be precious items get the boot.
After all, how many shellacked clay paperweights and handprint turkeys can one keep?
Yet, as pragmatic as I want to be, there are still those special few items that trigger warm thoughts and a smile every time I see them. Those are the keepers. But, how to save them fittingly, in a way that is more meaningful and less space consuming than boxes in the closet?
Here are a few really amazing ways to give these unique works of art their own position of honor in your life.
1. Make photo books.
This one is the most obvious, but it’s a good and simple one. Snap photos of your child’s artwork, upload the digital files to a website or app that creates photo books, and turn the images into a tidy compilation that you can keep on your shelf for years to come. You can also have a few copies printed and give them out as gifts to grandparents.
If you want to take it one step further, Plum Print will professionally photograph the works of art for you – paintings, sculptures, craft creations – before turning the images into a book. They’ll even send you send you a box to put your items in and you decide if you want the originals returned or not.
2. Get fabric printed with your child’s drawings.
My daughter went through a phase of drawing adorable quirky little people that I thought would look amazing as a fabric to turn into a pillow, tote bag, or t-shirt. All you do is upload your image and pick your fabric type. You’ll get an online preview and can order as many yards as you like. Try Spoonflower or Design Your Fabric.
3. Turn it into a stuffed toy.
The drawn animals and creatures of your child’s imagination can be transformed into stuffed toys for them to hug and love. Send them your child’s colorful drawing and a one-of-a-kid, artisan made toy will be created to look just like it.
4. Turn it into jewellery.
I love this idea for those adorable, simple, and quirky line drawings that really young kids are ace at. Artists turn your child’s creations into cut-metal jewellery, like cufflinks, brooches, necklaces, tie clips, earrings, rings, and cuff bracelets.
5. Make it a keychain.
6. Turn it into a proper piece of wall art.
Scan your child’s gorgeous abstract painting and have it printed oversized on canvas. You’ll have an original piece of art for your wall that will have visitors asking who the artist is.
7. Make it a sculpture.
Turn your little one’s colorful drawing into a very cool sculpture. Crayon Creatures uses 3D printing to turn your child’s colourful creation into a multidimensional one-of-a-kind sandstone sculpture that you can display on a shelf.
8. Create a gallery poster.
Have an art poster made using 6-12 pieces of your child’s artwork arranged gallery style and printed with their name, a ‘show’ name, and the year. Visit Simply Create Kids to check out their different styles. a Chir
9. Make it Christmas ornament.
10. Fridge Magnets.
Instead of filling up your fridge door with your kids’ art, have their designs printed on magnets to hold up other things. You’ll still be able to proudly display their work but it will take up less space.