As of now, we only have one real child-artist in the family. Brody is just starting to scratch the surface (literally!) of artwork, and Hallee has yet to touch a crayon, but Gigi… boy, does Gigi produce. Between preschool masterpieces, her Sunday school and Community Bible Study take-home coloring pages/crafts, and spontaneous artwork done at home, we are full to the brim.

We employ a few common techniques for perserving the best artwork without getting buried alive under all the paper, but we also try to repurpose some of it as well.

Read on to see what works for us, and to see my current favorite way to repurpose several pieces of art.

Simplify what is saved

Much of our artwork gets recycled after it has lived its brief life of fame. Here’s a few other ways we remember or “use” Gigi’s artwork.

  • Save a few favorites in a portfolio– I have a couple of relatively flat boxes from Ikea for each of the kids. I plan to save a couple pieces of the best of the best per year for each kid in these boxes (thanks to Tsh for this idea!).
  • Photograph artwork– Photographing artwork is such a great way to preserve it without actually keeping it (another great idea from Tsh!). I import my kids’ artwork photos into an Evernote notebook for safe keeping (see photo at top of post). This is a great way to preserve received artwork/cards as well! Then I recycle it or…
  • Hang it up- A few prized pieces hang in our playroom and we have a magnetic plastic frame on our fridge that gets updated at least weekly with the latest take-home Bible verse coloring sheet.
  • Gift it– Gigi loves to give away artwork. Grandparents, friends, you name it. When she creates art at home it almost always has a designated recipient, probably because she knows we won’t have anywhere at home to keep it!

Repurpose art into something new

What about the creations we don’t save, hang or give away? Sometimes, we can find a creative way to give new life to artwork that is otherwise destined for the recycle bin.

Of course, there is the old stand-by of wrapping gifts with artwork. I love this. I can’t remember the last time I bought wrapping paper, because I have a very eager artist ready to make a custom version instead. We always have white paper bags that Gigi brings home from Community Bible Study each week, that make a great palate for painting or decorating and then get reused as a gift bag.

Don’t be afraid to cut it up!

My inspriation from writing this post actually came from a beautiful piece of artwork Gigi’s preschool class made. The crunchy mama in me smiled with delight when her teacher told me the idea was actually my daughter’s!

Here’s how to make a beautiful piece of art similar to this one.

  1. Collect various paintings, drawings etc.
  2. Have child (or mom) cut out shapes from each piece of art.
  3. Paint/decorate a canvas or large piece of paper/cardboard/etc.
  4. Glue down cutouts from various pieces of art to canvas.
  5. If so desired, modge podge over the whole thing to seal it.
  6. Enjoy a new, unique piece of art worthy of a frame or place of honor on the wall, that showcases several of your child’s smaller masterpieces.

What’s your favorite way to remember and/or repurpose children’s artwork?