Your heart melts the first time your toddler takes a crayon in hand, scribbles across a sheet of paper and hands it to you with a big smile and says, “It’s for you!” It may only be a crayon scribble, but your baby made it for you and you will treasure it forever.
Six months later, you have 4,769 pieces of original art crafted by your 2-year-old and you have no idea what to do with it all. If you are knee-deep in kid art with no end in sight for your little Picasso, here are several practical alternatives for preserving your child’s art for posterity.
1. Turn art into a bound book
There are several different ways of turning your child’s art into a book. You can DIY it with a large 3-ring binder, clear plastic page protectors and a pair of scissors to trim oversized art. This works really well with smaller art that hasn’t been painted, glittered or glued.
You can also let a company like 4everBound do the work for you. You send them your child’s papers and artwork and they turn it into a beautiful bound book. Or, if you don’t care about keeping the original art, Plum Print will digitize your child’s art—including 3D art—and compile it into a beautiful print book. You can get the originals back by paying an additional shipping fee, but then you’ll have to store them, too.
2. Scan or photograph art and create a digital photo album
If you’re prepared to toss the piles of paper, the simplest way to preserve your child’s art is by creating a digital photo album. There are a number of apps for your phone and computer that will do the trick, or you can create an Instagram account for your child’s art.
Turning your child’s art into wallpaper might seem a bit out there, but you probably have one or more walls in your home (or Grandma’s!) where this will work.
3. Use art as wallpaper
This is another fun DIY project. Turning your child’s art into wallpaper might seem a bit out there, but you probably have one or more walls in your home (or Grandma’s!) where this will work. Try it in a playroom or basement, or even the laundry room, garage or a closet. If you don’t want to attach the art to the wall permanently (maybe you plan to move or renovate), you can use small tacks or even frames to create an entire wall of kid art.
4. Frame art in a shadowbox or display case
Stack artwork in a shadowbox frame or a cool display case designed to hold dozens of pieces of paper, then hang it on the wall. You can rotate artwork throughout the year and create a wall display of multiple shadowboxes as your child makes more art.
5. Gift art
Share the wealth and gift your child’s art to family and friends. You can frame it or laminate it first, or let a company like Shutterfly transform their artwork into anything from magnets to calendars to canvas collages. Creating keepsakes of your child’s art will make your holiday shopping a little easier—and help you declutter, too!
6. Store art
Some of your kid’s artwork means more to you than others. And some of their artwork means more to them than others. If tossing out their art is out of the question, stock up on a few sturdy storage boxes and tuck their creations away. One day, you might be showing your grandchildren the beautiful art your child made.