Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kids' Artwork Display Banner - Experiment 6

I just completed this project today but I was so excited about it that I had to write it up. 

Long before I had a baby, I remember seeing photos of homes with kids' artwork framed beautifully and hung up. I loved the idea - I'm not a fan of buying artwork that just matches a room, but for hanging up things that really speak to me or tell a story about the people who live here. 

T's daycare regularly does messy art projects with all the kids, even the infants. We do art projects at home, but they're not as organized and cute as the ones they plan at daycare. Every couple of months her teachers send home the last several projects.

I'm not a pack rat (despite my huge collection of shiny new supplies) so I can easily let go of some of the pieces she brings home. We also have two adoring sets of grandparents who appreciate T's art, so I give them some. But I want to keep and display some of them. Until now I hadn't done much except stick a few  up on the magnet boards in my craft room.

A few months ago, while reading a craft book, I saw a photo of a bulletin board with a cute handmade sign to showcase the kids' art projects.  I knew I wanted to make something like that for our house, so I put it on the list of "someday maybe" projects.

Yesterday, I got motivated to FINALLY pick up all the stuff sitting on the floor of the craft room and DO something with it.  I threw away some things, found better storage places for others, and unearthed a bulletin board that was just the perfect size for the hallway outside T's room. 

I put up the board and tacked on three of her recent art projects.  And today, while my fabulous husband was at the football game, and my fabulous daughter went to her fabulous grandparents' place for an afternoon of fun, I got crafty.

I wanted to make a sign that announced Trillian's art. I love making banners.  Since I didn't have much time and really wanted to finish it in one sitting, I decided to use my largest circle punch and glittery letter stickers from my stash. 

Rather than a typical banner where the letters are attached to each other, I used my jewelry making brainspace and decided to "string" the letters onto ribbon, using brightly colored jump rings.  I figured this would give the sign more motion, and I also wanted to see if I could make what I pictured in my head.  Since the "beads" were made of paper, I thought I should reinforce the holes with metal eyelets.

Fiskars Squeeze Punch X-Large, Round 'n Round
BasicGrey patterned cardstock
Pink Paislee glitter chipboard alphabet stickers
Crop-A-Dile Hole Punch and Eyelet Setter
Satin ribbon, 5/8" wide
Large 3/16" silver eyelets
Large anodized aluminum jump rings (1/4")
Packaging tape or nails/tacks for hanging

  1. I cut out enough circles from the cardstock with the circle cutter to spell out "trillian's art".  12, to be precise, plus a couple extra for mistakes.
  2. I arranged the cardstock circles with the patterns in the order I wanted them, and then stuck on the letter stickers, which I chose in a color and size so they'd be easy to read from a few feet. 
  3. I marked where I wanted the eyelets with a pencil. 
  4. Using the Crop-A-Dile, I punched 1/8" holes at the top of each letter of her name, and then the top and bottom of the ones spelling 'art' since they'd hang vertically.
  5. Using the wondrous Crop-A-Dile, I put in the eyelets. 
  6. Then, using pliers, I opened the jump rings, slipped them in the eyelets, and then closed them.  For the word 'art' I chained the letters together so they'd hang vertically.
  7. I cut a length of ribbon (about 3 feet) and strung the name letters on them, tying a knot at each end to keep the letters on. 
  8. At the beginning, before the knot, I added the string of letters spelling "art" and then tied another knot to keep that in place.
  9. I used clear packaging tape to secure the ends of the ribbon to the bulletin board.  Since the banner is small and light, this should be enough to hold it in place.
Tips & Tricks
  • Doing projects with repetitive elements goes a lot faster if you do it assembly line style - cut all pieces, then punch holes, then add eyelets, etc.
  • Count on making some mistakes, and make sure you have extra paper, eyelets, and stickers as needed.  Sometimes elements can be salvaged from the mistakes (I'm thrifty like that.)
  • When adding eyelets to punched holes,  make sure you've got enough space from the edge of the paper to the rim of the eyelet.  Also make sure the hole you're punching is big enough for the base of the eyelet - I like them to fit a little snugly, so I was using 1/8" holes for a 3/16" eyelet, but with delicate papers, this won't work well.
  • Don't cut ribbon until you're sure you have enough for your project.  You can always cut something shorter, but it's hard to make it longer. I always have to remind myself of this.
  • Look for materials in other departments of the craft store.  The jump rings I used were in the jewelry-making area. You never know what you might find!  In the same vein, when solving an "engineering" problem of how to attach things, or support things, think outside of your own craft, to another craft, or another application entirely!  I've gotten some interesting ideas from my husband, who is not a crafter, but is very mechanically inclined and handy.
BabyT liked the sign, which is appreciation enough for me. And I can assure you that I'll do everything in my power to keep that adorable jellyfish she made. I envision it hanging on the wall in my nursing home far in the future.  But for now, its rightful home is on her new art board, just outside her room.

What do you do with your kids' art projects?

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