This post was written by guest author, Tiffany DeLangie, from Pretty Real Blog.
For years, my girls’ art ended up in a box in the garage. I knew I couldn’t keep it forever, but didn’t know what to do with it after its week in the “hall of fame” (AKA hung on the fridge). My indecision led to some serious clutter in our old house (I half expected the producers of Hoarders to show up at my door). Since then, I’ve been trying to avoid creating clutter by having a place for everything. Cue Chatbooks. They make it quick, easy, and inexpensive to preserve your child’s artwork. Here’s how I do it:
- A picture’s worth 1,000 square feet of storage space. Don’t go bonkers over saving every little thing they create. As your child’s artwork comes home, store it out of sight. You could purchase one of these, dip into your collection of Target and Amazon boxes (just me?), or use an under-bed storage container. I simply tossed ours on top of a shelf, although by mid-year it started to look a bit messy. This is probably the hardest part of preserving your kiddos’ artwork.
- Mom gets creative too. Throughout the school year, photograph your kid’s artwork (you can also save it and do your photoshoot all at once). I used my real camera for their first art book, but for the last two I’ve made, my iPhone did the trick and saved even more time. If you’re looking to keep it quick and easy, I suggest using white poster board as a backdrop. But you could certainly use a variety of colors or textiles if you’re an overachieving mama.
- Up, up, and away! Upload the photos of your kid’s artwork to a beautiful “art” Chatbook, perfect for your coffee table or displayed on the mantel. Seeing their creations in print can be a real boost for any kid’s self-esteem, and it will encourage their creativity for years to come.
- Everyone’s a critic. Arrange and add text once you upload everything. I used the app Over to add text to one of my daughters’ books, and PicMonkey for the other. I also used this awesome source for free stock images to insert throughout their books or use as the cover.
- Put your mini Picasso in print. Now you’re ready to order the most adorable portfolio of your child’s artwork. Here I shared how after making the first book, I sort of felt like it wasn’t necessary. “Do I really need to preserve my child’s artwork?” I thought. But as soon as I received the book, my mind changed. It’s such a cute thing to peruse, and the entire family (kids especially, of course!) enjoy thumbing through it. Eventually, they won’t bring home oodles of art—even now, my eldest had much less art in Second Grade than my youngest did in Kindergarten. I love the idea of cherishing and preserving the kids’ artwork while it lasts.
I saved artwork they made with me: art from Sunday School, little notes, and other mementos I want them to remember. I make each of them a book of their school year, while I keep this one solely dedicated to artwork and paper memories. You could certainly combine everything into one big yearbook-style Chatbook— here’s a great example of that.
So what are you waiting for?! Go make that book!