17 darling things to do with your kids’ artwork

It breaks your heart to throw it out -- but what in the world are you going to do with dozens and dozens of little masterpieces? Here are some creative ideas.

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  • Parenthood teaches how to do many things, but somehow "storing and displaying years' and years' worth of original artwork" didn't come in the manual. After a couple years or so of school classes, birthday parties and craft time at home, you've gathered quite a collection of painted, crayoned, scribbled and collaged pieces of art. Of course you want to hang onto them forever, cherishing the crooked and backwards name and date in the corner, but how? Here are 17 cute and clever ways to show your own little Picassos how much you love their creations without turning your entire house into a toddler-run art studio:

  • Book it

  • There are a few companies out there who can put all your photos into a little book that can be left out on a coffee table or stacked up in a bookshelf. We both know that's way more attractive than piles of wrinkled and misshapen papers stuffed in a drawer. Each child can create a book that will house the year's pictures, and will be able to look back years later to see how their artistic talents changed. Chatbooks pulls photos right off your camera roll and prints it into a book, making it easy to snap a photo of each piece, and send the original off to the recycling yard. Paisleepress shows us how adorable her daughter's Shutterfly book is. Your little kiddo will love either.

  • Poster it

  • This gorgeous poster allows your child to choose nine of their favorite creations and make them into a very frameable poster. The poster has room for a title of your child's collage, their name and the date range of when the pieces were created. Now that's something you'd want to hang up in your house.

  • Gift it

  • Artkiveapp lets you turn paper masterpieces into something a bit more practical. (After all, you can only hang so many crayon self-portraits on the fridge). Instead, set the dinner table with plates and mugs that have been printed from the artwork of each of your children. Artwork can be printed on a variety of objects — any of which would make excellent gifts for Grandma and Grandpa, nannies, godparents or aunts and uncles.

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  • Collage it

  • Teach your kids the valuable lesson of repurposing. Have them choose several pieces of art they'd like to see all mixed together. With your help, cut out uniform triangles (or abstract shapes) from various creations to create a new, fresh look. Glue them onto a canvas size of your choice. Now, a handful of papers can be attractively displayed on one canvas. Perfect solution.

  • Clip it

  • You can't go wrong with clipboards. Create a wall of artwork by mounting each piece on its own clipboard. These "frames" make it easy to switch out pieces, making this an evergreen option.

  • Grid it

  • Using a gridlike format can help make pieces look more uniform, and thus, maybe something you'd like to hang in your house. Purchase a number of the same frames and place a masterpiece in each frame, then arrange the pictures into a gridlike format.

  • Stick it

  • OK, so you can hold up a portrait with a magnet on the fridge, or you can make magnetic frames for each piece of artwork! This blogger shows you how.

  • Date it

  • Forget buying calendars and stationary — keep track of the date and send out thank yous made from your little ones' very own scribbles (Psst … this also makes great gifts for relatives!). Snapfish makes it easy to create either.

  • Snuggle it

  • This website, called Budsies, allows you to send in a print of artwork and make it into an actual stuffed animal. The colorful portraits of the family dog can now be reality. Darling.

  • Show it

  • Have some friends over for a fun afternoon by hosting an art show. Invite other children to bring their artwork and get artist and artwork photos by their collection.

  • Wrap it

  • Have a birthday party coming up? Take larger masterpieces and use that as the wrapping paper. I'm sure relatives (and siblings) would love a gift that was wrapped up in original artwork.

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  • Puzzle it

  • Laminate a favorite portrait and have it cut into random shapes to create your own DIY puzzle of your child's artwork. Instead of collecting dust in a drawer, their masterpiece becomes something they'll love to play with over and over again.

  • Store it

  • Several online databases allow you to scan your photos and store them online. Art3000 is organized, and pretty easy to use. If you intend on repurposing artwork, it could be helpful for your child to know that they will always have a photo of the original, so it's OK to cut it up or send it off to grandma.

  • Shrink it

  • A copy center can minimize portraits to be the same size, allowing you to mount them on magnets or cardstock to create mini versions of the originals. Doll house artwork, anyone?

  • Spell it

  • Find cardboard letters to spell out your kids' names at the local craft store and Mod Podge their artwork onto the letters. You'll need to cut up the paintings and drawings to do so, so make sure that's OK with your child. But in the end, they'll have their whole name spelled out with the artwork that they've made, which is pretty magical.

  • Tape it

  • Use the back of a bedroom door to create a Washi Tape studio for artwork. You can get really fancy with the Washi Tape and make a frame, or use a couple colorful pieces to mount them. Washi Tape is easy to remove and doesn't leave any residue, making it a win-win option. Get some outline ideas from this website.

  • Organize it

  • The folks at Real Simple know how to simplify your life … and the growing piles of your child's creations. Take their advice and organize every little masterpiece like this.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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