Children's Craft: Folk Art

A new craft for kids, folk art.

What do you do when the fridge just won't hold anymore? No, I'm not talking about food, I'm referring to artwork! You know, those cherished pictures every child brings home, insists it's their favorite and on the fridge it goes! Can you just throw them away when the child is not looking? Not in my family. My dear mother has saved my kindergarten artwork in a box for over 25 years! So how does a parent keep her home organized and still display and enjoy her children's artistic efforts? First get them off the fridge or out of the box and create useful gifts or folk art decorations for your home!

FRAME IT

The most obvious way to display children's photos can also provide a great storage option. Choose a favorite art piece to frame then as new pictures become their favorite, put the new one over the old picture. You could also cut out a large piece of wood and adhere the picture to the solid frame using antique off-white decoupage. It will dry clear and be preserved for generations.

FOLK ART GARDEN STAKES

If the picture has a definite shape such as an animal, trace the silhouette pattern onto a piece of wood and cut it out using a jig saw. Decoupage the original cut out picture onto the wooden cutout and attach a dowel or metal stake to the back of the wood with industrial staples to create a fun garden stake or weathervane.

You can also use the shape itself to create whimsical lightweight metal designs. Old rusted metal can be difficult to find but you can also achieve the aged look yourself by applying water-based paint to your yard ornament. Next allow the paint to oxidize and it will create a beautiful worn and weathered patina that is so popular today.

HANDMADE SEASONAL PLACEMATS

Mount several of your child's pictures to a large piece of colored cardstock. Use matching background paper to coordinate with your rooms decor. After having your child sign and date the back, laminate the placemats for easy cleanup and durability.

FOLK ART NOTE CARDS AND ENVELOPES

Scan or color copy one of the artwork pictures onto acid free cardstock and fold it into a note-card. You can make matching envelopes by taking apart an old envelope to use as a pattern and cut and trace the artwork into that shape. It is a good idea to use a 2" white label for the address so that it can be easily found and identified by the post office.



CREATE CUSTOM ART CALENDARS

Purchase inexpensive calendars and glue your child's artwork to the generic picture. Matching seasonal pictures with the appropriate month makes a great gift for grandparents and uses up 12 pictures quickly and creatively!

MERCHANDISE

Many office supply stores offer services to turn your photo's into custom mouse-pads, mugs, clocks, quilt blocks, jigsaw puzzles or t-shirts. Instead of using the child's photograph, take a picture of the art to display on the merchandise.

WHIMSICAL BATHROOM TILES

Turn your child's art into bathroom wall tiles! You will want to purchase several tiles to be randomly placed throughout the backsplash or shower tile shower enclosure. Make more tiles than you think you will need in case some do not turn out as you had expected or are damaged or broken. Arrange with a tile shop to fire your artistic pieces for you and they will undoubtedly also have recommendations of which kind of paints are the best for their kiln process. Making folk art tiles can often takes 2-4 weeks to get your product back, so plan early so you can't hold up remodeling or the construction project.

ARTISTIC WRAPPING PAPER

Use large artwork for wrapping gifts for giving to grandparents and children's birthday parties. Cut out greeting cards to match. This is a great money saving tip too!

PRACTICAL GIFT IDEAS

Adhere art to pillar candles or terracotta planters for a useful and practical gift! Your child's pictures can also make a wonderful checkbook cover. Purchase a blank clear checkbook cover or remove the pre-printed insert of an existing cover to attach your own picture.

Whatever method you choose to display your child's pictures, the important thing is to let your children see that you are proud of their talent and creative efforts and are proud to display them!

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