Friday, March 27, 2009

So much kid's artwork, so little space...

We love our kid's artwork. We get some crazy, visceral attachment from the moment we see her first scribbles. We ooh and aah over the construction paper farmer with the button eyes. We coo at the color wheels. The golf-ball-rolled-in-white-paint-and-rolled-on-black-construction-paper creation. The pre-school version of Rorschach tests that almost invariably look like butterflies. The too-adorable-for-words feather and glitter and cotton ball thingy.

You know what I'm talking about.

Now. What to do with all of it. Before it consumes your kitchen table, the walls. The very essence of your home.

Here are a few ideas.

My friend Emily has a friend who ingeniously put corkboard into large, inexpensive frames and rotates her childrens' special pieces through. Adds instant pizazz and importance and makes the kids feel great!

Tack one of those metal-trimmed strips of corkboard (they are about an inch tall) across a free expanse of wall in your kitchen, the child's room or playroom. Buy some fun thumbtacks and create your own gallery. I found some really cute flower and dot thumbtacks at -- a package of 30 is only $2.99. They also have ladybugs.

Take photos of your child holding their artwork and place the pics into a photo album. Don't forget to include the date in the caption. Make it fun for the kids by having them decorate the album. If you are a scrapbooker, or just more ambitious than me, check out my friend Lisa Emerson's Creative Memory website to see many digital scrapbooking options. (

Create virtual albums using one of the many photo websites available. I really like Picasa. I've also used Snapfish. And Shutterfly is popular. I'm not a Mac user but Apple iPhoto is supposed to be a great tool. You can upload photos of each piece of art into an album and send to all the equally adoring grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

There are portfolios made expressly to store art projects by grade. These are usually oversized to accommodate even the largest poster-sized versions of the ubiquitous "My Family" projects! I've tried without success to find one of these online. Post a comment with a link if you find one!

For a simple, retro solution, create a "clothes line" out of string or ribbon strung across a window or empty wall space. Use fun clothes pins to showcase prized art. I got some really cute miniature clothes pins embellished with little painted ladybugs at Michael's.

There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday about Ali Wentworth's home. She is an actor who lives in Georgetown with her husband, George Stephanopolous, and their two young daughters. She has a bulletin board that runs the length of their kitchen wall that displays the girls' artwork. She bought it online from a school supply company. The largest I found was a 4' x 8' bulletin board at You could hang two or more of these side-by-side to create the same effect. I also stumbled upon the world o' borders at There are literally hundreds of different border designs -- one is sure to please your Picasso.

I'd especially suggest the digitizing of artwork if you have a hard time actually getting rid of items after they've been properly showcased for a period of time. I'm pretty sentimental but I have an easy enough time disposing of (most of) Mimi's voluminous amounts of art. I just make sure I do it while she's at school. And I've learned the hard way to stuff things under the piles of newspaper in the recycling bins so she can't see them.

I'd love to hear some of your ideas for showing off children's artwork -- and how you get rid of it!

No comments: