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?!

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28 Responses to “What to Do With Your Kids Art”

  1. 1

    michelle on August 12, 2011 at 6:01 am Reply

    love this idea! I also have a collection of artwork starting to stack up–and i’m pretty selective, only the good stuff makes the cut! Will have to do this! (and agree, toys do not like to be mismatched, although my kids tell me that’s fun–kids!)

  2. 2

    Katrina on August 12, 2011 at 6:16 am Reply

    This is such a nice idea. A great way to display your little one’s art and hard work too. I bet the kiddies just love it!

  3. 3

    Kendra on August 12, 2011 at 7:18 am Reply

    Awesome idea! I must say – you have some awesome artists in your house. I love how it looks on your wall.

  4. 4

    shelly (cookies and cups) on August 12, 2011 at 7:58 am Reply

    Love love love love this idea!
    You have no idea how much art I have stored, swearing that I will buy frames.
    Such a great idea!

    • Brooke replied: — August 13th, 2011 @ 10:11 am

      I hear ya. The pieces we ModPodged onto canvas were from YEARS ago! yikes!

  5. 5

    Claudia on August 12, 2011 at 9:21 am Reply

    I was totally laughing, I did a post like this, and I mentioned Hoarders too!! LOL!!! I am doing the digital canvas, but also I got a mug that I LOVE when Shutterfly sent me a free mug promo! But I love this idea, and will def. be doing it too. I will do some digi. ones for some marker creations. Thanks for the tip, I love art and especially that made by my kids!!! Thanks for the idea!

    • Brooke replied: — August 13th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

      Holy Hoarders. We have GOT to keep our houses from ever getting there, no?!

  6. 6

    Ashley on August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm Reply

    I just LOVE this! Your kids really are artistes. :)

  7. 7

    Cumorah on August 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm Reply

    So stinkin’ cute. Our favorite artwork is currently displayed in the mudroom, hung with masking tape and love. It’s not amazingly classy…but my kids think it’s pretty awesome. Love this idea though…I see a new basement project on the horizon!

    • Brooke replied: — August 13th, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      Masking tape and love is the best! :)

  8. 8

    Becki Madsen on August 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm Reply

    I love this idea Brooke! Amazing!

  9. 9

    Jennifer on August 13, 2011 at 10:27 am Reply

    This is such a beautiful idea. I love the art that was created!

  10. 10

    Sandra Henderson on August 13, 2011 at 10:45 am Reply

    This is fabulous. My daughter is about to start kindergarten – as we go through the school year, I now can “weed out” her art with this idea in mind. Thanks. And I love your writing too!

  11. 11

    Kitwench on August 13, 2011 at 11:25 am Reply

    This is cute – I would love to do a “best piece” per kid and I have a few pics just right for that. For the back log of dozens of really cute drawings (and craft projects, yikes – they fit NOWHERE!) though – I take pictures of each year’s artwork and make a few scrapbook pages from these for each kid’s “Me” book

    • Brooke replied: — August 14th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

      SUCH a great idea! Brilliant!

  12. 12

    heather on August 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm Reply

    GREAT idea! Thanks for sharing. You have a couple of great artists living in your abode!

  13. 13

    Kolette on August 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm Reply

    My favorite part is the striped borders. Especially the lumpy bumps. So perfectly from a kid!

    • Brooke replied: — August 14th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

      That’s my favorite part, too! Love you Kolette!

  14. 14

    kelly on August 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm Reply

    next time have them paint it on the canvas! you can also take pictures and create a photo album or digital book of them(lots of options for price and sales)
    they look great though!

  15. 15

    Katie on August 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm Reply

    What a cool idea! I can’t wait to try this! :)

  16. 16

    Marcia Beckett on August 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Hi! I would like to link a picture of your idea for children’s art on my blog. I am writing a post about what to do with all of your kid’s masterpieces. I will be posting it for the parents at my school (K-6) to see. I would of course, link back to your blog.

    • Brooke replied: — August 21st, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

      Absolutely, Marcia!

  17. 17

    Jen Snyder on December 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Love Love Love it! I have been trying to figure out what to put on my walls in our beautiful new restored victorian home…Completely relate with throwing all things away before anyone in the house has time for attachment! -We look pretty bleak here.

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  19. 18

    mmh1 on December 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm Reply

    Have you tried this with crayon drawings?

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  21. 19

    Michelle on February 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!! Mod Podge is the best!

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