Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Displaying Children's Art Work at Home

When I was an art teacher,
and now as a parent of two little prolific artists,
I am frequently asked, 

"What is the best way to display
children's art work?"
My reply...
The BEST way to display your 
child's art work is whatever
way works BEST for your lifestyle,
decor, budget, and home.

There isn't going to be one
answer or solution that fits everyone.

Today I'll share a few solutions
that work for my family
(and take you on a little show and tell around my house)

1. First option is expensive but will last for years and years.
This would be the professional framing and matting option 
with archival quality, acid-free backing and matting material 
to prevent the art work from turning yellow,
 and UV glass to prevent fading. 

This "abstract" watercolor was painted by 
the Frog Princess "E"when she was 2 and half years old.

I love the colors and the expressive quality of it.
I had it framed in an acid free, archival quality
white mat with a three inch border and a 
simple, contemporary-style black frame. 

It suits the piece and gives it a more sophisticated feel
so that is can hang over the fire place or in our dining room
just as easily as it would in a child's room or playroom.

2. Simple option for paintings on canvas
paint the edges and skip the frame.
If you get tired of them, gesso over them and start over.

These abstract acrylic paintings
were also painted by the Frog Princess "E"
before her third birthday. 

Because I gessoed the entire bottom canvas black
and the top canvas white (before the painted them)
I did not need to frame them. 
The sides of the canvas are already painted by me -- 
it's the same trick I use with my own work,
I paint all of my own painting edges black and don't frame any of them.

This robot painting was painted by "E"
when she was four and completely obsessed with robots.
It hangs with painted edges (and no frame) in our playroom.

3. If you have a lot of work that changes regularly
and you don't want to spend a lot of money, here's 
a solution I used in the hallways at my school.

 This self portrait was made by "E" in Kindergarten. 
I placed it in an 
acrylic box-style frame,
These are VERY inexpensive and a great solution
for creating a rotating children's art gallery 
in a hallway,playroom, or bedroom. 

You can easily change the art work
(in a variety of sizes)
and the look of the whole piece by 
using different paper behind the artwork.

I just wrapped the cardboard box that
fits inside the acrylic frame 
with bright green gift wrap.
(the artwork floats on top of the box, sandwiched between the two layers)

4. An easy solution for stiff paper like
Watercolor paper or work on Card Stock, 
just set the artwork 
(or even a stack of art work that you rotate)
in a wooden plate holder
(they also come in clear acrylic). 

They come in a variety of sizes and finishes
to fit your budget and decor and (bonus!)
can be folded flat and stashed in a drawer
when not in use. 

This is great for seasonal art work
or a nature table display!

5. A dedicated display area 
for three-dimensional art work
like painted pottery,
clay pinch pots, 
plaster hand casts, 
painted picture frames, etc.

This etagere in the corner of our dining room
serves as a rotating gallery for all of our
larger masterpieces.

I also have a hutch that holds china
as well as my daughters' hand-painted plates
we've made at Paint-your-own-Pottery-type stores.

6.  A hanging clothes-line style solution.
We hung this wire (from IKEA's Curtain Department)
and use Metal Curtain clips to rotate art work
(and alphabet/number  flash cards)
around the top of our Playroom. 

7. You can always go with the tried and true
refrigerator covered with magnets
 and kid's art projects.

Great solution for all of those school pieces 
that can be up for a few days (weeks) 
then rotated to the recycling bin,
photographed for a digital scrapbook/coffee table book,
or put in a paper box to be saved/sorted later.

This option doesn't work if you have 
a stainless steel fridge since they are not magnetic!

Other options:
Make your own ART BOOK
Garage Wall Gallery
Wrapping Paper for Grandparents
Custom Notecards/ Gift Cards (I use Snap Fish & Kodak Gallery)
Bulletin Board
Digital Albums
Custom Coffee Table books!
Home-Made Calendars
Curtain rod and Curtain Clips
Clothes Line and Wooden Clothespins


Ally said...

These are great ideas! I especially like the simple idea of sitting artwork on a plate holder.

I'm stumbling this because I'm sure others would love these ideas!

Thanks for sharing!

Shawna said...

MaryLea, I share a lot of these ideas with the teachers I work with...........and do them at home with my kids too!
Have you ever read about the Reggio Emilia (Italy) educational approach? I studied this approach in grad school and I think you would like it!
Love that you are doing all of this at home with your kids!! I am a firm believer in paracticing what you preach (:

The Activity Mom said...

Great ideas! Love the art book.

who.knows.what.dreams.may.go said...

wow, great ideas, i never would have thought of the plate holder option...

Amanda said...

So many great ideas! I've framed several of my kids pieces of art too. They look great hanging in their rooms!

littlewondersdays said...

These are wonderful ideas! I tend to love every little piece and hate to part with them. We send a lot to grandparents that don't live close.

sippy cup mom said...

Just great, thanks for sharing, Karen
Sippy Cup Central

Elise said...

Fabulous ideas. We have our children's artwork displayed throughout our house. Most of it is hanging (in frames or on canvases). I really like your ideas of using a plate holder and displaying 3D art in a dedicated area.

Your children's artwork is wonderful, I am impressed with the robot E painted before turning 4.

Thank you so much for your comment and well wishes regarding the birth of our baby girl. I really appreciate that you took the time to leave a kind comment.

Lipstick said...

Thank you so very much for this post! We are wanting to frame some of the kid's artwork and I had no idea about the archival paper, etc. I am bookmarking and printing this post for all time!

whatkidsneedtosucceed said...

I recently 'discovered' your blog, enjoy it a lot and have recently shared it on mine.... What a great resource for parents who want to support their kiddos' creativity!

{beth} said...

thanks for sharing...great ideas.

Jen said...

Awesome suggestions.

Creative and Curious Kids!

kcmom2four said...

I have one of those wire curtain lines in my linen closet. Wow...never thought of that application, and I almost sent it to goodwill....not now. Thanks for sharing.

Jimmie said...

Love this post -- the ethos and all the practical ideas. Displaying our children's work really encourages them as artists. Fortunately where I live, it's cheap to frame work. So we do it a lot. But we use alternate display methods too -- clothesline, shelves, acrylic frames.

Kyrstin said...

Thanks for sharing - I have created a coffee table book with photos of their artwork. I rotate their current projects on our frig and door and all over the house. I really need to frame some of the "masterpieces" Right now they are sitting in a bin!! Thanks for the great ideas.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This post is one of my great posts of the week. Here is a link to Great Posts I Came Across This Week:http://www.jdaniel4smom.com/2010/04/great-posts-i-came-across-this-week_24.html.

Run DMT said...

Those are wonderful ideas! I love the small easel. I'm passing these ideas along to my mommy friends. :-)

jenny @let the children play said...

A terrific collection of ideas. We use the plate holders at our preschool to great effect, and also the ikea line with clips.

I love the idea of a small shelf unit to display three dimensional art - I will have to keep my eye out at op shops for just the right one.

I'm enjoying your blog, and look forward to reading more of it.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I love childrens' art. Having it framed professionally and hung is such a wonderful way to let your child know the value of creativity and to raise their self-esteem.

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