If you have kids, you have art—and lots of it. Some days my kids come home from school with backpacks bursting with creativity in the form of paint, cut paper and dreaded glitter. These beautiful piles of their creations continue to grow throughout the school year, sometimes doubling in volume over the summer, and it can get overwhelming. While there may not be any perfect solution for the problem, here are several ways to attack this kid-made art mountain.
The first step is something you can do today . When your kids come home from school, explain to them that you're taking on the task of tidying up the art piles and ask them to decide which pieces they consider special and would like to keep and which they'd like to toss. This gets them in a mindset that not everything has equal value. Offer to help, but ultimately it's their decision. If you don't want to throw away handmade art, contact your local children's hospitals and family shelters to see if they take "décor" donations, then have your kids designate some pieces to donate.
Set up a clean, flat, well-lit surface for taking digital pictures of the art your children would like to keep. Explain that digital storage allows you to keep their art forever and even print it out to display in a variety of ways (see below).
Once you've digitized your art (which could take a while), there are several options for photo books that exist that will allow you to keep the art orderly in your home. Shutterfly , chatbooks and Artifact Uprising are all companies that can help.
One of my favorite ways to use the internet for digital scrapbooking is to start a free Tumblr account. You can easily upload photos of the art you photographed to the blog and have fun choosing a template to display the digital art for friends and family. You can keep your Tumblr URL to yourself, especially if you'll be sharing personal photos as well.
Once you've gone digital, the possibilities are endless as far as printing. Choose a service like Shutterfly or your local Walgreens, and print your favorites. Now, as for how to display them...
The photo wall option requires a good bit of art purging to find only the best of the best for display. Choose colorful art from different ages for the best mix. Then head to Pinterest where you'll find lots of ways to organize and design a photo wall. My favorite is to score a set of matching simple frames in different sizes, print your images accordingly, lay them all out framed on the ground and then apply to the wall in that same design.
One way to display your kids' art on a smaller, more fun scale is as photo magnets. Social Print Studio offers these, as do a number of other companies on the web. Once you choose the images you'd like to print, the kids can have fun arranging them on the fridge, recalling memories in the process.
String and Wire
A clean way to display freshly-made art (and one of the ways we have chosen in our home), is with a wire hanging kit. You can buy these on Amazon and clip your children's favorite art to them, hanging them in rows. When they run out of space, the kids have to take it upon themselves to prioritize and remove art they don't love as much anymore. That's a good time to take a digital photo and then say farewell.
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