It's a conundrum many parents face: what to do with the steady flow of drawings, paintings, collages and more that children bring home from school and camp?
Which are the keepers and, besides sticking them up on the refrigerator with magnets, how can you display them creatively?
"They caught me throwing some away, and they were not happy about it," Mandy Rose of Carterville, Ill., said of her three children.
Rose, who loves to decorate her house and writes about it at houseofroseblog.com, decided to combine some of her kids' work with professional pieces and family photos in a montage on her dining room wall. She even commissioned one of the kids to create a finger painting.
Children's art absolutely has a place in home decor and can add a welcome personal touch, said Esther Sadowsky, owner of Charm & Whimsy, an interior design firm in Jersey City, N.J.
"Sometimes my jaw drops when I see the work of my customers' children," she said.
Like Rose, she suggests displaying kids' works in art groupings.
She often lays out the pieces on the floor so she and her client can visualize how they fit together. "You can make a beautiful arrangement," said Sadowsky, who has a painting she made as a 12-year-old hanging in her own living room.
Sadowsky has sent parents to big box stores or craft stores to buy inexpensive frames. It's possible to find frames with precut mats for a more professional look.
Do-it-yourselfers can use construction paper or foam core to create mats for artwork.
In her children's playroom, Rose strung wire between two hooks and allows the kids to pick and choose what they want to hang up.
Finding a temporary place like that to display work makes sense, agreed Jeffry Cudlin, a professor of curatorial studies and practice at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He routinely highlights the work of his 4-year-old son, Miles, at home to show him that the family values handmade art.
Cudlin uses binder clips to hang Miles' art in an ornate frame that usually hangs in his dining room; the clips mean he can rotate pieces for an ever-changing display.
Cali Sanker, education coordinator of the Ohio State University Urban Arts Space in Columbus, recommends saving a child's pieces from various ages to create an artistic record of his or her growth.
Lil Davinci Art Gallery frame set, which includes four frames, opens from the front so parents can change out their children’s artwork.×
The Butterfly Art Cable is a temporary way to display children’s art.×
Mandy Rose incorporates her children’s artwork on a gallery wall in the dining room of her home in Carterville, Ill.×
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