It starts from the first day of preschool – mountains of artwork starts pouring into your home on a daily basis, and before you know it your fridge door is straining under the weight of all your little one’s masterpieces. While an explosion of creativity is a wonderful thing for your child, all those paintings and craft models can quickly take over your home. The trick is to create a system that allows you to display and enjoy children’s artwork for a reasonable period of time, then recycle or store your favourites and – dare I say it – dispose of the rest.
Every piece of your child’s artwork has been made with love and effort, and deserves to be properly displayed, even for a short time. Rather than draping paintings, cards and collages all around the whole house, why not dedicate one special area that everyone can see – say a wall in the hallway or kitchen, or if you’re brave enough a spot in the living room – for a rotating display of children’s artwork. Attach a length of fishing wire or washing line to the wall, and use pretty pegs to hang artwork as it comes in.
Covering a wall in magnetic paint is great for displaying children’s artwork; it creates an instant art gallery that will keep the kids entertained as they arrange it themselves with just a few strong magnets and a step stool. Check out Resene’s Magnetic Magic base coat (Resene.com.au).
Turn favourites into a permanent or semi-permanent display in grown up areas of the home – you’ll be amazed at how much children’s artwork resembles modern works of art when it’s properly framed and hung.
Invest in a few inexpensive frames in different sizes to display paintings, cards and special doodles, and hang them across an entire wall. Lay frames out on the floor first to work out the best layout, and choose ones that clip open easily so that you can change what’s inside at a later date.
Or, whittle down copious amounts of children’s artwork and turn it into an amazing collage – this works best if you look for a single theme such as colour or subject.
Box frames are perfect for those smaller, 3D creations. Keep it simple, don’t overfill the frame, and where possible stick to a single theme such as nature or transport.
And don’t forget lighting – a good downlight will transform even the simplest display of artwork into something spectacular.
Last, if your children are a little older, consider laying glass over the coffee table and slipping paintings underneath.
Unframed canvases are a hugely popular interiors trend right now and children’s artwork, with its bright colours and bold lines, makes a great subject. A quick internet search will point you in the direction of several companies that will blow up children’s artwork into canvases, and can even enhance colours, edit out rips or tears, and generally make them look like something worthy of a gallery launch.
Kids love having a special place in their bedroom where they can quietly enjoy their own little masterpieces. A dedicated shelf on the bookcase or a floating shelf beside the bed are ideal for displaying papier mache models, puppets or masks. Picture pockets, which allow your child to slip in three or four images at a time, are perfect for displaying paintings.
Or line a simple corkboard with attractive fabric and overlapping ribbons (far safer than pins) to hold artwork in place.
Paintings and drawings make great wrapping paper, and will save you money when it comes to birthdays and Christmas. Keep in mind that stiffer paper works best as it’s less likely to tear.
Another idea is to turn homemade cards into gift tags; simply cut cards to the appropriate size, punch a hole in one end and string through some pretty ribbon.
A sturdy box with a lid is the perfect place to store outdated children’s artwork. Opt for a generous-sized box if you have a number of large paintings to store, as it means less folding. For smaller pieces or ones that you’re happy to fold, simply re-use your sturdy Huggies Baby Wipes container.
Make it a special spot for your child by letting them customise it with wrapping paper and stickers, so there’s a sense of occasion when a painting goes inside.
Or, start a scrapbook. Choose one with large format pages so that you can stick various-sized paintings and drawings inside, or a ring binder with plastic inserts so that you can slip pieces in easily.
A scanner will come in very handy when it comes to bulky craft items. Simply print out a digital photo of models and pop them into a scrapbook. Or, if space in your home is really tight, why not start an online scrapbook so you can keep it all on the computer.
Digital technology makes it easy to transform children’s artwork into permanent keepsakes that make great gifts for grandparents and Father’s Day. For top notch results, have artwork professionally scanned or take the best quality photo you can by using an all-white background and zooming in close enough to capture all the detail. Then, go online to the Huggies PhotoCentre and turn images of children’s paintings and craft models into anything from a glossy blown-up poster, calendar, mousemat and coffee mug to a funky kitchen apron. Join Huggies Baby Club and you’ll receive special discounts, including 50 free photo prints to get you started.
Photobooks are another great way to preserve your children’s artwork. Huggies PhotoCentre lets you send in images of your chosen works of art, and it will print and bind them on professional quality paper in a photobook that your kids can keep forever.
Or, what about turning kids’ paintings into wonderful – and cheap – placemats by having them laminated at your local copy centre.
This article was contributed by Georgia Madden