How to Frame and Display Children’s Art

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These are works of art by Hans Jean, Jean Dubuffet and Meret Oppenheim that hang in the Museum of Modern Art. They are my inspiration.

These pieces reflect the bright colors, strong lines and cheerful simplicity that you often see in children’s art. Many of us have been stashing such items in kitchen junk drawers and dusty shoe boxes for years.

How to display children’s art on the wall without it looking like the fridge:

1. Find a frame:

My favorite frames for kids’ art are called “floating frames”. A floating frame can be purchased almost anywhere that sells frames. The prices range from under $10 for two pieces of plastic clenched by metal strips to $30+ for glass surrounded by wood. They are extremely easy to use. Many people may shy away from the initial contemporary look, but they work in most decors because they “mat” the picture with the wall color on which they hang.

2. Maximize the art’s irregular shape:

Part of the brilliance of the floating frame is that kid’s art is usually irregular in size and shape. Children don’t seem to crank out 8x10s, 11x13s or 14x16s. Their medium usually starts with a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper and then gets bigger with tape and glue or smaller with scissors. A floating frame will frame the irregular size and shape to visual advantage.

3. Don’t be afraid to alter the art:

I know this is a little controversial. Most people want to keep the artistic integrity of a work of art, but often that renders it useless as “framable” art. I have found by trimming out an undesirable area or by cutting several pieces of art into smaller pieces and framing them together it works better.

Another option is to scan the artwork into a program like Photoshop. This allows backgrounds to be cleaned up and artwork modified without touching the original.

4. Grouping art is good:

Pictured above is a grouping of my son Reid’s “Blue Period”. Grouping similar works together gives each item more impact. Children are often quite prolific in their ability to produce art. So plan ahead and save some room for new masterpieces. There is space under this grouping pictured above to add 3-6 more paintings since Reid’s blue period seems to be continuous.

6. It doesn’t have to be art to be art:

I like to watch for things to frame that aren’t traditional children’s art. Pictured above is a paper that Ryan wrote numbers and pretend multiplication tables. Not all his math is perfect, but when matted and framed it takes on a funky artistic vibe.

7. Don’t be afraid to hang it where you will see it:

When children’s art is framed, grouped and hung properly it can go almost anywhere in the house. Don’t hide it in the kids’ rooms or playroom. The grouping pictured above is hung in the kitchen. The zebra cited above sits on a shelf in my master bedroom.

Your child’s art is important; display it proudly.

My current to-do list includes picking up another floating frame because Ryan recently brought this home from school:

On second thought, considering how prolific my boys are maybe I should buy in bulk.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. 22

    Try using a shadowbox frame so you can swap in new ones and store the old ones!

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/94667199/school-days?ref=correlated_featured

  2. 23

    These are fabulous.
    What sort of hardware do you use to hang the floating frames? i can never get mine quite straight.

  3. 24

    I love the framing idea, though I’m not sure about the cutting it all up thing. But on the other hand, it’s a great idea to have my kid’s art displayed tastefully (as if it weren’t tasteful already–anything they do is so awesome)

    http://tangerineslullaby.eachday.com

  4. 25

    Thanks for the great tips. I’ve always wanted to do this but lacked the nerve or know-how. You’ve given me the info and ideas I needed, Thanks!

  5. 26

    What a great idea. I am going to look for those kind of frames. My kids have so much artwork that is just stashed in boxes. I need to display it.

  6. 27

    I love it! There is nothing more inviting that a home filled with your children’s art. I wrote a post entitled… My Mother’s Wall of Fame which you can find here http://sandrajo.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/my-mothers-hall-of-fame/
    You give execellent suggestions for framing and displaying.
    Thank you
    Sandra
    Recognize & Remember
    http://www.sandrajo.wordpress.com

  7. 28

    I love this idea!!! Thanks. I have stacks of artwork from my son..and have been wanting to display it somehow besides the refrigerator lol

  8. 29

    You, my dear, are brilliant! Love this idea. And I am determined to frame some things from the plastic tub pile of children’s art behind my bottom here in the office.

  9. 30

    I absolutely adore children’s art. And I know it makes them feel so appreciated and proud when you display it like this.

  10. 31

    Great tips/ideas! I can’t wait ’til The Little Man and Miss Peach start making some art:)

  11. 32

    I love these ideas! You inspired me to post what I’ve done on my blog, but now I want to do more! I love the math, love the “Blue Period.” :)

  12. 33

    Rebecca–I get my floating frames at the bigger craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. There is a frame store called Aaron Brothers in my area that has the biggest selection but I usually wait for their sales because they are priced higher.

  13. 34

    Gosh, your babies are so talented. I’m definitely impressed. I don’t think I could do that well at any of these paintings.

  14. 35

    Anyone know where the floating frames can be found? I’d love to get some. Thanks!

  15. 36

    Ok, Holly. It’s official. Now I really do big, puffy heart you! These look awesome!

    What a great idea…so much better than my method of shoving all the artwork into a Rubbermaid storage container.

  16. 37

    Luuuuurvely!!!!! I also use the floating frames.

  17. 38

    That is such an awesome idea, and I’m sure your boys are really proud to have their art displayed like this.

    Do you rotate pictures, or just keep adding new ones? I know that if we displayed every piece of art my children have made, we’d have about three layers throughout the house by now, with more to come! Do you let the boys pick which will be displayed? You know that they will find one piece that they are really proud of, yet you might not agree.

    I like Reid’s “blue period” pieces. They’re better than the first ones cited that are from the museum. Seiously.

    Great ideas and thanks for sharing them.

  18. 39

    I’m in love with these floating frames now!! I never realized how nicely they showcased what was inside.

    Fantastic tips, Holly!

    xo ~K

  19. 40

    This is really fantastic! I never thought about the floating frames for kids’ art. I love them for photos because of the “matting feature.” It would really help the look of kids’ art that now hangs on the refrigerator until I think I can get rid of it!

  20. 41

    Great job Holly! Thanks for the tips.