How to preserve your child’s artwork

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

January 13, 2010

Our internet was down last night and my routine, thrown all out of whack.  This year, I want you to have a post in your inbox or reader each morning.

Scrapping is one facet of our entire memory keeping tool chest. How we organize and store our digital photos and prints is another. And then there is memorabilia… everything else! In this post, we’ll start discussing organization of some of the flat stuff.

A read sent me a email late last year, asking specifically about children’s artwork. She writes:

Do you have any tips on preserving your child’s artwork? Should I scan it in and scrap it, keep the original, make a separate art album, include it in their yearly album? Any ideas?

My initial reaction is to suggest doing a little of everything, but more importantly, my recommendation is to do what feels right. Not everyone will feel comfortable throwing any of their child’s artwork away and this perspective may change over time. Here are some of the options at your disposal. Mix and match for your current needs.

Hang. Whether your immediate display area is a wall, fridge or bulletin, consider developing a habit of changing out artwork regularly. Using a clip system makes this even easier.

Box. At minimum, any artwork you want to save should be initially filed in a box labeled by child and year, as appropriate. (Note: If you intend on storing these items for long periods, I would suggest choosing an archival quality box to protect the paper from discoloration.) It’s not important to have these pieces chronological, but to have them all in one place instead of scattered around the house. From here you can decide on any next steps and work on projects.

Scan. Creating an electronic version of the art is the minimalist’s solution to clutter. If this makes sense and feels good to you, it will certainly streamline your life and keep that storage box from overflowing.

Share. I love how this teacher has scanned and shared his students’ artwork with their families and the rest of the world. Flickr is a great permanent repository for these works, without requiring physical storage space.

Frame. Don’t hesitate to frame your favorite pieces and give them a showcase spot in your home.

Album. If I were to create an album, it would be comprised of 8.5×11 color prints of scans (or color copies) as well as prints of photos (like of 3D or larger artworks). Childrens’ artwork varies so much in size and construction that I would personally be frustrated at not being able to consistently organize everything in an album any other way.

Scrap. If you’ve got a particular story to tell, by all means incorporate a scan or photo into your layout. For the more part though, I can see digital scrapbook supplies providing the most use as digital mats for the artwork you might print and possibly frame.

What’s your strategy for honoring kid-created memories?

Photo by jameskidsart

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8 Comments

  1. ang

    fabulous article! great reminder to display those precious images. we like to frame my 5 yr old’s art and hang it in his room, the kitchen, anywhere – his face lights up, knowing how much we appreciate his hard work.

    Reply
  2. esther_a

    Yes, it comes in all different sizes! I have various sized art display folders with their art in and I’ve photographed the pages that are too large to fit in a display folder. I plan to print the best ones in a book. All I’ve done so far is the cover!

    Reply
  3. aud

    I’ve done a little of everything. Right now, the girls each have a bulletin board in their bedrooms, and their current art pieces go up there. I have a couple of pieces framed and hanging in different rooms in the house (my favorites would have to be the portraits that Cami drew of us that hang above our dresser in our bedroom). I also put some pieces on the fridge and some on the bulletin board in my office.

    I’ve scanned pieces and used them as background paper for scrapbook layouts, which works nicely. Others are tucked away in sterilite drawers until I can find time (and cash for albums/sleeves) to get them filed.

    With stuff that comes home from school and other places, we evaluate it on a piece by piece basis. Some gets displayed, some gets saved, and some gets tossed. The kids get input on that process, which does make a difference.

    Reply
  4. Julie P

    I’m thrilled to see such a comprehensive answer to my question! I will have fun thinking about all these ideas and coming up with something that works best for our family. Thank you VERY much!!!

    Reply
  5. Sherry

    One thing the girls (and recipients) really enjoyed doing! Sharing their artwork with close friends/relatives. Any time I would write to someone the girls knew (or an older relative that they knew about), I would have each of them go to their stash and choose a present. One of my husband’s aunts saved all of the artwork and it was given back to us after her death! What a treasure, especially to realize she enjoyed it enough to keep it!

    Reply
  6. Alison

    When we have models or large artwork I take a picture of my child with it. It then hangs around for a while until we have had enough of it. I also scan regular sized drawings and artwork. I then print all of these off in wallet size and fill a baseball card holder with the photos. This goes in their school of life albums.

    Reply
  7. Kimberly

    I was just wondering about this- how to keep track of four boys works- thanks!

    Reply
  8. Johanna

    Love this post!!!! I JUST opened an etsy shop that preserves and displays your child’s artwork. Kids are so proud to see their work on the walls, and this is a tasteful, beautiful way to make it permanent. The more young artists that we can encourage and nurture, the better!! Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I believe that by keeping an art environment in your home, it opens up the avenues for talented creative thinking and lifestyles!!
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/simplycreate

    Reply

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