Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Mommy loves your artwork, dear. But I need to be able to open the fridge."

Two posts in one day. I'm on a roll. ;)

My kids love to get creative. Add in the fact that two of them are in preschool, and it seems like we are constantly flooded with art projects and crafts and such. There is paper everywhere. Seriously. It is actually part of the preschool experience that I hate. I really don't need every little scribble sent home. ;) But, that is a whole other blog...

My refrigerator is not that big. We have other important notes on it. There are tons of magnets (I need to scale that down or at least come up with a more Pinterest version of magnets!), plus our kids have a few of those Leap Frog Fridge Friends magnet toys. There are 3 sets of magnets for those toys up there too. I really do not have room for all their projects and crafts on the refrigerator, too. When their artwork is added, usually I struggle to open the fridge without everything falling down. Not to mention, it ends up looking like a total cluster. I hate that.

At the same time, I am a mom. I have three kids... three kids who are proud of their projects and want it displayed for all to see. I get that and I can be on board with that plan... just not on my refrigerator! I have seen some stores selling these shadow-box-style frames where you can open the front part of the frame and switch out the artwork. While those are nice, they are expensive. On top of that, it seems that a lot of the artwork that does come home is not the kind of thing that would fit into some framed space. Look at Henry's Hickory Dickory Dock project (see pictures) as an example. I needed something that would allow us to display projects, no matter their size or shape.

My solution was to use a piece of wood plaque (from Michael's) and two clothes pins, plus a little scrapbooking paper and some remnant fabric I had around the house. I started by painting the wood plaques white (since all our doors and woodwork are white here). Then I traced each child's hand onto some brown scrapbook paper and cut it out. I measured out two pieces of scrapbook paper to put on top of the wood plaque to make it look framed. The under piece is a dark maroom (tan for Henry's) and the top on all three is a cream color paper. Then I cut out a heart and the first letter of their name using the remnant fabric and used a scrapbooking glue pen to apply it. I used a gold pen to write their phrases ("Lucy's Artistry", "Henry's Handiwork" and "Charlie's Creations") onto the cream paper. I glued all the paper and fabric parts with the glue pen and then used hot glue to apply the completed paper piece to the wood.

The most complicated part was the hanging piece. I decided to use the remnants to create the hangers for the plaques. I don't have a sewing machine right now, so it was a no-sew project. I just ironed out three long, thin strips of fabric. Then I folded the ends in on the top and bottom (horizontally) and ironed it so that the frayed ends would be folded in. Then I ironed it into that position. I folded the whole thing in half again to fully tuck those frayed edges inside the strips and ironed again. I just used hot glue to keep it seamed shut. Just a thin strip of hot glue in between the fabric worked like a charm. I created "bows" using the remnants, too. I literally just cut 3 rectangles and then cinched them in the middle and tied it with string. I attached it to the middle of the fabric to make it look a little prettier. I purposely did not treat the edges. I wanted it to fray a little to give it more of an unfinished look.

The last step was to do the clothes pins. I just spray-painted them white and then glued them onto the sides of the plaques so the artwork can be easily hung and removed and replaced. They have space to feature two projects each. I think that is plenty. Then I hung them on the wall in the kitchen, next to the refrigerator.

We now have a "Wall of Fame" in our kitchen where their artwork is displayed. When friends or family come over to visit, the kids will be able to share their projects with others... and I will be able to open my refrigerator without a pile of papers falling off of it!


  1. Another idea I have seen if you are looking for space is to hang up artwork on the INSIDE of your cabinets. That way it is not all over your kitchen, but whenever you open the cabinets while cooking, the kids will see their artwork in there and be excited.

  2. We don't have many cabinets to be able to do that, and two of our biggest and most centrally-located ones have glass fronts to them, so that would not work for us. Plus, I could probably get away with that for Charlie and maybe Henry... but Lucy would certainly be asking why it is not on the outside so everyone can see it! :) She is very proud of her work and wants to show everyone all the time. While I would welcome that idea, I am not so sure the kids would agree with it, you know?