How to store, reuse and repurpose children’s artwork

November 27, 2015
It’s wonderful to have creative children – but where to go with all those masterpieces? Some of the artwork you will want to display, at least for a while. But then …? Especially as a fist time mum, most of us struggle to throw out anything that our babies have created. However, eventually we do have to make those tough decisions since we simply run out of space to keep it all.
Drawing smiling person
In our household we handle it like this:

  1. Artwork comes home and is either
    • displayed
    • put into a storage box for the current year (one per child)
    • repurposed or
    • recycled / thrown out
  2. At the end of the school year I empty the storage box for the current year. I then sort into three piles:
    • photograph and keep – I normally use these photos to create a calendar for christmas gifts for grandma and godparents and then store the artwork in a portfolio (one per year and child)
    • photograph and discard
    • pile to discard

This simple process works well for me because I do it at the end of the school year. This means I am less emotional in the decision making because in most cases some time has passed since the creation of the artwork.

As always, discarding doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to throw the stuff in the rubbish bin. Let me share how you can repurpose and reuse artwork instead:



Gift Wrap

Use drawings and paintings as gift wrap. If the gift is bigger than the artwork, use other paper to wrap it and use the artwork to decorate one or several sides. Or make a collage of several artworks big enough to wrap the present in.

Gift wrapped in children's artwork


Lolly or gift bags

Personalise your party lolly bags or gift bags by using neutral bags and gluing a drawing on them or fold bags with bigger drawings.

Gift bag decorated with kid's artwork



Make gift cards or thank-you cards out of the artwork by gluing it on neutral cards in a matching colour.

Picture source:

Cards decorated with kid's artwork


Surprise someone

Why not send one or two to grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles, or other people that would love to receive an unexpected gift? Try to send it to people who don’t already have a house full of children’s artworks.

Watercolour painting


Photo book

Take a picture of the work in question and create a photo book. If you can part with the originals or at least most of them, it saves you from storing a lot of paper. To create a photo book you can use your photo camera or an application such as “Artkive”.

Picture source:


Photo book with children's artwork


Keep them

You’ve decided to keep some of the artwork but don’t want it on display anymore. All flat creations can easily be stored in an art portfolio or another art storage folder, maybe one per child per year. The advantage is that it puts perimeters on it for you. The 3D work takes up a lot of space and, realistically, only a few if any at all can be kept on display. Therefore, keep it preferably in a clear storage container that also sets limits.



Have you got any other ideas about reusing and repurposing artwork? As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your experience.

Happy organising!



  1. Vicky

    Hi Chantal
    Thank you for a very inspiring post.
    I love your ideas and I’ll definitely be making a photo book by the end of the year! We’ll run out of room long before my daughter runs out of ideas and this is a great way to keep memories without taking up a ton of space!
    – Vicky, Denmark

    • Chantal Imbach

      Thanks Vicky, glad you found it helpful :-). Have fun with the photo book, you’ll love it!

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