Preserve you child’s art in a photo book

As a child, I loved creating art. Some of my fondest school memories were in the art classroom or hanging out with my mom who inspired my sister and I to love the arts. I still have a few of the creations tucked away in storage – most from high school, but a few from the earlier years. As a parent, raising young artists is a fun adventure… figuring out what to do with the creations and how to best preserve them is mind boggling! My oldest son will be starting preschool this fall, and I know the preservation problem is about to be compounded with weekly projects coming home.

So, I have a plan! And of course it involves my camera and future Shutterfly photo books — MANY! Some of my friends scan artwork and save the files electronically. This is a great system, and certainly one option for preserving art. It hasn’t proven to work well for me though because I do not keep a scanner connected to my computer and it is only a small desk scanner not big enough to capture larger works, three dimensional projects or temporary works. However, everyone by now has figured out that my camera is an extension of my arm. It finally occurred to me that the very best way for me to capture the art my boys create is through photography.

When your kids create a fun project that must not be forgotten, simply snap a photo. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Because you want the artwork to be the feature of the photo, pay attention to the background. Lay the artwork on a clear table or even the floor and snap from above.
2. Be sure to sometimes include your little artists in the pictures too. If they create a portrait of someone, snap a picture of the art with the subject.
3. Think beyond paper projects to capture things like side walk art or play-doh sculptures.

I’ve already got a good start on Levi’s first art photo book! My goal will be to do one per year for each of my boys starting with preschool. So excited to watch him and his little brothers grow as artists. And now I won’t have all that guilt when artwork is tossed or crinkled.


  1. BarbaraJ says

    This is a great idea and I like taking a picture along with an opject that is important to the time or the child that created the picture. I will remember this. Thank you for sharing. BJ

  2. Tiffany M says

    Great article Jessi and love your examples. My boy isn’t quite big enough yet but I will definately document all the art as he gets bigger. I do have a bin of his daycare art but I’m not sure I’m going to use that (since the teachers do most of the work). Great inspiration and ideas though :o)

  3. says

    I have been trying to make one of these for each one of my kids. Year after year I have been saving art work, year after year, and filling brown paper bags marked with the year and grade. Well after all these years and never finding the time to do it, I have thought out a plan! Once my oldest graduates from elementary school and heads off to middle school, I will make her book. That will be the plan, it will give me plenty of time between kids to finish their books.

  4. jennyjo.maldonado says

    love this idea i planned to do the scanning thing when my daughter started kinder. now she is in 1st grade and im already a yr behind!

  5. shannonr says

    This article was perfect for what i was looking for:). My son started pre-k this year and he has been coming home daily with different pieces of artwork or activities he created. I hate to just shove them aside so we have been taking pictures or scanning his projects to create a photobook. We will always be able to remember his early years.

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