Making crafts from your kids' art
Are you the kind of the parent that:
1. When faced with mountains of artwork coming home from school, you panic and shove it all in a box which you then hide under the bed?
2. Always meant to come up with a display system but never knew how to start?
3. Worries occasionally about preserving items for the future?
4. Delights in good crafts projects?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will be delighted with the book, Making Crafts From Your Kids Art by Valerie Van Arsdale Schrader (Lark Books, 2003). The title describes the book accurately although it might have easily included the word "tasteful."
The author carefully explains the necessary steps to each project. Most start by using either a colour photocopier or your scanner, computer and printer to find a gem of an image within a large picture, isolate it, and use it to decorate all kinds of surfaces. The surfaces which she suggests decorating include many places you likely wouldn't have thought of decorating at all, much less with the art of your child. The treatment of wainscoting, lanterns, the edges of a tablecloth and window shades to name a few, is quite magical. The list goes on and on, never resorting to the obvious framed pictures or scrapbooks but instead, showing you how to cut out pegboards the shape of a child's image (locomotive engine) or stitching up a cloth doll to replicate a drawing.
As well as the 40 projects (which are grouped in this way: functional and fun, festive and fabulous, or decorative and dazzling ) there is a thoughtful introduction about triaging the art work in your house. Van Arsdale Schrader discusses organization, preservation (using archival materials wisely and storing art away from heat and light) and a clever cataloguing system using your digital camera or scanner to make electronic copies of all of the art.
This kind of thoughtfulness is rarely attached to your kids' art and just as much attention is given to ideas for displaying work.
But where the book excels most is in the wide range of projects and their clear instructions. (Under practical stuff the author champions full-service copy shops so you don't have to own all of the equipment or do it all on your own). There are projects for every level of craftiness, and enough variety to suit most families. This is a book to be perused again and again, a fine addition to any crafter's collection.