The Holiday-Perfect Way to Repurpose Your Children's Extra Art

December 13, 2016

Day 19 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Those stacks of kid drawings? Wrap with 'em.

I've Kondo-ed my house. It was liberating to donate so much in one go. And for a household with two boys under five, we keep it fairly organized—minus that one hideous cabinet in the back of the kitchen. (However, even that cabinet has become a source of "discussion"—which is the grown-up way of saying my husband and I trade passive aggressive cabinet comments with more regularity lately.)

We aren't neat freaks, but we try.

This remains true in all cases but one: my children's artwork. From the moment they brought home that first doodle on construction paper, I kept it all. In fact, I framed the first ones. This continued, and the pile continued, for four-and-a-half years.

The moment when you realize you can't actually keep *all* the artwork sent home from school.

A photo posted by LaurenLocally (@lockelauren) on

Small fraction of child art in my life, seen here.

But what to do with all this paper? I couldn't throw it all out. Their hard work! The environment!

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Then those Pinterest moms came to mind: Recycle it into gift wrap! I'd seen other parents wrap gifts in white paper to then have their children draw on it as a DIY project (no time for that here), and I realIzed I was one step ahead of that. I had the paper, tonssss of paper, already decorated.

Photo by Lauren Locke

From there, the 2016 artwork attic Kondo-ing was born. I divided the boys art work into three piles:

  1. Keep—for the special treasures. Each boy has one tub (that is in fact larger than a shoebox, sorry Marie).
  2. Wrapping paper material! Mostly uniform construction, 8.5" x 11" adorned sheets.
  3. Trash. Because sometimes you need to part ways.

Here's a look at the Christmas presents I sent down to family in North Carolina this year. By taping together sheets to make one large piece per gift, I had wrapped the grandparents gifts and found a new use for the saved art work. Win-win and more thoughtful to boot.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I've been known to use various things found in the kitchen as a poor/thrifty university student: waxed paper with coloured tissue underneath, or a parchment paper/tissue combo and even aluminum foil.”
— Shari

And let's say your children are grown, or you don't have leftover artwork strewn about. Many papers can be recycled into gift paper. What about:

  • Wrapping gifts in yesterdays newspaper with either a twine or with red ribbon bow for a vintage look
  • Shredding used paper for fragile gift packing or shipping
  • Are you as frequent an Amazon shopper as I am? Use that brown stuffing paper as wrapping paper and decorate with a stamp, twine, stickers or greenery from the garden.

What wrapping supplies do you like to scrounge up from around the house? Tell us in the comments.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nikifor Foka
    Nikifor Foka
  • Shari
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • laurenlocally
Local food lover and VP @ Food52 (my dream job!)


Nikifor F. January 12, 2017
Good idea! If a gift recipient wants to, he can keep this drawing somewhere. I remember drawing a bug, using a step-by-step book, smth like that -
I actually succeeded in making it look OK, even though I am not a gifted drawer.
And your idea can be applied to finished colouring pages like those butterflies -
It may even look better, being more intricate and colourful.
Shari December 13, 2016
I may have to do this!
I've been known to use various things found in the kitchen as a poor/thrifty university student: waxed paper with coloured tissue underneath, or a parchment paper/tissue combo and even aluminum foil.
laurenlocally December 13, 2016
Oh, I too love the waxed paper trick, and now I have to try aluminum foil. Thanks, Shari.
Alexandra S. December 13, 2016
SO smart. Love this idea!!
laurenlocally December 13, 2016
So glad you like this idea!