One or two enthusiastic kids can generate enough artwork in a single summer to fill the entire house, let alone the front of your fridge. Preserving all that creative effort in its original form presents some problems: Space is limited, and paper doesn't last forever. When you transfer your kids' artwork to digital form, you've suddenly got a lot more options for saving, displaying and sharing those masterpieces.
Items you will need
- Scanner or multifunction printer
- Smartphone or digital camera
- Digital photo frame
- Picture frames and matting
- PC, external hard drive, memory card, DVD or USB thumb drive
Transferring the Images
Scan each piece of art using your scanner or multifunction printer. Typical scanners support images on legal-sized or smaller paper.
Take large-format pieces to your local copy shop. Most can scan at larger sizes than your home printer, giving a high-quality digital copy of the original.
Snap a photo with your phone or digital camera. Place the original in a spot where it has plenty of indirect natural light, and adjust the zoom until your piece of art fills the entire frame.
Displaying Your Art
Create a slideshow of your kids' images on a digital photo frame, and display it prominently in your home. Alternatively, assign each child a separate frame to use as a personal art gallery.
Use a slideshow of kids' art as the screen saver on your computer, or an especially good piece as the wallpaper on your computer or phone. Seeing their art on something you use every day sends your kids the powerful message that their work is important to you.
Make a collage of your child's best pieces, forming a large grid of bright, colorful images. Print it on archival-quality paper, have it framed and then hang it. A group of collages in different sizes and shapes makes an especially striking wall display.
Storing Your Art
Collect each child's art periodically into a single folder and date it, just as you would organize pieces of paper. Archive them as a .zip file, and store a copy for safekeeping on a second computer or external hard drive.
Transfer copies of the artwork to a memory card, DVD or USB thumb drive, either in their original form or as archived .zip files, to provide protection against loss if your hard drive or computer breaks down.
Upload copies, in their original format or archived, to an online file-storage service. The data is backed up across multiple servers, so your treasured art will be protected.
Sharing Your Artwork
Set up an account for your children’s art on one of the major art-sharing sites. Upload pieces as often as you like, creating galleries related by age or theme.
Create a separate gallery for your kids’ artwork on a photo-storage site, such as Flickr. Most allow you to set privacy levels for visitors, so friends and family can have access to your kids' masterpieces, but they remain shielded from the rest of the world.
Store the artwork in a specific folder on a file-storage site such as Dropbox or Google Drive, and give friends and family members permissions for that folder. That way they can choose their own favorites.
Share the images with friends and family on social-media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest, either as individual images or by creating full-scale galleries your friends and family can browse.
- Make prints on archival-quality paper to send to technology-averse relatives. A photo-frame slideshow of kids' art could also make a cute gift.
- Use your camera or phone to capture video of your kids creating art, then incorporate images of the final piece into the video. Share it online, or burn it onto a DVD for low-tech family members.
- When you're scanning images, remember an important rule about art materials: If it'll be hard to clean off of your scanner, don't put it on your scanner. For messy items, use a camera instead.
Photo Credits: Victor Houglin/Demand Media
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