Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tutorial: how to make a child's art folder

Ah, lovely friends, finally a moment to write to you – it’s been hectic here on Planet Baby this week. I thought I’d share with you a solution for storing all those hundreds of pieces of precious ‘artwork’ children bring home from school. When I’m organised, I write the pixie’s name and the date it was created on the back. Sometimes I forget to. The end result, however, is a thick and unwieldy pile of paper which is usually shoved under Joshua’s bed. I pulled some out to show you – does this make any of you squirm? Hmm, I thought it might!
The other day, the creative side of my brain (which seems to be tuning in again since I made my BYW mood board) recalled something I made at school about 30 years ago which could be our solution. This is what followed. Watch and see how easy it is to make one!


This was the fun part for me – assembling the goodies for the older pixies to create their own art folders. I bought some thick white cardboard which was about 5mm thick and had it cut into sheets 50 cm wide by 80 cm long (for the locals, I bought it at Artery and they cut it to size for me). You need two sheets per folder.

Then I pulled out some of my favourite brushes, paints and stencils.
Notice the range of colours – not just blue and green!
And my butterflies had to make an appearance, of course!
Not to mention my alphabet stencils…
Enter two budding artists and we’re set to go!
I helped out with stencilling their names as that was a bit tricky. Joshua then started on his dinosaur stencil – what a surprise!
Miss India, meanwhile, worked on a horse.
While their artwork was drying, Master Sam dabbled a bit as well. He was in his element! Hmm, maybe he’s ambidextrous?
I just adore his infectious giggle! He really seems to enjoy his painting.
The method

The paint now dry, I stuck one of the painted pieces of cardboard to a blank one using blue electrician’s tape as it looked quite striking (until I ran out) and then masking tape. I sealed the bottom together first and then the two sides, leaving the top end open. I needed to use a couple of layers of tape to seal it adequately.

The result

Here’s Joshua. Proud as punch, especially as his mountains used sparkling gold paint. That little red man is him, out with his pet dinosaurs.
And here’s Miss India’s version, replete with a rainbow, butterflies, a cow, a horse and lots of crosses and circles.
Proudly put to use

And here’s how they worked. Joshie’s was first up.
Followed by India’s.
I was thrilled with the results. Now everything is stored flat and neatly in one place and can just be slid under their beds. The whole issue of (ahem) actually *culling* them can be dealt with another day! I loved seeing how involved they were with the whole process, from the choosing of their paint colours  to the brushes used. It looks like 2011 will be the ‘Year of Crafting on Planet Baby’, don’t you think? I’d love to see if any of you try this little idea out – let’s share tips!


  1. i love that you shared these fantastic step by step photos of your little ones actually making their folders :) what a great time for everyone!

    these totally remind me of art folders i used to make in elementary school ... such great memories. thanks for sharing! when nate's old enough to bring home his art, i'm sure going to put this to use!

  2. Great idea, and even better is they were involved and now own it!
    xo Cathy

  3. Looks like tons of fun with the little ones. Have you noticed this link before? I think you might like it. =)


  4. Great idea Jane! The kids artworks are gorgeous xx

  5. Bravo Jane!

    I confess that I keep one and throw out the other 100. And then a little bit down the track I go to my 'keep' pile and keep one of those and throw the rest out. Works every time. x

  6. Wow Jane, you could be a professional atelierista with those wonderful supplies and your genius artistic inspiration!

    How wonderful to have time to paint together!

    xx Felicity

  7. Beautifully done Jane! I also love the fact that the kids were involved with decorating them in their own style.
    Not sure I have the energy/enthusiasm to make four for here. So far the tub under the bed is still working well ;)
    The deciding what to keep and cull is the hardest part!!

  8. Great idea Jane! Love it!

    Your children have the most heart melting smiles, they are just gorgeous!

  9. This looks like so much fun Jane! I love the mix of stencilled shapes and freehand shapes, and it looks like so much fun to have a big surface to work on. Griff and I popped into Officeworks today and picked up a roll of kraft paper at your recommendation. Sadly, they were out of those lovely storage boxes.

    Have you seen this post below? It made me think of you and how important it is for mammas to find regular, creative time...

  10. Great tip and fun to do, thanks Jane! Love to see how neatly you start (unlike me...) and those cute painting blouses, too cute.
    Have a good weekend Jane,
    Maureen x

  11. Great idea to keep all of that artwork that you seem to collect. Your little ones looked like they had a great time, I love doing messy artwork and seeing little ones getting immersed. I hope you have a lovely weekend. xo

  12. lovely idea Jane :) I use the boys numerous art works to line the shelves of the pantry so each time I reach for the crackers or peanut butter there they are :) hee hee love le xox

  13. Jane! I nominated you!

  14. Jane, this is so impressive. So great!

    I am so impressed also with all your materials and paints.

    Standing Ovation to you!

  15. Ah, ladies, I'm tickled that you found this interesting. It's such a simple idea. The putting it into action with the 3 pixies swirling around with their own ideas was the *interesting* part ☺.

    Jennie, thanks so much for that fabulous link. I love the concept! I've bookmarked it for later. Mind you, I think we've do a few smaller versions as the cost of framing that large one would have been exorbitant ☺. Oh, and thanks - I'll pop over to yours soon for a peek.

    And yes, Bron, as I said, I am putting off the 'culling' stage for another day. That will be a mine filed to negotiate - unless I do it under the cover of darkness!

    Kat, you're welcome to bring the children up here one weekend and I'll help them make them if you like. Seriously! They will just need to bring their smocks.

    So glad they had some paper left, Sarah. Those boxes are ordinary stock so I'm sure they'll get some more in soon. Thanks for that link - it was brilliant.

    Ah, Maureen, yes the tidy start was the only tidy bit!

    Catherine, I admire you for enjoying getting messy. That is one thing I am trying to learn still!

    Leigh, I actually relished getting the pixies to use the things which give me pleasure. I can see that we will have many happy hours of crafting together ahead.

    J x

  16. I love it - and they look so proud :) Great idea, my dear XOL

  17. Thank you for sharing...beautiful photos too! I hope to see YOU at the conference next year xox

  18. This is a gorgeous slideshow of your proud little Planetarians. I love this idea, Jane and the effort you have gone to for the creation of the best art folders around. A happy and smiley post.

  19. Beautiful idea Jane. That fits how I am at storing my kids artwork...a big pile! I've tried various things.... but as they get older there are more and more and more and more...... and just not enough space for the years of art ... I keep meaning to get around to culling....

    My sister Lou wrote a few posts about this topic last year which you might find of interest (although you probably won't need any of them which such gorgeous folders!)


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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