How to display your children’s artwork

How to display your children’s artwork

During the lockdown many of you will have spent time filling your days with your children or grandchildren making art. And now you have tons of it and don’t know what to do with it.

I expect for some of you your fridge door is overflowing with it all stuck up using fridge magnets, but somehow even this isn’t enough space. By now it may be beginning to look a little messy and isn’t really the treatment your little ‘art start’ deserves. You could gather them all up in a box because I bet you don’t have the heart to throw any of them away, well not yet.

My older child’s first oil painting when aged 13

I can tell you from personal experience that not displaying your child or grandchild’s artwork is not good for that child. My parents were both artists and our works were rarely displayed. This led to both me and my sibling believing that we weren’t any good at art and, not wishing to compete, we went off in different directions. Thankfully, the calling for me was so strong that I found my way back.

My advice is to make children feel special. It doesn’t mean that they will have to become artists but it will be good for their self-esteem and, as it uses different areas of the brain to those used and needed for other academic subjects, you will be improving their mental activity.

So, go through all those art pieces and pick your favourite(s). You could do this with the child/children concerned if you are having difficulty deciding. Then have your choice framed. Go to a professional and get them to frame it as the treasured piece of work it is.

Sitting comfortably with adult artworks

You will be amazed how different that work will look once framed. It will look really professional and you will value it more because you have treated it with the reverence it deserves. Now find a space, either in your home or theirs, and hang it.

You could select an area which you then use to add more artworks over time, displaying them all together as a picture wall, which can look amazing. Done well this space will look stylish rather than childish, as well as being a real boost to your child’s confidence.

If you can, change this area around, say once a year, and add in your new favourite pieces. If framing isn’t possible or something you want to invest in, then how about having a display board? I am not talking about an office style display board, which could be rather boring, but one you make yourself (or have made) to fit in with your home style.

Another possibility is to attach the artwork to strong card using a good adhesive. Place the artwork inside a clear plastic pouch and trim the pouch to match up with the size of the artwork. Then, using bulldog (banker) clips, you can either hang the work from the ceiling or have it stand up on a countertop.

In a child’s bedroom you could cover the whole of one wall with either chalkboard paint or cork and attach the art around the edges of the wall leaving space in the middle for the latest creations. You could also attach a large sheet of magnetic metal to the wall or door and attach pictures with magnets, but it is worth backing them and covering them with clear plastic to preserve them. You can even buy tins of magnetic paint and use that instead.

Younger child’s artwork in acrylic when aged 9

A shelf in a cabinet could be given over to your children’s 3D works. Placed in amongst your treasures their art pieces will look good and it reinforces the message that you value what they have produced.

Have a used box to keep the pieces in. Once you have hung the artworks and you are having a change around, keep the old works in a used box. You may find that sometime later you want to reorganise the works and rehang old pieces.

Have an easy system for re-use. Create a box to keep the old works in so that they are easy to get at and have other pieces readily available for quick swapping over of one or two pieces which can change the face of a whole wall. You don’t need to change everything to make it feel different.

Share pictures with family. Have pieces professionally framed and give them as birthday and Christmas gifts to grandparents and other family members. Most relative will appreciate it far more than a shop bought gift.

Also sitting comfortably with adult artworks

When you have got to the point that you have so much work you really don’t know what to do with it but you really can’t keep anymore, take photos of the work and save it to your computer and a thumb drive. That way you can remember the pieces long after they have gone.

You could take the artwork and use it a wrapping paper for gifts. We spend a fortune of wrapping paper, most of which finishes up in the bin and in landfill. By recycling your child’s artwork, you are teaching them a valuable conservation lesson as well as keeping your costs down when it comes to gift giving. In this instance you can use them for all and any gifts, not simply for family members.

Turning unwanted artworks into greetings cards is another brilliant way to use the work as well as being ‘green’ minded. A whole series of birthday, Christmas and thank you cards can be made using these pieces of art and no one else would ever have anything like it.

Finally, you can cut up the artwork and make new ‘mixed media’ pieces, breathing new life into the work and with a mixture of more than one child’s work you can create family pieces. With older children, using earlier pieces from when they were younger, you can create a whole new body of work which can also be framed, hung at home or given away as gifts to family members.

A piece produced by my older child when aged 16

To recap. Frame your favourite pieces. Pick out your absolute favourite pieces a few times a year. Have them framed beautifully and then hang them in a prominent place for everyone to admire.


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