I live with a tiny Van Gogh. Ok. So she’s 3 and has zero training, but she’s also prolific, unpredictable and doesn’t shy from the color. In this mama’s eyes, I struggle to get rid of anything she makes. We love making art in our house and my experiences creating with kids around the world for the past 10 years with Art Feeds has been a solid preparation for this. The skills and creativity she’s building when she’s creating are what we’re all about- but it’s also fun to have something to hang up and decorate the house with. (We also know this encourages further creativity when kids see their work prioritized!)
Here are 6 of my hottest tips on making art with your kids that’s ready for the wall:
- Location, location, location: Nothing stresses a create-fest like worrying about what will be irrevocably damaged. (RIP, upholstered bar stools.) Is outside an option? What’s a space where you can feel relaxed while your child is making? Our energy is contagious, so if we’re stressed out the whole time, our kids will probably pick up on that too.
- Be strategic about supplies: My goal is to create a set-up where my daughter can go wild with whatever is on the table. Every time I have something out that’s off-limits, I find myself managing her, telling her “no”, reorienting the space. My goal is to set it up and let her guide herself (with only positive interference from me). Do you have certain colors in your space you want to highlight? Start with a palette with those for options! Hot tip: if you don’t have washable paint, you can mix some dish soap with acrylic paints and it will wash out of clothes more easily. Have younger kiddos? Try painters tape on spaces that you want to keep protected, then you can peel it away after the artwork is complete.
- Plan for it to get messy: It’s gonna get messy, and the good news is: there are very few things that can’t be cleaned up if you prepare for them. Toss a big t-shirt over your child’s outfit as a smock. Grab your cleaning supplies before you even start. Will you need a wet rag for tiny hands? Need something for the tabletop? My favorites to cover a table are: big paper tablets to go under smaller papers with paint and sharpie use, an old fitted sheet over the table for anything with small pieces, newspaper or plastic tablecloths that can be reused.
- Timing: It might go quick. That’s alright! But the key here is to be aware of that line between “Wow these colors are amazing together” and… mud. All colors mixed together into a brown blob. Knowing when to replace the artwork with a fresh piece of paper is KEY. The good news is...
- You can keep trying! Be prepared for a Take 2... and 3. If I’m going for something on canvas, I usually pick up more than one so we can try a few different things. (You can also paint white over canvases and layer artwork to save on waste and costs!) Once the supplies are set out and the space is prepared, soak it up by having more paper handy for fun play. You might even find you like some of those projects even more!
- Immediate Clean Up: Grab those rags you set aside like a true professional. Start with the hands, pull off the smock and once there are no more wet streaks of paint about to be smeared on the couch, send the kiddo to another room while you clean up the paint. (We usually do the rest of clean up together- but the wet paint? That’s my solo job, thanks.) A few hot tips for clean up: rubbing alcohol removes sharpie. Dish soap and laundry detergent can work wonders for latex and water-based paints. Mayonnaise, baking soda and toothpaste can EACH take crayon marks off the wall.
Ok what’s next? Get that art on the wall! Here are some cute ways we’ve seen kids art displayed at home:
Paper tape on a wall: This one is at our house!
Hanging from clips:
Framed down a hallway:
Frames with clips:
Ok- we’re so excited to hear what you’re going to make next. Go forth and create! And tag us @artfeeds and #ArtFeedsMakes if you use any of these tips to create great hang-able art by your kids for your home.
COO of Art Feeds, Mama of June, Fan of Tetris. Brooke has been with Art Feeds since the first year it existed and her role has changed every year as our org has grown. You’ll find her managing many of the administrative tasks, websites and graphic design, while creating in the classroom whenever possible. When she’s not in the office, she’s outside with her family, dancing in her kitchen or planning their next road trip.