GET CRAFTY: giving mini masterpieces a new place in life


A quick and easy project that turns your giant piles of squiggled bits into pretty little paintings.

Right now I’m working on the finishing touches for getting our house ready to list in a few weeks. A big part of that is decorating the walls. I’ll probably be doing several posts on that subject alone in the next few weeks, but here’s a quickie that I love. We’ve been trying to keep the costs down on what we spend on this house to get it ready, so I keep coming up with an idea of what I want and then work down to the least expensive version possible. I also want it to be fast, easy, safe (just in case anyone manages to pull it off the wall) and still look somewhat like what I originally had in mind, just way less expensive. Our entryway is one areas where I started with a big idea and reigned it in quite a bit. We ended up buying almost nothing new for the room other than some wall hooks and a chair. Instead of everything I originally had in mind for the walls, we’re using our children’s art of which we have plenty. And this is where I decided to put this little project to work first. Another plus for this one, it gives us a streamlined way to keep the paintings that we love. All you really need is a frame, scissors & one of those masterpieces that you love to get going. This can also be a great way to pass on the artwork to grandparents or proud aunts and uncles or to take something special to the office.


This is really a quick and easy project that will serve several purposes at once. First of all, you get a way to deal with those huge piles of big paintings, drawing and scribbles that your children produce constantly then pile up endlessly because it’s just too hard to throw them away. We have boxes full of paintings & drawings stored in the attic, many of which have just a few squiggles on a huge piece of paper. Secondly, your child has the opportunity to see their hard work appreciated and framed up on the wall, which my children love. Finally, you have a way to make your walls prettier, brighter and happier while enjoying your child’s art every day instead of dropping it into an ever growing pile. Whether you frame one piece here and there or create an ever growing wall of art for your child, this can be a good thing for everyone.


The basic idea is to select a representative area of the artwork and cut it to fit your selected frame or frames. You end  up with a smaller art pile and a lovely piece of abstract expressionism for your wall. The nicer the frame, obviously the more impact the final result makes and a matte always amps it up even further, but today we’re just using frames we already have from Ikea. We have a ton of Nyttja frames in our house that we move around and repurpose often. I have a set of 4 that lost their home when the new thermostat went up in our attic and decided to use them beside the mirror in our entryway. Instead of buying something new (I was actually considering buying a painting or print and cutting it down) as I had intended we repurposed them again with something we already have. I’ve also done a few more to lean on a shelf in the kitchen & plan to do a few larger versions & a few with mattes for a few other spots in the house.


Here are the steps, if you need them:


1) Choose your artwork. Really anything can work. Here we have all open designs, but this is also great with fully covered pieces, especially if you’re cutting up one large piece into several smaller framed sections. If your artwork has a clear figure or picture, you can still cut it down, just try to use a frame that captures the bulk of it.


2) Choose your section(s). Because we’re using the Nyttja frames, I can use the plastic insert to select my pieces and trace in pencil because the edges won’t show. You can also do this with a glass frame insert, but be very careful not to cut your fingers. If you don’t want to use the glass or are using a matte, you’ll want to create a template out of cardboard and cut the center out to the size of the matte opening so you can select your areas to cut. Always try to size the cut area to the size of the frame, so that your paper will fit snuggly and not side around. Using a plastic insert of cardboard will also allow your child to help if you want.


3) Cut with a scissor or x-acto knife. Because you’re cutting to the size of the frame, not the opening, cutting doesn’t have to be perfect and any pencil edges can be left showing. If however, you want to float the picture in a frame, use a straight edge & X-acto knife and cut to the inside of the pencil line.


4) Insert into frame and close it up. Just make sure the frame insert & the picture are free of any dust or debris. That’s it.

We are using theses in our entryway which will have a washi tape framed  gallery opposite, so we’re also trimming out the frames with a washi edge. Final shots to come once the house is set…