What should we do to enjoy our projects long-term – without them taking over the house?
#1 NO MATTER WHICH IDEA YOU USE BELOW – YOU’LL WANT TO USE THIS ONE!
Write on the back of your projects (or tag them) with the date (with perhaps the WP level you are studying) and something YOU remember about the craft, some funny moment or delightful thing that accompanied the time you spent studying that time period. You may want to copy this information into a scrapbook at some time in the future when you have time to do that. Don’t trust it to memory alone!
#2 CREATE MAGNETIC FRAMES FOR THE FRIDGE –A local craft store will have 8 ½ inch magnet sheets (often office supply stores carry them also). Sometimes you can even find these sheets with adhesive on one side, so you can apply a decorative paper to one side. Cut out the center to form a frame. Place on the fridge and rotate each week’s project or artsy craft in the frame. Another idea is to purchase one of those new-fangled magnetic boards that come in large poster sizes, and rotate art on and off. Hint: Don’t throw away the center of the magnetic sheet you cut out. Keep cutting descending-size frames out of the center. You should have 3-4 by the time you finish with one sheet. OR, apply art to magnet sheets and use as magnets, OR apply art and cut apart to make a magnetic puzzle.
#3 CREATE A HANGING CORNER IN CHILD’S BEDROOM –Using fishing wire with hooks attached to the ends, create a corner in your child’s bedroom where he can hang bulky projects – give him space for 4-6 things to hang at various heights. The key here is to tell him that every time he wants to add something – one thing gets thrown away (or you decide to put it in storage because you can’t part with it!) This way a child can keep something long-term if he’s really in love with it, and still has room to rotate other things in and out. Hint: If you don’t have a corner, hang wire from a curtain rod over a window at various heights so it looks kind of decorative!
#4 ENCOURAGE GIFT-GIVING –All of us know Grandma Smith is lonely, but we rarely think to surprise her with a homemade craft. After a craft has served its lifecycle at home, consider gifting an elderly relative or a shut-in at church with a craft. To add to the personal nature of the gift, encourage your child to write a note on the craft, or attach a gift tag with a personal note or even add an encouraging Bible verse that goes along with the craft. Hint: Grandma Smith probably won’t have any qualms about throwing “gifts” away if she keeps receiving more of them! (Tell her to feel free!)
#5 REPURPOSING –Sometimes crafts can be re purposed into something you – or a relative — will use! Try putting a drawing into a see-through mug, or laminate a neat report about your family vacation and use it as a place mat. Take bits and pieces from crafts you really can’t keep and decoupage them onto a wooden box or crate. Cut out round disks from pictures that highlight the most important parts, hole-punch, put a ribbon through it and use it as a Christmas decoration or to decorate a wreath to give to Uncle Joe. Collage a table runner. Use them as backgrounds for scrapbooking! Make a magnetic puzzle as in Idea #2 and give to younger cousins, or your church nursery with a magnetic board to hang.
#6 MAKE A YEARLY COLLAGE –Take strategic pieces of your crafts for the year that have meaning, perhaps things that give the flavor of what you studied for the year. Add family photos of study time, craft time, field trips or museum visits, and create a great collage that will reflect your family’s memories for a year. Let the kids work on it together at the end of the year. Collect things throughout the year, and together make a decision about whether to use it or not. You can even purchase a shadow box frame at a craft store to make it look really special. If you’ve made something really 3-D, cut out only one half or the front part to use. If you have extra that won’t all fit, and you really don’t want to toss, make a couple of extra smaller ones for grandparents, or to keep for the kids to take with them when they leave home.
AND NOW … THE “FINAL SOLUTIONS….”
#7 PURCHASE FILE BOXES OR UNDERBED STORAGE BOXES FOR LONG-TERM STORAGE –Inexpensive cardboard letter-size file boxes are available at most discount or office supply stores. So are plastic storage boxes that go under a bed. Assemble them, then start folding paper crafts into the boxes. It may be helpful to throw away the bulkier crafts after each month of display, and store only those crafts that can be flattened. We all know it isn’t worth it to keep everything your child produces. Sometimes it may seem now like it isn’t worth it to keep anything- but that isn’t the case. You’ll want to shed a few tears over this stuff when the kids are off to college. You may even want to make a cute display on a graduation or wedding day. Keep the things that reflect your child’s special personality, or interests, or that will remind you of some special memory, as we’ve stated in Idea #1. We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Hint: When your box gets full, and you want to add more, go back and weed out some things that you really feel you don’t need to keep, whether they are duplicates, or similar, etc. Take digital pictures of whatever you don’t want to keep (Idea #8), and stick to your guns that you REALLY aren’t going to exceed one box per child for school memories!
#8 TAKE DIGITAL PICTURES OF “PROJECT CASUALTIES” AND SCRAPBOOK THEM IN YOUR “MAKE-YOUR-OWN HISTORY BOOK” –This is such a great solution. Take the digital pictures once a month. If you’re smart, you’ll also write down in the order the pictures are taken the notes you’ve attached to them or written on the back about your special memories that you associate with them (remember #1?). It’s important to write them in order or you’ll get all mixed up when you actually get the pictures back. Write these memories on a piece of paper to tuck & rubber band with the pictures if you don’t get to your scrapbooking right away. Then, let your student scrapbook them into their “Make-Your-Own” history book or “Timelines in History,” with your special notes. You might want to get double prints of the pictures, so Mom & Dad have a copy to scrapbook of their own.