Create Gifts Out of Your Kids' Artwork

plant pot
Lucy Schaeffer
With just a few simple steps, you can help your kids transform their favorite artwork into sweet keepsake presents that relatives, teachers, and friends will absolutely love. 
Lucy Schaeffer 
Lucy Schaeffer 

1. Iron-On Pouch

This is the perfect, practical gift for school friends. Experiment with using multiple images on one pouch or cutting out selected images from different drawings.

What to do: Photograph artwork, reduce the size to fit a small canvas pouch, and print onto iron-on transfer paper. Peel off backing and iron the image in place. We ordered plain white canvas pouches from inkodye.com ($12 each), but you can also use this technique on plain canvas tote bags. 

Lucy Schaeffer 
Lucy Schaeffer 

2. Candleholder

Your child's creativity will light up the room! Give these quick crafts to aunts, uncles, or teachers.

What to do: Scan or take a high-resolution digital photograph of a horizontal artwork. Print it on a 81/2 x 11-inch sheet of plain vellum paper. Wrap the paper around a cylindrical glass vase (measure and cut the paper to fit) and adhere the overlapping edges with double-sided tape. Trim, then discard excess paper. Place a battery-operated tea light inside the vase. 

Lucy Schaeffer
Lucy Schaeffer

3. Canvas Silhouette

Your kid will get a kick out of creating an image of himself or a beloved pet. For a wow-worthy result, paint a white stretched canvas in a bright color and choose art that contrasts.

What to do: Take a photo of your child or pooch in profile. On a computer, enlarge the photo so it fills the screen, then tape a piece of butcher paper to the monitor. Trace the image with a soft pencil; remove the paper from the monitor and cut out the silhouette with scissors. Use a glue stick to adhere it to the back of your artwork, then carefully cut around the silhouette's border. Flip silhouette over, then use white glue to attach it to a stretched canvas. Let dry totally, then spray with a final coat of clear gloss varnish. 

Lucy Schaeffer
Lucy Schaeffer

4. Paper Globe

Help your child make a cool ornament from strips of her masterpieces.

What to do: Cut her paintings into 12 strips 6 x 1/2-inch wide. Use a push- pin to poke a hole at the end of each strip. Thread a needle with a 15-inch length of embroidery floss. Tie several knots at the end, and add a bead. Stack the strips, then pass the needle through all the holes at one end. Bend the strips into a C shape. Thread the needle through the other end. String on another bead and tie a knot to hold it in place. To form a loop for hanging, bring the end of the floss back down to the bead, then tie several knots to secure the bead. Fan out the strips evenly to form a globe. 

Lucy Schaeffer
Lucy Schaeffer

5. Covered Journal

Jazz up store-bought notebooks with your little Picasso's doodles.

What to do: Place an open notebook on the back of the artwork. Using a pencil, trace around the book leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cut out, using scissors. Coat the outside of the notebook with a glue stick. Holding the notebook open, press the spine down on the back of the artwork, then press down the covers. Smooth wrinkles. Cut out a notch at the top and bottom of the cover's spine, and cut a diagonal line at the four corners. Glue down each corner, then fold over and glue down each edge along the inside of the book. Repeat process, using clear Con-Tact paper. 

Lucy Schaeffer
Lucy Schaeffer

6. Plant Pot

A personalized terracotta pot makes a terrific hostess gift. Just don't forget to include a houseplant!

What to do: Paint the outside of a terracotta pot with brightly colored acrylic paint. Let dry. Apply glue to the pot, then press on cut-up artwork pieces to form patterns or images. Use a brush to apply a layer of white glue over the entire outside of the pot. Make sure that all the edges of the artwork pieces are smoothed down; let dry. Spray on several light layers of clear gloss varnish to finish. 

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