Crafty Blogs

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Personalised Gift Ideas using Kids Artwork

The service I offer over at Artful Kids, is just one way of displaying your children’s artwork.  I am not aware of any other service that offers the same range of  products and services for transforming children’s paintings and drawings into Wall-Art, but  on my travels, I have discovered other imaginative ways to use kids artwork, all of which make excellent gift ideas for Christmas, so I thought I would introduce a few of them here:


You may have seen children’s finger prints transferred to silver, but AM Jewellery specialises in taking children’s drawings and putting them onto beautiful hallmarked silver jewellery.  This can range from cuff-links for Dad, to pendants, brooches, charms and earrings.  I think they make a lovely unusual gift idea.
She also has a blog at



Embroidered Cushions

Another service I have come across recently is that offered at who can take a child’s drawing and turn it into a personalised embroidered cushion or wall panel.
The drawing needs to be on white paper using thick coloured felt-tips rather than crayon or pencils.  They also need to be fairly simple without too much detail, and the number of colours should be limited. Again, an unusual gift idea, that is also very personal.

Photo Gifts

Last but not least, there are of course lots of services which will put any photo of your choice onto cards mugs, mousemats, and T-shirts etc.  Your local photo shop will almost certainly offer such a service.  Zazzle offers this service online, and what’s more you can even set up your own store there to sell your own designs - it’s a great way to indulge your creativity!  I have decided to indulge mine, and over the next week or two I will be adding a number of templates for a range of cards designed specifically for kids artwork.  I shall include a couple of Christmas ones as well, but it may be too late for most people, with or without postal strikes, even though Zazzle say they usually turn around orders in 24 hours.  I will of course let everyone know as soon as they are available.

At this point, I have to point out that like all services which simply print your photograph on to another object, be it card, mug or t-shirt, your photo will be used as supplied, unless otherwise stated.  (This of course does not apply to the first 2 services I have featured, where editing takes place as part of the creative process).
Because of this, any smudges, creases or tears in the original, will potentially show up on the finished product.  The printed colours may also be disappointing, as a detailed proofing process is uneconomic for items like this.  These issues may not be too significant for smaller cheaper objects like a mug, but I feel that it is important for larger scale projects which will be displayed long term upon your wall.  Because of this, at Artful Kids when we produce a canvas or framed print for the wall from a photograph of a child’s artwork, we do make sure that their work will always appear at its best, by removing anything which shouldn‘t be there, and making sure that the colours are saturated, bright, and as accurate as possible. 

Well this has turned into more of a sales pitch than I had intended but my excuse is that I am passionate about what I do, and blogs are about sharing.  However, I do realise that not everyone will share my enthusiasm so I will try to curb myself for a while!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Christmas Card Factory

Inspired by the Madhouse and her project for stencilled Christmas cards, me and my 2 boys (aged 5 and 3) sat down to start our Christmas card production line.  You can see some of our efforts in the picture above, which displays one card by each of us.  You can't really tell from the photograph, which I'm not terribly pleased with  as it doesn't show the sparkle at all, but we used glitter paint for the trees and some snow, while the decorations were created with glitter glue, acrylic jewels and sequins. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Create your own Fridge Frames

This week  I’m going to focus on a project for making fridge frames for kids artwork.  So much of children’s artwork gets displayed on the fridge, and these frames are a simple way of presenting them more effectively.  You could make a range in different shapes and sizes, and of course they can also be used for displaying photos.  I should point out that this is not a project for children, though they can be involved in the final stages if you choose to decorate the frames.

You will need

  • Corrugated Card
  • Spray Paint (you can use ordinary paint, but it is easier to use spray paint)
  • Ruler
  • Cutting Mat (not essential, but helpful)
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel (not essential but useful)
  • Repositionable Spray Glue
  • Pencil
  • Stiff paper
  • Stiff card (thin packaging card is ideal)
  • Adhesive Magnetic tape
1.  Fold a piece of paper the size of your finished frame into quarters.

2.  Create your template by drawing one quarter of your design for the frame onto the folded paper, then cutting around the outline of the design.

    3.  Unfold the paper and place it onto the smooth side of the piece of corrugated card you are using for the frame - some spray glue will help to keep it in place. (see illustration)

    4.  Cut round the design with scissors, then remove the paper template.

    5.  Place a piece of paper the size of the intended artwork for framing (e.g. A4) in the centre of the frame, and using it as a guide, make marks about 1cm in from the corners (see illustration).  Rule, and then using a scalpel, cut between the marked lines to create the frame aperture.  The card removed from the centre can be used later to create a smaller frame if you like.

    6.  Depending on the size of your frame and the thickness of the card, you may need to support it by cutting a second identical frame out of a thin packaging card .  (I found that some of the Amazon book packaging was idea l for this, when creating small frames and that with plain card it was easier to use a scalpel).  Be warned - cutting complex shapes like the large gold one is quite hard work!

    7.  Glue the 2 frames together.  Make sure you make the aperture of the supporting frame slightly larger.
    Spray paint the corrugated front of the frame - you will need more than one coat of paint to cover the corrugated frame effectively.

