That first finger painting is nothing short of magical. The speckles and splatters, their choice of color, those perfect smudges and smears -- you burst with pride, sure that you’ve got a pint-sized Picasso on your hands. On the fridge it goes.
Then the next day it’s a crayon drawing. The next week it’s a gluey mosaic. And before you know it you’re out of space on the fridge, and up to your ears in your kid’s artwork. What do you do with it all? Are you a monster if you consider throwing it away? How do you choose what to save, and where on earth will you put it all?
Luckily, there are several clutter-free ways to hold on to your child’s artwork. From digital storage and sharing options to ways to turn those masterpieces in books, pillows, puzzles and more. Here’s nine of our favorite creative ways to keep your kids artwork -- without drowning in it.
What it is: This company offers a couple different options. With the ArtKive mobile app or through the website, you take and upload photos of your child’s artwork which you can organize by child and age. You can also drop in additional information, such as a title or a description of the artwork. With the other option, ArtKive Box, you’ll receive a box to send in the artwork, which the company will professionally photograph. You have the option of having the artwork sent back to you, if you’d like. Once you upload at least 20 images, you can turn your child’s artwork into a hardcover book. You can choose up to 200 images to print.
Price: Your first 40 photos are free to store on the app, but after that, membership is ranges from $3-$13 per month. A $39 fee is charged initially for the box service, and a second fee is charged depending on how much artwork you send in. Printed books range from $25-$155.
What it is: This app allows you to save photos and videos of your children’s artwork, letters, photos, and mementos digitally. It even allows your little ones to add voice and video narration to their creations. You can organize your uploads by child in an ordered, private timeline. You can also invite friends and family to become a “fan” so they can see your memories on their device. Keepy encourages users to think beyond the artwork box as the app can be used to archive all sorts of moments and events from your child’s life. The Keepy Store has a wide variety of merchandise to such as printed canvases, photo books, magnets, coasters and more.
Price: You can store limited uploads for free, or unlimited keepies for $7.99 per month or $45.99 per year.
What it is: Artsonia is an online “museum” where teachers or parents can create online art galleries for their students and kids. The Artsonia app lets you take photos of your child’s artwork and upload the images to an online art gallery on Artsonia.com. Images can be cropped and rotated and the brightness can be tweaked. Once the artwork is published online, children can enter contests and family members can leave comments. Artsonia has a gift shop with a variety of keepsakes you can customize with your child’s creations. Coffee mugs, t-shirts and phone cases are just a few of the options.
What it is: Cavasly is a mobile app to which you can upload, save and share pictures you’ve snapped of your kids’ masterpieces. You can organize by child and then by theme (for example schoolwork, crafts, etc.) Groups of parents can privately communicate and share their children’s artwork in Circles. There is also an option to share pictures and details of child handcrafts on all major social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The app has a store to purchase things like photo books, mugs and shirts printed with your child’s artwork.
Price: A subscription is $2.99 per month or $9.99 per year.
Shutterfly Mini Masterpieces
What it is: Shutterfly allows you to put a photo on virtually anything, but their Mini Masterpieces photo book is designed specifically for children’s artwork. Take photos of the artwork and upload them to the Shutterfly site to create the book, which has predesigned photo layouts, title placement and even journaling prompts. You can feature a picture of and include an artist bio. There are even specially designed pages to trace handprints or add more art to this very special photo book after it's been received. You can choose from a variety of sizes, pages, and covers.
Rocketbook Color Notebook
What it is: This notebook brings the time-honored drawing experience to the mobile generation. Instead of on piles of loose papers, have your kids create colorful drawings with crayons, markers and colored pencils in the notebook, then instantly send or save them using a mobile device and the Rocketbook App. The Color works with the entire Crayola line of dry-erase products, but many other brands work, too.
What it is: Fill up a prepaid box with your artwork and send it off to Plum Print to be digitized and turned into a hardcover or softcover photo book. From there, you can order other keepsakes like throw pillows, notecards -- even ottoman poufs and shower curtains! The really cool thing about Plum Print is you’re not limited to 2D art. You can fill the box with anything that fits -- 3-D sculptures, rolled up murals, popsicle stick crafts, pipe cleaner creations, macaroni necklaces. It's all fair game! You can have all the artwork sent back to you, if you choose.
Price: A $39.99 deposit for the prepaid box is deducted from the cost of your book, which for ten pieces of art ranges from $84-$130.
What it is: Send in a photo of your child’s artwork and this service will turn it into a sandstone figurine. The company brings to life the kid’s artwork by modeling a digital object and turning it into a real thing using 3D printing technology, designed and produced with photo-realistic color to maintain the energy and attitude of children’s expressive drawings. These are intended to be decorative keepsakes, not toys.
What it is: Turn any art into a huggable, plush stuffed animal! Budsies are beautiful custom-sewn stuffed animals created from any drawing or photo. The stuffed animals are handmade to look just like the drawing you submit, from custom anime characters to adorable doodles.