Storage & Display Solutions for Your Child’s Artwork
I love the warmth and personality that children’s artwork brings to a home. This past week I shared a picture on Instagram of the gallery wall in our playroom that displays some of my children’s artwork as well as a few family photos. I was asked how I have displayed and organized the school and artwork my children have brought home over the years and thought I would put together several of the solutions I have shared in past posts in one easy to reference spot.
Let’s start with storage! Kids bring home a TON of paper and artwork from school, summer camp, day care, and enrichment classes in addition to the things they create at home. Sometimes it’s hard to determine right off the bat what we should toss and what we should keep for posterity. During my daughter’s first year of preschool she brought home a poster size piece of paper almost daily that she had painted on the easel. I needed a temporary spot to store all of these masterpieces until I could determine what would be a keeper. That was the year I started our family tradition of creating a portfolio together that would be large enough to fit an 18 x 24″ piece of paper and a gathering place for everything that came home in her backpack. Read all about how to make a portfolio here.
At the end of the school year I take everything out of the portfolio and photograph it. Once everything is photographed the children and I determine what can be tossed and what should be saved.
I make a point to save self-portraits, handprints, hand printed name tags and their first cursive signature as well as multi-page projects such as their state report, autobiography and family heritage report that a photograph would not do justice.
Tip: Place a piece of white poster board underneath items that you photograph for a clean, neutral, uniform background.
I upload the photos I take of their schoolwork to Shutterfly and create a photo book that contains their schoolwork from that year and any photos I have taken over the course of the year. This includes class celebrations, field trips, performances and awards ceremonies. I scan their school picture and class photos to use on the cover and first page of each book.
It can be so difficult to say goodbye to a child’s schoolwork. The photo book has allowed us to avoid gathering too much clutter while holding onto special mementoes. A picture collage of their spelling tests from 2nd grade gives me sense of what type of speller they were that year, but allows me to toss a stack of papers that will never serve a purpose. Our collection of books chronicling their elementary school years are looked at often and have made my children’s work so much more accessible than if everything was relegated to large boxes tucked away for storage.
The pieces that are just too hard to part with go into flat art storage boxes that are easily stacked on a top shelf in each kiddos closet. I found that the kids accumulated more keepsakes while they were in the lower grades, but as they have gotten older, we can fit a couple year’s worth of school memorabilia in one box. The flat boxes are large enough to store larger pieces of artwork without folding. Keeping work in labeled, easy to store lightweight boxes is just another way that the work can remain accessible so that it can be enjoyed and referenced rather than hidden from the light of day for years on end.
I like to pick a few items from the storage box to keep out on display in our home. Frames are a great solution to de-cluttering your refrigerator and proudly displaying meaningful artwork on the walls of your home.
A gallery wall that includes pieces of children’s artwork can be a fun and colorful way to liven up a family room, playroom, study space or child’s bedroom.
Custom framing individual pieces of art can cost a fortune and limit what you are able to display. It can also be difficult to find standard frames that fit the dimensions of the paper that a child typically uses to create their work of art at school. These gallery frames come in a variety of sizes and colors and won’t break the bank.
Tip: The following frame sizes work best for children’s artwork plain paper 8.5 x 11” construction paper 9 x 12” large construction paper 12 x 18” poster paper 18 x 24“
An Art Vignette
Vignettes are typically a collection of an odd number of objects grouped together to form an eye pleasing display. These cool art storage frames were a bit pricey to use for an entire gallery wall, but perfect for a children’s art vignette. I placed this vignette above the desk in a study alcove. I combined storage frames and display cubes to showcase pictures and ceramics.
I was thrilled to find these art storage frames for my home. Not only do they professionally display my kiddo’s masterpiece in a pre-matted frame, it can also store up to 50 additional pieces of artwork. The frames hang vertically or horizontally and open easily to change out which piece is on display or add additional pieces to be stored. Artwork is gently held in place by 4 corner, spring loaded tabs. The frames are available in white, black and cherry. They range in price from $29.95 for a 8.5×11 frame to $99.95 for a set of 3 various sized frames.
Tip: Store holiday artwork in these frames and easily change which piece is being displayed with the seasons.
The display cubes are a fun spot to store small ceramic creations without cluttering the surface space. They come in a variety of colors and sizes.
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Right now many of us our unsure if our kids will be bringing home work from school anytime soon. My advice…don’t forget to document this time in their lives when they are learning at home. When we are in the thick of each stage, it’s hard to imagine it ever ending. As a mom of two teens, I am amazed by how much of their lives has already faded from my memory. It struck home with me a couple years ago when I read about a moment I had written down about discovering my toddler sitting on top of a mountain of cheerios she had managed to completely dump out happily munching away. It was a recollection that immediately came back to me and brought a smile to my face, but that I don’t think I would have remembered otherwise.
Recently, I found myself awake in the middle of the night mulling over the events of the past few months. I was surprised to find I already had trouble recalling when exactly we had started remote learning. I got up right there and then and wrote down all of my recollections of when we started to have an inkling we would have to stay at home to what our daily schedule ended up looking like. I also tried to snap a few photos whenever I remembered of Zoom meetings and kitchen table math lessons. This will be an experience that our kids will be talking about in their golden years and I know with certainty that documenting the little things will be a gift.
Have you been documenting the past six months? If not, grab yourself a cup of coffee right now, sit down and tell your story. Be well friends!
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