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: