How can I reuse or recycle children’s drawings and paintings?

A child’s drawingThe Eternal*Voyageur is back again, asking:

Any ideas on how to reuse children’s drawings ? My daughter brings a bunch of them from pre-school every day. I don’t have the heart to throw them away, and I can display only so many!

I feel the same way about anything we make/draw/paint too – and we’re nowhere near as precious as children :)

If they can’t be displayed but you’d like to keep them, how about making them into books? A hole punch (and maybe some of those reinforcer stickers), some pretty string and maybe some old cardboard decorated for covers would do for the most basic version. Keeping every picture is still going to leave you with a hefty pile but at least they’ll be easier to store – and easier to enjoy in the future.

Anyone else got other storage or reuse ideas?

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle children’s drawings and paintings?”

  1. Clare says:

    If you have grandparents, you could post them a small selection each month.

    Or you could display them all on a long wall; then at the end of the month, ask the child to pick their three favourites to file; then recycle the rest.

    Or you could photograph each one, and then recycle — that way you have a record.

    It might be fun to crop them right down and paste them on to a box or a folder, or a piece of furniture with white school glue — sort of like paper mache.

  2. yogahz says:

    Use as wrapping paper?

  3. Molly says:

    I think you can get frames designed to store several photos so they can be rotated through every so often. But mostly I like the binding them into a book idea. I’m pretty sure my mom through all but a handful of my drawings out. Lord knows there were plenty of them!

  4. Tammy says:

    I’ve used some of the watercolors my kids made as mats around their pictures. I’ve done it mostly for framed photos of them, but you could just as easily use the sheets to frame a pic for a scrapbook. I’ve also cropped some and used in greeting cards.

  5. I had a brainwave myself: to use them for note paper for important stuff. For example a list of my goals for the year… it would be lovely to write that on the other side of a paper with my kid’s drawing !

  6. nannie mary says:

    Try scanning them into My Documents and then they can be reduced and used for making cards to send to relatives for their birthdays or Christmas.

  7. Patty says:

    It’s always sad to discard those old things that mean the most to you. Of course keep ALL the Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day ect…Get yourself a nice size box with a lid that will hold things you get from your child throughout the year. Put them all inside the box and at the end of the year take yourself a day and open it and have fun. Take the ones you like most glue them to the outside of the box Date it and get another box and start over for the nex year. They are fun to take out through the years and to display on their graduation or wedding days. Take the ones you plan to discard and share with the nice patients at the nursing home. They will love the drawing and display it and remember you and your childs visit.

  8. Mary says:

    Laminate them and use as placemats.

  9. Lynsey says:

    I use some as wrapping paper for goods I send out in my Etsy store! Gives that little something extra I think!

  10. Emelia says:

    I work at a preschool and whenever parents ask me this or we have too many to count I give them this list:
    -wrapping paper
    -make cute note cards out of 2 or 3
    -cut them down with crinkle scissors as bag tags for gifts
    -use them as thank you notes for gifts or favors they receive, just write on top or paste a typed note on the back.
    -if you have too many favorites to keep you can take digital pictures of them and make a book (yourself or online) or slideshow

  11. Wigfield says:

    Cut them into squares and use for origami.

    Fold into mini boxes with lids.

  12. Marla says:

    you know all those prepaid return envelopes that companies send out when they want a reply from you? instead of throwing them away or recycling them, send some artwork back in them and brighten someone’s day!

  13. Lizzy says:

    (Scan them in to the computer first so you’re not destroying them..I’d never have the heart to do anything otherwise…)

    I’d say to make a big laminated mat somehow – stick them to a massive bit of cardboard, and then wrap it in plastic and hairdry it , or varnish it. Then use it to protect the table/furniture for arty crafty things.

  14. Kate says:

    Am agreeing with the others who suggested using the paintings as wrapping paper. I just did this at Christmas, with great results! You can see a photo of the gift-wrapped parcels here:

  15. udoodle says:

    udoodle turns childrens drawings into jewellery,just scan the drawing and upload it to and leave the rest to us.
    £40 for a silver pendant or a charm.
    we use traditional jewellers techniques to handmake the jewellery in Jersey,channel Islands.UK
    I would love some feedback on our website if you have the time,I am not sure if it is over complicated!

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