11 Creative Ways to Reinvent Your Child’s Artwork

Because it's back-to-school season and the masterpieces are already rolling in.

You can find dozens of ways to display your child’s artwork on Pinterest, but what if you only have a limited amount of wall space? Here are some other ways to transform your child’s art into something new, while also cutting down on the clutter of the ever-increasing collection.

A lot of these options involve recycling artwork, rather than preserving it, so if your child has trouble getting rid of something he or she has worked hard on, that’s totally understandable. Now is a good time to remind yourself and your child about how special the process of art-making is, rather than the product itself. Creating is all about having fun, learning new skills, and developing out-of-the-box thinking. If they’d still rather hold on to the originals, don’t sweat it. You can do a lot of these things using digital copies of the artwork.

Wrapping Paper

Double the gift with half the effort. Using your child’s own artwork as wrapping paper will definitely make any present extra special.


Messes are a simple part of life, especially when you’ve got a child. Instead of trying to prevent it, just prepare for it. Laminated artwork (especially larger pieces) act as a great placemat for protecting furniture from meals and also new art projects! Don’t have a laminator? A roll of clear contact paper works too!

Print-On Products

Purchase special iron-on fabric paper to print your child’s art on, then you can slap it on T-shirts, tote bags, pillows, and more. You can also look into Society6 for printing on a range of items, like mugs, rugs, and iPhone cases.

Art Swap

Trading art can be a fun way for kids and their friends to practice sharing, inspire each other, and get some fresh art on the walls.

Transfer Onto Products

This can be another art project in and of itself. You can scan and print your child’s artwork, then use Mod Podge to transfer the image onto various surfaces, including but not limited to flower pots, tiles, and canvas. Kids will love seeing the image being “printed” onto another object, and they’ll likely want to transfer their favorite work on everything around the house.

Make a Card

Some old paintings and drawings could make great stationary for greeting cards, thank you notes, or simple “thinking of you” reminders. This could require trimming, folding, and writing on top of the art, but sometimes transforming old work into something new is part of the fun.

Make a Puzzle

Turn any 2D artwork into a fun activity by transforming it into a puzzle. You can make a DIY puzzle at home, or upload your artwork and order a 60- or 252-piece puzzle from Shutterfly. To DIY, glue your piece of paper to a flattened cereal box to make it stiff and thick, then use a pen or pencil to draw wiggly lines, about 2 to 3 inches apart, horizontally and vertically across your paper. Follow the lines with scissors, and you’ve got yourself a puzzle.

Fashion a Lantern

Simply roll up the artwork and glue the edges together to create a cylinder. Poke a few holes around the top, then use string to hang it from the ceiling. If you feel up for an extra DIY project, you can jimmy-rig an actual lamp by tying wire or rope through the holes and around a cord set from IKEA or Home Depot. (This is especially cool if your child is willing to put a few holes all around the artwork, or if the artwork was created on translucent paper).

Book Covers

Tis the season for textbooks and folders. Why not use some old artwork to cover those books and make your own folders? Could be a cool gift for older kids in the house—if they’re not already in the too-cool-for-school phase.

Save a Stack

Save a stack of 2D artwork to reuse as “scrap paper” later. Layers upon layers of paint, chalk, crayon, markers, stickers and so on result in some pretty cool looking projects. It’s also a good exercise in revisiting artwork with a fresh perspective. Maybe something that felt finished today could use a little love tomorrow.

Donate It / Gift It

Let’s face it. You just can’t keep everything. I’ve seen plenty of handmade items at thrift stores, like ceramic bowls and beaded jewelry, that have more character than anything you’d find at a chain retailer. If giving your kid’s artwork away to a stranger feels weird, think about gifting it to grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins.

Laura Weiszer works for the Philly Art Center, with locations in Cherry Hill, Fairmount and Queen Village, and art classes for kids and adults alike. More information here