What to Do With Your Kids Art

My house is the antithesis of a Hoarders episode. I toss things for pleasure. I organize by torching my junk drawer with a Bic lighter and never looking back. I’m hard core like that.

Over the years, there are few things I have saved. Stuffed animals, old toys, kinda used blankets are all trotted off to Goodwill before anyone can gain even the remotest emotional connection to them. I wish I’d saved the Polly Pockets my Becca once played with as a toddler, but not a one of them had a matching wardrobe after years of trotting around the Barbie house upstairs, so we tossed them. No one likes being mismatched. Least of all plastic dolls. I know things like this.

Throughout the years, one thing I HAVE held onto is a growing stack of artwork created by my wee artistes. Papers and poster boards have been piled into the guest room closet, awaiting inspiration. I considered framing them, but frames can be so expensive (not to mention generally mis-sized for the average elementary school painting). The option of turning them into digitized canvasses was on the table for three seconds, but one glance at the budget and I knew I’d have to lessen my perfectionist ways. Plus, I wanted to do something the kids could help with. Turning their art into art sounded like a great way to reinforce their awesomeness.

So, we trotted down to Hobby Lobby, toted the art with us, and found inexpensive art canvases that roughly matched their sizes. It cost us about $60 to purchase 5 canvases. A quick stop at the paint section for the picking of some inexpensive acrylic paint, foam paint brushes, and a giant bottle of ModPodge, and we had everything we needed.

We started by painting the edges of each frame whatever color we thought best complimented the art which would go on top of the frame.

We were messy. We totally didn’t care what the back looked like.

Then we added some colored stripes, just because we so crayzay.

The little people Mod Podged the entire canvas.

Then we gently set each picture on top of the ModPodge, gave them a smidgen of ModPodge on top (beware! The ModPodge may smear the paint used to create your photos. I highly recommend ONLY using  ModPodge for painted pictures, not marker-drawn creations. And, once you pour it on, work quickly and succinctly. There should be a fairly thick layer of ModPodge on top of your piece of art.)

Cover your photo with a giant piece of parchment paper and smooth any giant lumps in the paper with the edge of your hand. There will be some bubbling if the artwork was created on thin paper, but the drying process will eventually tighten up most of these flexible bumps.

Squoosh the parchment between a heavy table and a large, heavy something or other. I went with a board and some books, because that’s what we had in the kitchen. You just need something to keep the artwork pressed as flat as possible against the canvas.

Allow the ModPodge to dry this way for 20 minutes or so, then gently peel back the parchment and place your canvas out in the sunshine to finish drying.

Hang your kids photos in the kitchen, living room, or above the piano. How fun was that?!