What can I say? My children are prolific. When I add up all the things they make at school, our multiple home art projects and just daily doodlings—I’ve got colorful, original pages of beauty for days! But any time I secretly slip even the most unremarkable piece into the recycling bin, I feel a tinge of guilt. Well, not guilty so much as wasteful. Why would I throw out a perfectly pretty ladybug sketch just because we have 5 others that are similar? Maybe they’re portraits of the same ladybug, each sketch capturing her in a different mood. Who am I to say? So I tried out a couple of art display ideas, to so-so results, before I found one that really shines.
Click to skip ahead and go straight to the winner.

art pile floorGALLERY WALL
My first project was a gallery wall in the hallway. Let’s just say, I didn’t do much research. How hard could it be? Hammer, nail, rope, clothespins, art. And more art. Layers of art! I’m still not great at throwing any of it away, so there’s some significant sagging in places. But it’s a good kind of sag. A happy sag. A bounty of beauty that still overfloweth.
After a little after-the-fact online research/troubleshooting, I found quite a few ways I could have done it better. Here are just a few of them, courtesy of THE ARTFUL PARENT. I’ll probably get around to upgrading my setup when things start falling off.  
As I was browsing, I also happened upon some digital storage and display apps and options. I’m not quite organized or tech savvy enough to take that approach just yet, but perhaps you are? If so, Melissa Fernandez of  The Spotted Source has a nice listing of some of those here.  

gallery wall
Overwhelmed by all of the digital apps and options Google was spewing at me, I eagerly latched onto the pendulum in my mind that was swinging in a decisively more low-tech direction: Hey, you know what? The interior wall of the kids’ under-the-stairs cardboard fort really needs some sprucing up!
So I grabbed a pile of Lila and Henry’s art, a box of gold push pins and we just started putting them up. I was hesitant at first to cover the kid graffitti in the fort (it is art too, after all!), but I got past it and we just love the results! A burst of color transformed the energy of the space in just five minutes. I foresee some potential issues of push pin puncture wounds, so we’ll see how it plays out—hopefullly without too much bloodshed.




On this, the third time was indeed the charm: An artichoke lantern—We call it our Artychoke lantern—and it turned out to be the perfect project, for three reasons.

1. It transformed the art into a new, pretty and useful object.
2. Cutting and choosing the individual circles gave the kids some experience with curation (not to mention fine motor skills), and also greatly reduced the volume of art/paper we kept.
3. The lantern is a great centerpiece for one of my latest projects, THE OH LAMP

– plain white paper lantern
– small LED light
– paper painting and drawings (or decorative paper of any kind)
– scissors
– low temp glue gun
lantern flat white

1. Gather and choose the art/pages to make your circles. Find a bottle or other circular object that’s the desired size to trace your circles (probably 1-2 inches). Trace and cut out about 30-40 circles, depending on the size of your lantern. You can always make more if you run out.
2. Expand the lantern into shape using the metal pieces in your kit. Starting at the bottom and working your way up, glue down the circles around the edge of the lantern overlapping the circles so that they create a fish scale pattern.
3. Once you’ve reached the top of the lantern, flip it over ‘right side up’ so that the petals flutter downwards and you’re done — a beautiful one-of-a-kind lantern that you can hang in a plant, or from a shelf. Also makes a great nightlight!
— Kara Nelson
lantern bowl

For a more sophisticated take on this look, check out this DIY from Design Sponge.