For parents of a school-age child, there are two things that converge at this time of year: spring-cleaning and the realization that you have accumulated almost a year’s worth of your kid’s artwork. Usually the two are at odds: You want to clear the clutter, but sentimentality gets in the way, leaving you with another big pile.
I always curated my kids’ artwork; I kept only the best pieces and still proudly display some of them, with others stored in a slim document box. (I have one for each child.) My approach was ruthless and low-tech, but today there are many other options — scanners, 3-D printers, computer design programs and a slew of websites can consolidate your kid’s masterpieces into a book or transform them into wallpaper, jigsaw puzzles and more.
If you want to organize and consolidate your kid’s art:
• Plum Print (plumprint.com) takes all of your child’s artwork — drawings, macaroni necklaces, pinch pots and anything else — digitizes it and then prints it in a custom coffee table book. The full-service company makes the process easy: It sends you a prepaid box, which you fill with artwork and ship back to them. Once received, the artwork is professionally photographed or scanned, and the photos are edited and laid out in book form. A digital proof is sent to you for approval. Afterward, the book is printed and mailed to you. You can opt to have the original artwork returned, or the company will dispose of it. The price of the process varies depending on how much artwork you send. (A book that includes 24 pieces of art starts at $89.)
• For DIYers, consider Shutterfly’s Mini Masterpieces (shutterfly.com,) a book template designed to feature your child’s artwork. You will need to photograph or scan every item you want to include, then upload the photos to the site and design the pages yourself using the provided templates, backgrounds, and embellishments. A 20-page book costs $40.
• If storage is your issue, Artkive (artkiveapp.com) helps you keep images of your kid’s artwork organized via its app and website. Just take photos of the artwork, schoolwork or any other memories you want to save, then tag each image with your child’s name and grade, the title of the piece and the date it was made. You can then share the images with family and friends. The service is free for up to 40 images, but if you want to add more, you have to pay for one of its three membership options, which start at $3 per month. Artkive, like Plum Print, offers a full-service option: You can send the company all of your kid’s artwork, and it will digitize it and create an account for you, which you can access anytime. And Artkive, too, will create and print a hardcover book for you. (The full-service package starts at $39.)
If you want to transform your kid’s masterpieces into something else:
• Scan or take a picture of a drawing, and DesignYourWall (designyourwall.com) will turn it into wallpaper or a removable, self-adhesive wall decal in a few weeks. There’s a 30-foot minimum for the wallpaper, and prices differ based on what material you want (paper, vinyl, self-adhesive paper, etc.).
All custom wallpapers come untrimmed on 54-inch-wide material. The company has designers available for $75 an hour to help you lay out your design, create a repeat or color-match your design. Before you place your order, be sure to request a sample so that you can see the material and print quality. (Samples are $11 each.)
• Upload an image of a drawing, and Giftskins (giftskins.com) will turn it into wrapping paper. Choose from three sizes — the smaller the image, the more it will be repeated. One sheet (19 by 76 inches) costs $15.
• Crayon Creatures (crayoncreatures.com) turns your kid’s 2-D drawings into 3-D figurines using the latest 3-D printing technology. The figures are not inexpensive; they cost approximately $199 each, and additional orders of the same design are $88.
• PrintArtKids (printartkids.com) will transform your kid’s artwork into notepads, cards, gift labels, jigsaw puzzles and more. Just send the company a digital picture of the artwork, making sure to crop and rotate the image for the correct orientation before uploading it, and it will do the rest for you. A jigsaw puzzle starts at $34.