    8.  Once dry, cut strips of the magnetic tape, and apply to the back of the frame (see illustration).

    9.  If you wish, the frame can be further decorated in any way you choose - simple foam shapes are ideal for this, stuck on with glue dots - I used off-cuts of corrugated paper for this, some which I had painted, and some metallic pieces which I already had.
    For the larger gold frame I added a small piece of card sprayed with the same gold paint as the frame itself, and printed out a piece of paper with the words ‘Masterpiece of the Week’ to trim and stick onto it.  The card was then applied to the bottom of the frame using foam sticky pads.

    Tuesday, 10 November 2009

    For Budding Artists and Aspiring Art Thieves

    It's something of a cliche to look at a modern abstract work of art, and compare it with your 3 year old's latest masterpiece, but now you can take it a step further and get an authentic 'critique' of your child's artwork by a professional.  I first saw the service offered by Charles Kinbote (the pen name of a professional writer for whom this is a light-hearted side-line) a couple of years ago, when I was thinking about setting up Artful Kids, as my initial idea for the site was simply to offer a service where children's art is presented as if it were a gallery style poster (see below), and I thought that the commentaries made a perfect accompaniment.  To explain in more detail, Kinbote's Bespoke Art Commentary Service is dedicated to providing an appreciative, witty, wonderfully pretentious and bespoke review of a child's painting or drawing, and has apparently been used by several celebrities for their children, including Tilda Swinton, and Kate Moss.  The ideal age of the artist is about 2-6 years old.  Parents email an image of the artwork, and the child answers a series of basic questions.  Once complete, the finished product is supplied printed, framed and boxed to display alongside your child's artwork.  Click here to read an example.

    Featured Artist
    Thank you to those of you who have joined and uploaded photos of your children's artwork to the Artful Kids Flickr group.  This week I am introducing the first of my featured artists - hopefully the first of many, but I need more group members to upload photos if this is going to be anything like as regular a feature as I would like it to be.  Remember the artwork (paintings and drawings only) needs to have been done by a child under 12 years old, and please make the photos as good as you can, since I can't really use poor quality images.

    Fashion illustration, contributed by PrettyGoods, whose daughter Tess produced this work at the age of 11.  I think she shows real artistic talent, and love her creative use of backgrounds.

    If you would like to contribute your own photos to the group, the address is:

    And Finally....

    Out shopping for a present for my younger son's 3rd birthday, I spotted a toy in the Playmobil range, which made me do a double-take.  It was a 'jewel thief' set, which came complete with security guard, thief, grappling hook and other suitable tools, museum display case, artwork and easel.  Everything the aspiring young jewel or art thief needs to perfect their technique.  I'm not quite sure what message this is meant to portray to the younger child which Playmobil is aimed at - in fact I'm not sure myself whether to be amused or outraged?!  However, it appears to be part of a whole range of police, security, special agents and thieves - I suppose it's just art (or in this case toys) imitating reality - but how far do you take it at such a young age?

    Tuesday, 3 November 2009

    Party Season

    It seems to be party season - every weekend at the moment I'm taking my elder son to birthday parties.  Over the last few weeks he's been to a Karting Party, a Tubing Party (i.e sledging - looked like great fun to me) an exotic animals party (where he got to handle snakes, tarantulas, giant frogs, etc) and a Football Party.  At least he would have gone to a football party, except silly mummy got the date wrong and turned up the day after.  My poor son was gutted, he'd been looking forward to it so much, and I felt so guilty.

    Last weekend I took him to a party where they had introduced a very simple idea that I rather liked.  In some ways it is rather similar to the idea used at some weddings where a large sheet of paper is provided for the wedding guests to sign, write messages, draw pictures or whatever.  On this occasion it was a large sheet of paper stuck to the wall,  for the 5 & 6 year old guests to draw upon, with the crayons supplied.  I thought it made a lovely keepsake for the future, especially since so many people move now and children’s friends change so quickly.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera, or even my phone with me, so can’t show you what it looked like, but I’m sure you get the general idea!

    New Artful Kids Flickr Group 

    I'm in the process at the moment of trying to customise my blog, so you may see some changes taking place over the next few weeks.  I have lots of things I'd like to do, but it's still very much a learning process at the moment.  Anyway, as part of this whole process I have set up an Artful Kids group on Flickr for people to contribute photos of their children's artwork to.  I'm limiting it to paintings or drawings, by children under the age of 12, and I've set it up so that you have to 'apply' to join, simply so that I'm hopefully less likely to get photos of goodness knows what added to it that way.  The plan is to choose one to feature on Artful Adventures each week, or each month (depends really on how many people contribute to it).  So if your child has just produced a masterpiece, then why not 'exhibit' it by adding it to the group and sharing it with us all, and maybe I'll choose it to feature.  The address is:

    Hand and Footprint Poems

    This week I thought I would share some poems to accompany children's hand and foot prints for gift and display purposes.  You may have come across them before - I first saw them when my son came home from his first term at school with one printed next to his handprint, which had then been laminated and had a calendar attached to the bottom.  I researched them further as I thought they looked perfect added to a child's photo and handprint, and it seems there are a whole lot of variations on a theme.  I've included a couple here, but many more can be found at the links given below: 

    Sometimes you get discouraged
    Because I am so small
    And always leave my fingerprints
    On furniture and walls.

    But everyday I'm growing
    I'll be grown up someday,
    And all these little fingerprints
    Will simply fade away

    So here's a special handprint
    Just so you can recall
    Exactly how my fingers looked
    When I was very small

    Find more hand & footprint poems at: