What to Do With All That Artwork Your Child Brings Home From Art Class
All of us teachers have seen the look on parents’ faces, when at the end of a long camp/class day (or week, or session!) your young blooming artist proudly hands you a HUGE bag of their artwork. Of course you’re proud, but you’re also thinking, “what am I going to do with all this art?!” It’s is a very fair question to ask; and we’ve got some strategies for you!
Let’s start with another question, probably the next one that comes to your mind after seeing that bag overflowing with artwork … is it okay to throw some of it away? The answer is YES! It’s completely fine to throw away some of your child’s art work. And you don’t even have to feel bad about it.
A lot of the artwork that we make at the Philly Art Center is about the process more than it is about the outcome. We encourage our students to try new materials and new techniques. And like when you try anything for the first time, the outcome isn’t always perfect. So chances are, your child may not want to keep everything they made either.
If your child is older (6+), include them in the conversation about which artwork they’d like to keep and which art to toss. It’s good for kids to know that not everything that they make is precious. Understanding that might even encourage them to make more art because it relieves the pressure to make something that would “make mommy/daddy proud,” and encourages them to create from an intrinsic place simply because they’re curious.
If your child is young (5 and younger), it’s still fine to throw some of their artwork away, but if they see you do so, it might confuse and upset them. It’s best to wait a few days and then throw it out without them seeing you.
What do you do with the artwork that you decide to keep?
First off, there are some functional uses for recycling your kids artwork:
- Use old paintings and drawings as wrapping paper.
- Cut up old artwork and use the pieces as gift tags or turn them into cards. How cool to give Grandmom a handmade piece of art, wrapped in art, with an art card!
- Turn 2D works of art into placemats. Simply get paintings and drawings laminated and they’re ready to decorate your table!
Now, let’s get to the artwork that you definitely want to display. There is the old standard of framing the piece and hanging it on the wall, but framing can get expensive. Another great option to consider is a wire hanging system. IKEA sells a great one, called the Dignitet curtain wire system.
A wire hanging system is like a neat and professional looking clothesline in your home. You can easily hang art work to it using clothespins or more chic metal clips. Then it’s super easy to switch work out when you need a change or your child comes home with a fresh bag of art!
Lastly, whether you throw the work out, recycle it in the form of something functional, or put it up for display, consider taking a picture of it first. Digital files take up much less space than the originals and they’re easier to keep forever.
You can also use digital pictures of your kids work to easily have calendars or note cards printed through companies such as Vistaprint. You could even take those digital pictures, size them down, collage them together in Photoshop, and have a poster printed. That way you’ll have a year’s worth of artwork all displayed within and 18″ x 24″ frame.