I used to put all my kids’ artwork and paper drawings in a box with hopes to someday, when they are older, show them their masterpieces. I soon discovered that one box for two kids was not enough and that even a second box filled up quickly. How was this possible? Well, they wanted to keep every single little piece of scribble in their boxes, even notes written on a Post-it. Two years ago, I had the bright idea to put some of those masterpieces to work in ways so that others could enjoy my kids’ artwork.
Here are 10 ideas to repurpose those scraps and masterpieces:
1. Wrapping Paper • 8×10 drawings on loose-leaf paper can be used to wrap small gifts. Grandma will love opening a present wrapped in a drawing made just for her.
2. Collage Wrapping Paper • Sit your kids down and give them an 8×10 (or larger) piece of paper or a paper grocery bag and a glue stick. Have them make a collage of smaller notes, pieces and drawings. You can then use this collage (after it dries) to wrap gifts. This activity keeps the kids occupied and gets rid of the smaller masterpieces.
3. Holiday Cards • Why not fold an 8×10 drawing in half and make a card? Grab some markers and personalize it. You will save money on cards and postage since this paper doesn’t go above one ounce.
4. Snail Mail Messages • How often have you mailed out a letter to an old friend or family member just because? Last year I mailed out “hello” envelopes with my kid’s drawings inside. I inserted a Post-it in the envelope that said: A quick note saying hello! I received a lot of calls from friends and family, thanking me for thinking about them.
Read Related: 7 Creative Gifts for Creative Kids
5. Holiday Cards for Classmates • Each year my kids’ school has holiday classroom parties. We are supposed to bring a treat and a card for each kid in the class. Last year I cut those 8×10 drawings in half and each kid got a personalized drawing from their friend.
6. Gift Tags • Stop buying sticky Santa gift cards to label gifts! Repurpose old drawings—punch a hole through the top left corner and tie it to your gift. You just repurposed a drawing and gave the gift a personal touch.
7. Gifts of Framed Artwork • Don’t know what to get your second cousin or aunt, yet feel like you must give her something because she does gift overload every year? Purchase an inexpensive frame and insert some of your child’s artwork inside. Label it with the year and you’ve got yourself a thoughtful gift.
8. The Wall of Fame • Maybe this is a gift to yourself. Put the best pieces of artwork on display year-round. Three years ago, I began hanging my kids’ best artwork on the walls of our back staircase. It’s not a high-traffic area but they get the pleasure of seeing their artwork on display. Anytime they make something on a canvas it goes up on the Wall of Fame.
9. The Portfolio • Purchase an accordion file folder and label the dividing tabs with your child’s school year (Pre-k, Kindergarten, 1st grade…etc). Insert a few pieces of artwork in the current year and wrap it up as a gift. It’s one thing to give grandma loose artwork, it’s another to gift a portfolio! Bonus: she now has a place to keep it at her house.
10. Digitized Artwork • Each time your child makes a masterpiece take a photo with a smart phone or scan it. Create a folder in your computer with the year and pretty soon you’ll have all the artwork organized. With digital copies of the artwork you can make calendars, printed holiday cards, mugs, t-shirts…the possibilities are endless.
Still think you need to keep every single piece of your child’s artwork? I sure don’t. With three kids, it’s easy for me to feel like the artwork monsters are taking over my office and attic. Now, when my kids bring me something they’ve made I immediately snap a photo with my phone and insert it in the memory of a digital frame I have in my office. Their art is clearly displayed all day long as it shuffles through the hundreds of pictures.