Mother’s Day kid keepsakes, like cards and pictures, evoke such happy, warm memories of when my sons were little.

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I think I’ve kept every card and crafted ‘art’ piece they’ve ever made or given meI Since they were both in nursery school, I’ve accumulated much of their creations.

Call me a pack rat, and a softie for anything of sentimental value.

Do you, or have you saved cards and artwork made by your children? Maybe stuffed in a drawer or box somewhere?

Most of their kid keepsakes are organized in accordion folders, by year. Along with the artwork, I’ve saved report cards, awards, certificates, and cards and postcards the boys received from family and friends.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought you might find inspiration in this fun way to display and enjoy your children’s or grandkids’ masterpieces.

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The Family Art Gallery

In my previous life as a marketing manager, I was the liaison to advertising agencies. One of their traffic managers had young kids like mine. She displayed her kid keepsakes on a floor to ceiling cork board in her office.

At about the same time, my husband finished our basement as a play area for the boys. One long wall became the display area for whatever artwork didn’t fit on the refrigerator upstairs. Back then, I just used tacks to hold papers in place.

Fast forward to when the boys were in college. After reorganizing storage in their rooms, I ended up spending the better part of a day with those accordion folders and paper scattered around me on the floor. That’s when I decided to create a rotating, seasonal art gallery of kid keepsakes.

Permanent Art Installation

The wall area I use to display kid keepsakes is a narrow basement hallway, adjacent to the steps. Because our garage is under the house, I see the art every time I come in and out from the car.

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These reminders of my sons when they were little, never fails to put a smile on my face. The art displayed in the pictures above and below are for the summer and fall seasons. A few pieces are on permanently display, like the ceramic handprints in the upper left.

Please pardon the quality of many of these pictures. With the hallway so long and narrow, and glare of the overhead lights, it’s hard to get decent shots.

Rotate With Seasons, Holidays

I rotate they boys’ art at least four times a year for each season. Below is the fall transitioning from Halloween to Thanksgiving.

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The summer I’m a little light on materials, because schools is out then. Other times, I have a bumper crop of holiday and special occasion pieces. That’s especially true from back-to-school through Christmas.

Use Standard-Size Frames, Maintain Gallery Layout

The pictures change, but the layout and frame sizes essentially remain the same. I store pieces on the floor of a large closet in the back room. That way, the holes in the wall and hanging hardware don’t change. Unlike the years when the drywall became a little like Swiss Cheese — full of holes! It took a bit of spackle to repair the wall years later…

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I purchased all the frames — in various shapes and sizes — at Michaels, either during a sale or with a 40% off coupon. It took about a year to accumulate all the frames, as I rotated art through the seasons. Most of the frames and “glass” are actually plastic, making them lightweight and inexpensive.

Can you see that even though the seasons change, the kid keepsakes wall layout is essentially the same?

One of the advantages of buying from Michaels, is the wide variety of frame and display cases available. Plus, the likelihood they will carry the same offerings for months, if not years.

How to Create a Kid Keepsakes Gallery

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One of two Thanksgiving figures created by each son, at the same age.

Sharing the boy’s pictures is not meant to show off their obvious talent LOL! Certainly they are treasures to me. Instead, I’m hoping to provide ideas of the kinds of kid keepsakes to display. Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder!

  • Gather together pictures & cards created by children/grandkids — or start saving now
  • Separate art by season and/or holiday
  • Balance number of pieces by child, as much as you can
  • Determine standard frame sizes (8 by 10 etc.) for art, trimming pieces if necessary/able
  • Find desired wall space for gallery, measure total area dimensions
  • Purchase frames & mount pictures
  • Determine a layout for standard frame sizes based on wall size & artwork
  • Measure spacing & hang art
  • Rotate by season, holiday if desired, or as you accumulate new kid keepsakes over time

Gather Together Artwork

If your children or grandkids are older, you might be surprised to discover how much you have tucked away here and there. Not only did I find pieces in the accordion folders, but in my saved cards and letters box, under beds and in drawers. A few kid keepsakes were packed away with my Christmas tree decorations. A laminated placemat for Thanksgiving was under all my table linens! Explore.Think of it as a treasure hunt.

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Frosty hung around late into spring season this year!

And everything doesn’t have to be flat either. Dimensional pieces of no more than about an inch mount well.

