When you were little, did your parents hang up all the projects you brought home? I remember our fridge, the old white variety, was full of magnets, my art projects, random things I'd brought home, and of course, the plastic alphabet letters. It was messy, and busy, and I loved it.
If you have littles, you know that for a good while, their art and other projects are not really about quality, but quantity. They make a LOT, often, and sometimes feel a picture is finished with a single stroke of pink on a page. Sometimes it can be very minimalist, and other times it's like they've channeled Basquiat.
My mom saved a bunch of my art and other such projects (report cards and more) from my youth. I've got a huge box to got through... at some point. I'd like to save my girls from that a bit, and I'll share in another post some tips I've gotten for doing just that. In the meantime, I wanted a space where we could display their work, rotate it as often as it needed, and then select a few things along the way that felt worthy of being saved. I also needed a space that wasn't the fridge.
We have stainless steel appliances, which do not like magnets. Also, for the quantity of creativity our girls have, which some days is seemingly endless, the fridge just doesn't cut it. We also have this long hallway upstairs that begged for something better. We had a few things that needed to be hung, and there happened to be some nails already in the wall, so we got lazy and just hung stuff up...
Kind of meh, no? I'm so curious what my little bird was gazing at when I took this picture! Anyway, the hallway was just not purposeful. I decided to change that. Thanks to the helpful suggestions of my new friend/decorator-idea-generator extraordinaire, Dawn, I had a way to use this space, make it kid-art friendly, and use supplies I already had at the house...for the most part. Seriously, Dawn is pretty amazing. If you are in the South Denver area and are in need of home decor or personalization help, she is a FONT of ideas and inspiration!
I've mentioned before that our house was a one-note of color from wall to ceiling, so we broke that up with a little stained wood. For some reason, we had some reddish Cedarwood pieces just laying outside in the backyard. Somehow, they were the perfect length for this project. Score! No cutting! The reddish color didn't suit the space, but with the help of a little stain we were in business.
I choose Minwax PolyShades in Tudor. This is a great product because it is SO easy to use! It's a stain and polyurethane in one step, super rich color, and leaves a nice, soft gloss. After sanding the pieces down and rounding the corners, I got to staining. It went on really evenly and I didn't need to wipe it at all. You kind of never know when exactly what you're going to get when you stain, but this stain on the red-ish Cedarwood came out gorgeous!
I let them dry over night and the next day got to work installing the hardware on the back to hang them. Ook makes this really easy with their picture hanging kit. I knew that nothing we were going to put up was going to be too heavy, so these seemed like a great option. It also made it helpful to hang without worrying too much about centering on a stud. The wire allowed me a little leeway in that respect.
First, I installed the loops at either end of the board. I measured down from the top to ensure they were level. Then, I strung the wire through the loops and pulled it as tight as possible. I tend to bring the ends together, twist them around each other, then wind them back along the wire to use up any extra. You'll want to test the flexibility of the wire here, especially if you are hanging something low enough that you could possibly see the wire peeking out above the board. If it comes up to high, you've got two options: 1. Retighten the wire, 2. Move the loops lower and then retighten.
Once the hardware was installed, it was time to put some hangers on there! I found these cute, decorative paperclips at Michaels. I picked up a pack in navy, another in teal, and a bottle of wood glue. After measuring out the spacing, I applied a bit of wood glue to the backs and pressed them down. It was easy to wipe up any excess glue and it never showed up on the stained board. Bonus!
After that it took a bit of knocking to find the studs, hammering in a few nails, hanging these lovelies up, and putting up the girls bingo dabber art. Have you tried bingo dabbers yet with your kids? Oh my gosh, there are so many things you can do with them! We practiced first just dabbing without pushing too hard to make a puddle, and then making sure we put the cap back on when we were done with a color. Then we had some fun with coffee filters and a spray bottle of water. There really is something to said for not assuming your kids know how to use something, especially something new. Especially something that STAINS! So, I try to take time to model for them how I want them to use a new tool, take care of it, and practice, practice, practice.
I'm pretty happy with how they turned out! Since we hung them, we've changed out art at least five times, so they've been used exactly as I expected. And, they look way better than the random art we had there before. Plus, it makes the upstairs feel so much more family and kid-centered. It allows us a bit of adult space downstairs, and a the girls a bit of kid space upstairs.
We happened to have a few more of these boards lying about outside, and I'll share another day have I used a few of those in the entry way. For now, I'd love to know where you hang your kids art. Comment or share a picture with us!
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!