Corralling the Crafts

Bee is both collector and crafter, wildly imaginative and unsurprisingly resourceful (sounds not at all familiar). Her desk lives in Ken’s office, and often, the pair can be found whiling away the afternoon in tandem, fully immersed in their own respective projects. In Bee’s world, Q-tips become fishing rods. Pom-poms become hedgehogs. To say nothing of the popsicle sticks between the couch cushions.

The next morning, and the morning after, the mess lingers (I’m still in the middle of it, she says), until I declare the project finished or paused and the mess moves into the (over-flowing) credenza.

Where then? Where to?

Here are a few systems I love:

  1. Archive It
    This is my personal favorite and the one we rely on near-monthly, because it’s free, quick(ish) and simple. I use this app to scan in a photo of her artwork and email it to her directly. (For more on why I have email addresses for my kids, right this way.) Bonus? Emails are timestamped, so you’ll have a frame of reference for the date each piece was created – a foolproof way to witness your little’s creative evolution. From there, the original piece goes off to the recycling bin.
  2. Bind It
    For a far fancier option, Plum Print sends you a prepaid box to fill with artwork (paintings, sculptures, doodles and more), and $75+ later, a softcover portfolio arrives printed with your kids’ beloved creations in one handy spot. Duplicate portfolios are 50% off, so Grandma gets a copy, too. Similar: Artkive Concierge.
  3. Wallpaper It
    Bee’s favorite pieces get a designated spot above the half wall in her bedroom, secured with none other than your average workhorse masking tape (you can take a small peek here). As her collection grows, we simply layer over the old, creating an odd little time capsule of her work. To keep the aesthetic somewhat organized, she paints or draws on the same white paper (this!) each time, so yes, there is a bit of method to the madness.
  4. Gift It
    Artwork is a lovely way to teach kids the value of giving simple gifts with thought and care. We like to make a list of friends, family and neighbors who might like a pick-me-up, then mail away a beautiful creation straight to their door. Off our fridge and on to someone else’s – can I get an Amen?
  5. Keep(y) It
    For a clutter-free virtual experience, this brilliant app offers a full digital archiving system organized per child (free up to 5 pieces each month). Save art, schoolwork or memories with the option to record a voice over story and description for each piece. Then, invite friends and family to view or comment on select favorites instantly.


Tell me, what are your tried-and-true methods for corralling kids’ arts and crafts? I’d love to hear!

p.s. Speaking of crafts, these paint markers have been gaaaaaame-changers over here.

  • Making an e-mailaccount for your kid for those things is just genius. Why did I miss the post from 2016??? I do that too, writing letters, e-mailing myself, thinking I’ll make a book of it someday (yeah right)… So, for the art: Some of it goes up the wall, the others I photograph indeed, store on the hard drive and throw away. Gifting it also happens a lot here. A few I keep in real paper, to touch later, in a big box in his room, where there are also: first shoes en first clothes.

  • I am a HUGE fan of journals. I can count the number of times I gave Alex loose paper to colour and draw in her young childhood on one hand, but I did give her TONS of journals. That way all the art was CONTAINED, and then ON A SHELF.

    She loves discovering them now and seeing what she was up to 5, 10 years ago. And I love that I didn’t have to throw away tons of art myself. ;)


    • YOU.ARE.A.GENIUS. Bee doesn’t yet like journals – perfectionist tendencies mean she’s continually tearing out pages she hates (doesn’t at all sound like her father, ha!!!), but I feel like the tides may turn someday. What a lovely archive for Alex!!!!

  • I love these ideas, especially the digital ones. I’ve been dragging 2 tubs worth of child art around with me for decades now. My children are in their late 20’s. Time to do something about this lol

  • This post came at the perfect time, as I am trying to decide what to do with ours. Some are on the wall, some in a bin. I love the gifting idea!

  • As an FYI — plum print is WAY more than $40 — $40 is the deposit — and the cost of a digital only book with only 10 items — a hardback book of 10 is &
    $98 and the prices go up from there.

  • Love the tips! Can I ask where Bee’s table and chairs are from? Thanks!

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