My daughter loves to make art. I’m pretty confident that not a day has gone by since the first time she picked up a crayon that she hasn’t drawn, colored or painted something. She also has a bit of a tendency to want to save every little drawing, which means we end up with piles and piles (reams) of paper around the house. What we’ve done since preschool is to save everything in boxes or bins for the year and then sort through it at the end of the school year, which makes it a bit easier to deal with but still leaves us with the dilemma of what to do with the artwork that makes it into the ‘save’ pile. Plus, having a whole bin worth of space means she’s tempted to put most everything into that save pile, whereas knowing we were making a book helped her to recycle some of the less important pieces.
This year I made homemade books out of the assorted drawings and paintings from the year. It was a very quick and easy project – it took much longer to round up the paper and sort through it than it did to bind the books. To make it even easier on myself I only used art that was standard letter-sized (or a bit larger for the covers) so that I didn’t have to trim it to fit, but you could make larger books if you had a lot of bigger paper, or crop it down.
I gathered up a stack of artwork, squared it all up so it was in a neat pile and stapled it once in the middle of the left side, very near the edge of the paper (I did this to keep the sheets together while I lined up the covers). Then I added a front and back cover and stapled it at the top and bottom and near the middle again. For some of the books I used her art for the covers and for some I used construction paper. I finished the books with a strip of washi tape covering the staples as a binding.
Now, I know some people like to scan their kids’ art and make photo books out of it, and I think that’s a cool idea but we would have volumes of photo books of art by now, and that’s not practical for our family. Plus, this way allows my daughter to curate her own art so that she can keep as much of it as she wants, and as she grows we can even re-evaluate it to keep a smaller sample in a new book. We’re both pleased with the way these turned out and I’m glad to finally have a system in place to corral all the paper!