If you’re anything like me, you struggle with letting go of your children’s artwork. I want to honor their artistic creations, let them know I value them and that they are worthy of display. At the same time, I don’t want our walls and refrigerator plastered in mini masterpieces. And while I would like to keep it all, I don’t want boxes and bins filled to the brim with artwork collected over the years. Like most sentimental items, it isn’t so much about the physical pieces, but rather about the memories tied to them. A simple web search on the subject will yield many creative ways to preserve your children’s artwork in a way that a refrigerator door or a box in the basement never can. Here’s my top three:
- A Photo Book
You can scan or take photos of your children’s artwork and use the images to make a book. There are some lovely templates out there intended for exactly this purpose, like Shutterfly’s Mini Masterpieces. If you prefer a more minimal, modern aesthetic, you can create a book with any company that offers custom photo books. I personally like a plain white matte background to allow the art to take centre stage, as opposed to borders and backgrounds. What a meaningful gift to give your children – a book crafted just for them, featuring their own beautiful artwork.
- A Photo Collage
Like the photo book, this option requires photographing or scanning your children’s artwork. It may also require resizing the images, depending upon the look you want to achieve. For myself, I wanted a large print, using square photos laid out in a grid format, like this one featured on Apartment Therapy. With a photo collage, you can choose whether to feature a lot of images or just a few, as in this one from Simple As That
- A Framed Bulletin Board
I created an oversized bulletin board that hangs in our dining room to feature our children’s most recent works of art. I modeled it after an image I saw years ago in an interior design magazine. Because that version was beyond our budget, I made my own. I went to an office supply store, ordered the largest wood-framed bulletin board that they offered and painted the whole thing the same white as our walls. It turned out beautifully (see it here). Eight years and four houses later, we still have it displayed in our dining room, and it’s the first thing our children show guests when they arrive.
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. - Friedrich Nietzsche
When children create, they reveal a part of themselves, a glimpse into the way they see the world…and it’s beautiful. I need a way to hold on to that and to preserve the memory of the stage of development they were at when they created it. I am grateful for their art because it’s an expression of who they are, and it’s an expression of love. Although we can’t possibly keep every piece of artwork they create, we can hold on to those that are most special in a way that truly honors both the art and the artist.
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