Artful Artwork Archiving

Written By: Laura Kohler

Children are incredibly creative and incredibly prolific. Hand your preschooler a pile of paper and a pack of crayons and an hour later you’ll be rewarded with multiple masterpieces. But what do you do with them?

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Once your child is done, snap a shot of them holding the artwork. This way, no matter what happens, you’ll have a memory of the piece along with one of what your child looked like when they created it. Context is everything. You might not remember that every picture your child drew was supposed to be of a jellyfish, but you will when you see your child holding that jellyfish picture while wearing a jellyfish t-shirt. Write your child’s name and date on the back of the piece, or have them sign it if they’re old enough.

Display it. You can easily rotate your child’s most recent pieces. The easiest option is to just tape it to the walls (make sure you use tape that won’t damage the paint or wallpaper, and attach it to the back of the artwork so as not to damage it. A cute way to decorate your child’s room or art area is to hang a clothesline across the room and use clothespins to hang the art. A giant bulletin board or magnetic whiteboard can be used to prominently display their latest work. There are also more eclectic ways, such as hanging the art from trouser hangers or from chicken wire frames. The Internet can offer loads of inspiration on the best way to have a rotating display suited to your home and decor.

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Frame it. This is for the truly magnificent pieces, or the pieces your child is especially proud of. Frames come in all sorts of styles and sizes and you can have them custom made to fit the piece. Hang them in a place of pride, such as in your child’s room. There’s also the option of hanging shelves, having the artwork matted and then leaning the art on the shelves. Displaying your child’s art among the other art you have in your home, or among the framed photos, is a great accent. Remember to make sure the framing or method of display is suitable to your style, as framing is intended to be fairly permanent (although you can always replace pictures in frames or just hang something else).

Store it. Keep the important pieces, or milestones, once you take them off the rotating display by popping them into an artist’s portfolio or in plastic covers in a binder. If your child has a keepsake box, add a few of their milestone works.

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Share it. Grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, family members and close friends will all love receiving a piece in the mail. Pop the piece in the envelope or roll it in a mailing tube along with a note about what it’s supposed to depict. Don’t forget to have your child sign and date the back (if old enough) or write it in for them. For special occasions, you can make cards out of old artwork and send them in lieu of store-bought, or have a piece framed or transferred onto a mug (take a photo and have the photo printed on it) for a permanent keepsake.

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Photograph it, then bin it. Take photos of the artwork against a solid backdrop, and then bin it. Involve your child in the process so that they don’t feel that they’ve been deceived some how. It’s a great way to teach them the importance of keeping only what you need. Keep an album (online or printed) of the photos of your child holding the artwork and of the artwork itself, or add the pictures to an existing portfolio.

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