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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.

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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
Comment

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.

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6 Comments

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 - http://easydrawingtutorials.com/index.php/anime/262-draw-aang-avatar<br />I actually succeeded in making it look OK, even though I am not a gifted drawer. <br />And your idea can be applied to finished colouring pages like those butterflies - http://colorkid.net/coloring-pages-world-animals/coloring-pages-butterflies <br />It may even look better, being more intricate and colourful.
 
Shari December 13, 2016
I may have to do this! <br />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.
 
Author Comment
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!!
 
Author Comment
laurenlocally December 13, 2016
So glad you like this idea!<br />
 
Azora Z. December 13, 2016
Great idea!!!