Your Own Private Picasso: What To Do with Kid’s Art?

Something awesome and terrible just happened: Friends of ours just bought a painting that our eight year-old daughter made.

They were being nice. Our daughter took part in an art program at school and painted a cat as part of an ongoing terror campaign to gain permission to adopt a kitty. Our friends are big cat-lovers and have five kitties of their own, and so made a fuss over the final project and wanted to frame it – a thrill for our daughter that has inspired her to paint. All the time. As in: All. The. Time.
Photo credit: hownowdesign

Too Many Kitties

While it’s wonderful to see her develop a real artistic style, we’re caught in that tender trap: You can’t cherish every single piece of art your child produces unless you want to be known as the Crazy People Whose House is Wallpapered with Drawings of Cats. So we’ve been brainstorming ideas.

Curate, Distribute, Scan

The first thing we decided to do was to actually look at our daughter’s art with a critical eye. We want to save everything single thing she does, but we can’t – and we think having her art judged gently is a good lesson. So we select only a very few for display in the house.

The next question is, how to display them? We wanted a flexible, temporary way that was also cool and stylish. First, we chose a wall in the family room and attached a row of clipboards to it with screws. Our daughter could then rotate works in and out at any time, and even keep older pieces behind newer ones, clipped in place!


We also placed a bulletin board in the foyer, right where people enter. We jazzed it up by painting the frame a bright glossy red that complemented the rest of the foyer’s colours, and covered the corkboard with bright wrapping paper to give it a lot of visual interest.

One idea we haven’t tried yet but which sounds fun is to have a “showing.” We thought about buying some inexpensive easels and clearing out the family room, putting the “best of the best” on display and having the neighbours, our friends, and relatives over. Some snacks and drinks and everyone could tell our daughter what a genius she is!

Finally, as pieces get “retired” we scan them on the computer. This is the ideal solution – it’s not the same as simply throwing away her art. It preserves them for all time and allows us to look back at her work at any time, while eliminating the clutter.
Photo credit: mag3737

T-Shirts, Mugs, Keychains – Oh My!

And once you have all of that art scanned, you can do anything with it. Websites exist where you can make scanned art into real printed books for your coffee table, t-shirts for the family, holiday cards – and just about anything else. Using the scans to make things celebrates her creativity without having her art piling up everywhere, getting spilled on, folded, and forgotten. Plus, everyone loves getting something beautiful at gift-giving time!

And if our daughter grows up to be a famous artist we can open our own website selling her early work to fund our retirement. Everyone wins!