10 Ways to Display or Recycle Kid Art

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From the moment your first child scribbled a mark on a piece of paper, you’ve probably been enthralled with your kids’ artwork. As much as we love our artists and their handiwork, saving every little creation just isn’t feasible. It’s tough to figure out how to display kid’s art – or recycle it.

What do you do with all those masterpieces without feeling guilty or hurting your artist’s feelings?

how to display kid's art

Easy Ways to Display or Recycle Kid Art

1. Make a calendar. Scan your children’s drawing. Then, use a photo-printing site to create calendars with the pictures. These make great Christmas gifts for relatives.

2. Laminate it. Laminate your child’s larger pieces of art and use them for placemats. The placemats will give your child a sense of pride and create a lasting keepsake.

3. Make cards. Use kid-art to make greeting cards for grandparents, aunts, and uncles or to brighten the day of a nursing home resident, shut-in, or sick neighbor or friend.

4. Make puzzles. With your child’s permission (because this idea could be a disaster without it), glue their artwork onto heavy cardboard or cardstock. Then, cut it apart to make homemade, personalized puzzles.

5. Frame it. The Canada goose drawing that won Brianna 1st place in the National Junior Duck Stamp contest when she was in 6th grade still hangs in our home. There was a drawing I did when I was in 6th grade that hung on my parents’ den wall for decades. And, there may or may not be one of my first-grade creations still hanging in my mom’s office.

Don’t wait for the spectacular stuff to frame your child’s art. Kid art is whimsical, colorful, and wall-worthy in all its imperfection.

kid art

6. Take photos of it. Since it’s not possible to keep every piece of art our kids ever create, taking photos can be a great space-saving solution. Have your child pose with his creation and a notecard card showing the date and/or his age. What a fun keepsake to look back on when they’re older!

7. Cull it. When my kids were younger, I used to save all their creations in a copy paper box. Whenever it got full, I’d go through and cull it – keeping my favorites or the pieces that had some special memory attached. It worked well, and I’ve got some wonderful keepsakes to sift through in years to come.

8. Bind it. If you’ve got many pieces of similar size, consider having them comb- or spiral-bound. If they’re sturdy, you can bind them as is. Otherwise, laminate them first. You can let your kids make their own art book cover. Be sure to include their name and age.

ways to display kid's art

9. Turn it into bookmarks. If you’re anything like us, you’re always using bookmarks. It might be a universal homeschooling thing. Choose some of the narrower pieces to turn into bookmarks. Next, glue the art to cardstock and laminate it to make a creative, sturdy bookmark – and another great gift idea for relatives, nursing home residents, or shut-ins.

10. Share it. If you sponsor a child through an organization such as Compassion International or you, pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, encourage your child to share her artwork with a child overseas.

What creative ways have you found to display or recycle your kids’ art?

updated from an article originally published February 12, 2013

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. These are some great ideas! I also scan or take a picture of my daughters’ art, save them in a specific folder and set them to scroll through a slideshow as my screensaver.

  2. I have a budding artist, and my husband goes bonkers when the fridge door is full of paintings and drawings! I love these ideas. Seasonal/Holiday artwork would be perfect for the calendar idea.

  3. These are truly great ideas! I love the make a calendar one. These are awesome if your are new to homeschooling or have been around for a while suspect.

  4. I comb bind all of my kids artwork into a book at the end of each year. They love going back and looking at their stuff. We recently moved to Germany and I’m going to start having them send more of their artwork to family members, and they can recycle them!

  5. These are great ideas. I’ve spent two hours searching on the internet for something to do with my kids’ artwork and this is the first one website that actually has good (usable) ideas. Thank you so much!

  6. Wow, I love your ideas. I have 5 kids, and have compiled multiple folders of their precious art work over the years. I think I’ll try the calendar suggestion!

  7. Great ideas. I have eight kids and one on the way – the amount of artwork I have collected is absurd. I tried an app on my phone that takes pics and adds info so it creates a portfolio but it was taking too long to punch in all the info. But your ideas are great – make a book mark, frame it – share it! those are ideas the kids can do themselves! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. I like the scan and save idea. You could then put them on a memory card and use your digital frame to display them all as well. I have a 26 yr old as well as the 10 yr old I am now homeschooling. Thanks for the awesome ideas!

  9. Wrapping paper is a great way to send off some larger artwork. My kids used to watercolor miles of butcher paper from Costco (bought the roll!) If a photo/piece is overwhelming, put several pieces together in a group shot. (This also works great if your child ends up with a mountain of ribbons from 4-H.)

    We got a nice colored plastic file box and the kids each had a folder/year for best or favorite school projects. It worked out exactly the right size. Might have been even better if we’d added a note of explanation each year.

    I kept small things for our Christmas tree, too. We collect small toys or ornaments from our family trips so our tree is chock full of memories. The kids have theirs on garlands that hang over their bedroom doors. (I got those cataloged with dates, location, and/or giver.)

    I appreciate that you are saving something–as my Grandma was the one that saved our work. Mom didn’t keep or frame anything until we got to high school art. Found one of my paintings in a teacher’s room–he’d got it at a yard sale–at my parent’s! He was happy to find out the story of the piece after I got over the shock… We artists are sensitive and will be thankful for having our work appreciated, no matter how old.

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