Like my fellow blogger Elise recently confessed, I, too, throw out a lot of artwork over here. Why? Well, almost three years ago, when my husband and I moved into our current house, my mom showed up in my dad’s SUV with no less than 7 plastic storage bins full of so much childhood art from my own childhood. It was so overwhelming that I ended up tossing probably 95% of it. My mom’s theory, which is perhaps more diplomatic than my own, was that she didn’t know which creations would be important to me in the future and which wouldn’t matter. She wanted me to be the one to decide what to keep and what to toss. I’m going to be honest– I had no recollection of what the heck anything was before the middle school years!
I am not a saver, and I just don’t have it in me to store that much stuff in my attic. I save what I like to think of as the “greatest hits” from my kids…the first real self portrait, first painting, any really great holiday projects…probably 10 pieces per school year. I have noticed, though, that kids’ art tends to not age that well. My husband has an adorable construction paper teddy bear from kindergarten that his mom saved, and touching it feels like one might imagine it feels to touch one of DaVinci’s notbooks: like it might disintegrate if you sneezed near it! While this is inevitable, here are some ideas I want to use for saving my kids’ important artwork in fun, meaningful ways…
1. Your child’s art as jewelry
I’ve come across several cool websites that will take a favorite drawing from your child, say, of your house, family, pet, etc. and make it into metal jewelry! Here are some of my favorite examples of this..
In a similar vein, you can have jewelry made that preserves the colors used in the original art…
2. Your child’s art on a “photo mug”
Most parents and grandparents end up with more than a few photo mugs. However, who says the photo has to be of simply your child? What if you photographed his or her art and had that memorialized on a mug? Once my four year old is a little older, I would love to have him draw portraits of important people in his life, photograph it, and have it put on a mug. As a former art teacher, I love seeing how kids represent the people who are important to them!
3. Your child’s art as a toy
Ok, this is awesome. You can take a memorable drawing from your child, perhaps a self portrait, character they invented, anything…and have it made into a stuffed animal or doll! There are a few places around the web doing this…and it is so COOL!
4. Your child’s art on ANY photo gift!
I never though about this until I saw my first “kids-art-on-a-photo-mug”, but you could take a great, high-res photo of your child’s favorite art and pretty much make it into any photo gift! There are so many great sites out there offering everything from woven blankets to wall decals to ceramic holiday ornaments…the list goes on and on! No one says you have to use a photo of a person…why not use on of your child’s art? If your email inbox looks anything like mine, you get a lot of discount codes for such sites offering free products, deep discounts, and free shipping…put them to good use and save some of your child’s favorite work in fun, functional ways!
So I say…stay strong and keep the clutter at bay (if that’s your thing)! And make the important memories last a lifetime!