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September 9, 2011 > Rooms For Real People

Rooms For Real People

What to do with your kids' art

The kids have started school again, and pretty soon parents will be faced with a problem: what to do with all of their kids' art projects. During the preschool years, the sheer number of paintings and drawings is staggering. As the kids get older, there are fewer art projects; still each one is special, and deserves recognition.

Before I go on, let me give you my permission not to save every single piece that comes home. If you do, you will quickly be inundated. Some can be displayed temporarily on the refrigerator or bulletin board, and then surreptitiously sent to the recycle bin. My sister-in-law, a preschool teacher, will tell you that for young children, the joy lies in the process of creating, not so much in the final product. This means that they will be more excited about the act of painting rather than the finished painting itself. So, by all means, ask them about their artwork, celebrate it, display it, and then take it down to make room for the next masterpiece.

My own kids are older now - one in college and the other a high school junior. But when they were younger, I was pretty selective about what I saved. I kept writing samples, such as stories and essays, and meaningful pieces of art: ones that showed my kids' abilities, and ones I know they truly made themselves. I also kept ones I particularly liked and ones my kids particularly liked, and those two were not always the same. Whatever you decide to keep, always label them with your child's name and date-you think you will remember, but believe me, you won't.

Below are some ideas for ways to display and preserve your children's art:

* Display art on a large magnet board, or a series of magnetic boards. These can be attached to closet doors or to the back of their bedroom doors. Or how about, magnetic strips used as a border around your child's room? And did you know there is magnetic paint available? Why not paint a large rectangle on one of the walls in your child's room and use that for display? Trim the rectangle with picture frame molding and instantly you create a fun area for display.
* A series of clipboards arranged in a grid pattern on your wall is also a neat and tidy way to display art. Several masterpieces can be stored on the clipboards and new pieces can be easily added.
* Hang a clothesline in their bedroom, mudroom, family room, kitchen or laundry room on which you can easily attach several pieces of art with clothespins. For every new piece that goes on the clothesline, one piece comes off. This will keep the display fresh and tidy. There is a wide variety of cute and whimsical clips you can use to hang their artwork on clotheslines: just do a quick online search and you'll find clips with frogs, birds, flowers and lots more. Or just paint wooden clothespins in colors that coordinate with your own decor.
* Take digital photographs of special pieces and compile them onto a CD. You'll always have them, and they'll take up a lot less space.
* Photograph your child next to several pieces of his art. Create a scrapbook with these photos.
* Turn the digital photographs into a 12-month calendar to give as gifts to family members. You could also have these photos printed on coffee mugs, puzzles, mouse pads and T-shirts.
* Create placemats by having artwork laminated.
* Purchase frames at discount stores or garage sales and arrange an "art gallery" in a hallway. Select frames that make it easy to take the art in and out so you can have a constantly rotating collection. Check out for really great hinged frames specially created to store up to 50 masterpieces and make artwork displays very easy to change.
* Select a few favorites and have them professionally framed to display in more prominent locations in your home. In my home there is a black and white drawing my daughter created that looks like anything I might buy at an art gallery.
* Investigate, a service that will turn your child's artwork into museum quality prints and greeting cards.

Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local Interior Designer. Send your design questions to her at Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit

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