With it being Mother’s Day, it might also be a fun trip down memory lane. If you saved it, wouldn’t it be nice to actually get to see and enjoy it?

Separate by Season, Holiday

I have plenty of materials to work with, and like the idea of rotating artwork by the time of year and occasion. But, for followers of Debbee’s Buzz that shouldn’t be much of a surprise?

I’m a little nuts about holiday decorating, my Scottie dog, peacocks, and, and … well major crazy I guess!

Maybe you want just one, unchanging gallery? Heh, whatever works for you! After all, It’s for your family’s enjoyment.

Balance Pieces by Child

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Not sure why our son only gave himself one arm in this self portrait?!

This is the hardest part! And don’t think they don’t notice either! My eldest is a finance and math guy, and I think he counts every time he’s home — really.

Because of his December birthday, my youngest had an extra year in preschool. Those are highly productive arts and crafts years. But, his older brother did arts and crafts on his own for fun. You work with what you have. It’s not like I intentionally saved more from one child than the other. Because, I saved everything.

Rotating the art seasonally can help with the balancing thing.

The absolute best is when you have the same art project created by both (or more) kids at the same age. Like the handprints or self portraits they made in kindergarten.

My book club friends (who’s kids all went to the same elementary school as mine), love when they see the same art project hanging on my wall that their own children created. They also complain that their kids have noticed that I have R’s and D’s handprints displayed — where are theirs?!

Use Standard Sizes, Purchase Frames & Mount Pictures

You’ll find many pictures are a standard sheet size. Look across your entire kid keepsakes collection and sort by size. I did this  and organized in four seasonal layers. Most artwork was about 8×10 in size.

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Then, I went to Michaels and perused all their framing options, writing down measurements (including depth on a few). One of the most adaptable options was a “floater” frame (see above). Because the art is mounted between two pieces of real glass, it is heavier.

A major advantage of the floater frames is that cutouts and odd-sized pictures, cards, etc. will fit — as long as they are no bigger than 8×10 inches. It’s the most common size frame my kid keepsakes are hung in.

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Some pictures I trimmed to fit a standard frame size. Other times, I put two or more pieces of art within one frame.

Find Desired Display Wall

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A cow puppet made from a paper bag.

I can think of three good areas to hang kid keepsakes:

  1. Finished game room wall
  2. If you still have youngsters at home, a display area in each of their rooms
  3. If you have grandchildren, a guest bedroom or bunk room where they normally sleep & play

A couple of other considerations:

  1. Think floor to ceiling for hanging kids keepsakes if space allows
  2. Incorporate shelves for three-dimensional artwork like ceramics
  3. Hang mobiles and other “flying” art from the ceiling

Determine Layout, Hang Art

This is the second hardest part! If you are doing a permanent installation not so hard. But, if you plan to rotate seasonally, it’s more of a challenge. To utilize the most kid keepsakes, choose the common frame sizes.

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Measure the wall space and then lay the frames on the floor within those dimensions. I allowed at least two inches of space between all the frames to create balance.

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Next, determine where the hardware for hanging is needed to be in order to line up the frames. I confess I went to my resident engineer for help on that part!

Mothers Day Kid Keepsakes Evoke Fond Memories 
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My grown sons live out-of-town and are rarely home for Mother’s Day. So having the kid keepsakes gallery warms my heart when I’m missing them.

Although, I did get to see them both last weekend when we traveled to Philadelphia to attend a wedding. You might remember me talking about it in, Love is Sweet Bridal Shower, Podcasts Make for Pleasant Trip.

Eldest son came down from NYC, by train, to join us for a lovely Sunday brunch. Since we were staying with hubby’s brother and his wife outside the city, they also joined us for a great family gathering. We ate at a fav French restaurant called Parc, located right on Rittenhouse Square.

This was a corsage my youngest son made for me to wear during a Mother’s Day tea at his nursery school. I didn’t wear it last Sunday, but it’s hanging on the wall in my collection.

mothers-day-kid-keepsakes-corsage

See boys, I saved it all!

One day, I hope to supplement the boys’ art with cards and pictures from grandchildren. What do you do with your kid keepsakes?

Wishing you all a most wonderful Mother’s Day.

Debbee-signature-very-sm

 

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