Friday, February 25, 2011

Project: Make a Shadowbox Artwork from Children's 'Art'!

This year, Fern started preschool. Just one day a week, but it has transformed both her life (and mine) in very positive ways! I realise post on this is long overdue, but it's going to have to wait a little longer, because today I want to talk about something else... but still sort of related!

If you have children that attend preschool, I have no doubt you have a fridge full of squiggly bits of painted 'abstracts' you are not entirely sure what to do with. Or maybe you have reached the stage where you 'forget' to bring them home? But when I pick up Fern from preschool, (almost certainly because the novelty has not yet worn off) I am the mother rifling through the 'artwork to be picked up' box looking for my child's name. There is a lot of 'art' in that box, and it takes a while!

This week, I plucked 2 paintings out of the box. Even through my rose coloured specs I could see there  was nothing overly special about them, they were just splodges on paper, really, and I was tempted to drop them into the recycling bin on my way out except... I couldn't quite bring myself to. Surely there was something I could do to recycle these paintings and make Fern feel special about having created them, short of littering my already-over-cluttered refrigerator?

I brought them home.

Fern's original masterpiece

What to do? But suddenly, I had an inspiration. And, in about 45 minutes yesterday I created a piece of art from Fern's art that now sits proudly on the wall and cost me NADA. Love that.

Want to see?
My adaption. Can you believe this is the same bit of paper as above?!


Not the best photography, and you can't really see that the hearts are 3d and sticking up in their shadow box. But you get the idea! Want to know how to make one for yourself?

Step 1. Decide what shapes you want to make, and how large you want to make them. It could be hearts like mine, or circles, or butterflies, or paper dolls... the ideas are endless! Then, fold the painted paper in from the edge roughly half the size of the shape and draw on the wrong side of the paper. I then cut the first one out and used that as a template for the rest. Cut your shapes out and then keep folding and cutting shapes until you've used the whole sheet of paper.

Step 2. Choose a frame and piece of art paper on which to mount your artwork. I used a white shadow box frame from Ikea and a shiny piece of off-white A4 card I had leftover from making wedding invitations years ago!

Step 3. Lay your shapes roughly out inside the frame so you can play around with the colours and decide on placement. You can draw some guides with pencil at this stage if you want to make sure you stay in a straight line. I did... but havnt quite gotten around to rubbing out the pencil marks yet ;)

Step 4. Using some little pins or those special paper-pins you get to make paper crafts and invitaions, push them through the centre of the shapes and then through your mounting paper. I got mine at 
Eckersleys. If you make a mistake you simply pull the pin out of the paper and try again, hopefully your shape covers the mistake... luckily, mine did!

Step 5. Frame your wonderful artwork and place it with pride on the wall!!

See? Easy! Have a go yourself, and send me what you come up with so I can post pics on my blog! I'll be back with more ideas of what to do with your kids artwork at a later stage... have a great weekend x


  1. So cute it...that is something that would be so gorgeous for Fern to pass down to her little kiddies one day..adorable x

  2. That's a cool idea and it looks so cute! Another idea I like for their art is to take a photo or scan them all and then make a book out of them, with Blurb or whatever so you can keep them but they don't take up too much space!

  3. Yes, that's a great idea, Anna! Have you done one - can you send me a pic?? x

  4. Ah, loving it, Nicole! I think we'll be doing that on Planet Baby this weekend. If only we had IKEA down here for those frames. Sigh. J x

  5. What a fantastic idea. Might give it a go myself x

  6. such a fantastic idea love it ..having three boys and always have a new artwork coming home,this is a great way to show there art xxx


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