A Cheap and Easy Way to Display Kids’ Artwork

Chloe’s artwork

A few months back, Julio wrote that our daughters’ playroom was finished. Truthfully, it wasn’t quite finished – in fact, it still isn’t quite finished – but it’s usable, and that’s almost as good as finished, right?

Since that initial posting, we’ve let our older daughter Chloe have free reign of the playroom. The end result? TOTAL CHAOS! Toys, crayons, drawings, princess paraphernalia and Candy Land game pieces have littered nearly every surface. We’ve often found ourselves wondering why we spent so many months building a playroom when, clearly, Chloe would have been just as happy if we’d rented a dumpster, poured her belongings inside, and plunked her in with them.

Rather than admitting defeat and calling the dumpster company, we tried thinking of alternate methods of dealing with the growing mess.

Chloe attends a Montessori preschool where she is only allowed to play with one item at a time. Before she can move on to another item (or in Montessori lingo “job”) she has to return the first item to its designated spot. We a now enforcing a similar rule in the playroom. To make things simple, everything has a designated bin. Games, puzzles and art supplies go in baskets on the built-in bookshelves (which Julio finished a few weeks ago. Hooray!) Stuffed animals and toys go in their own baskets and bins. Books go on the free-standing bookshelves across from the stairs. And nothing new comes out of its basket, or down from its shelf, until everything else is put away.

(It remains to be seen if Chloe will follow the new rules. Past experience suggests that compliance is probably a pipe dream.)

While, at least in theory, the new baskets and bins will contain the toys and games, we faced another challenge. Most afternoons, Chloe comes home from preschool toting mounds of paper (drawings, worksheets, collages, etc.) She’s proud of her work and, understandably, wants to display it. We just want to keep it off the floor (and out of her baby sister’s mouth.) We found a quick and inexpensive solution at IKEA.

IKEA’s Dignitet curtain rod is basically a length of wire suspended between two small metal posts:


Curtains hang from the wire via tiny dangling clips. These little clips also happen to do a great job of displaying a preschooler’s art collection:

Art Wall

We considered hanging a second wire below the first one to make the wall appear a bit more balanced, but now that Ginger is crawling, we figure anything hanging that low would be way too tempting for her. With the current installation, Chloe’s drawings and worksheets stay safely out of her baby sister’s reach (and aforementioned mouth.)

With the larger drawings hanging neatly on the wall, all we had left to worry about were Chloe’s smaller treasures. We constantly seem to find postcards, birthday party invitations and little construction paper cutouts on the playroom floor, so we decided to see how a French memo board might do at keeping smaller bits of paper contained.

Chloe has an odd fascination with the Eiffel Tower, so she was completely thrilled when we found this little number on eBay:

Eiffel Tower memo board

It arrived about a week ago and we have since begun covering it with postcards and small school projects:

Memo board

To further stem the tide of clutter, we’re considering adding either a toy box/storage bench or second freestanding shelving unit. We also still plan to hang a few things on those bare green walls, but at this point, the playroom is the most finished space in our house. It’s also the most organized. (For the time being anyway.) It’s a nice feeling having one almost-finished space. And best of all, now, whether Chloe actually adheres to the new playroom rules or not, we have photographic proof that for one sweet yet brief moment in time, the playroom floor was actually visible.

24 thoughts on “A Cheap and Easy Way to Display Kids’ Artwork

  1. Grandma: Glad you approve!

    Jennifer: Thanks. I really hope that’s the case with Chloe, although her MO definitely seems to be “pushing boundaries” not respecting them.

    Becoming-Home: The Deka hardware is pretty cool because it pivots and you can hang a variety of ways – on a purely vertical wall, on a sloped wall, or even from the ceiling. You can also buy a separate center support if you have a really long stretch to cover, and the wire can be cut to any length. There are so many ways it could be awesome on a pergola – for example, you could hang curtains like you would on a four poster bed – that would be sweet!


  2. As usual, I’m late to the party, but this is EXACTLY the solution I was looking for to hang my four kids’ artwork. I suspected I could find it at IKEA, but had no idea what to call it.

    A quick Google images search and here you are 🙂 Thank you…and really great looking playroom!


  3. I love what you are doing with the artwork. My twin daughters (8) and little boy (4) bring so much artwork that I want to proudly display rather than throwing it into a pile.
    We too are working on the idea of put it away before you get out the next toy/project/etc.


  4. Thanks Michelle – it’s worked out really well for us. When Ginger gets a little bigger, we’ll probably add a second, lower wire so that each girl has a display space of her own.

    In the meantime, the put one thing away before you take another thing out concept is a work in progress, but we have finally gotten Chloe to the point that she puts her stuff away each day and that’s almost as good – so much less cluttered than it used to be!


  5. I just did a google image search for “Deka Curtain Wire” because I wanted to see what it looked like in use, instead of the worthless photo the ikea site offers. I was surprised that one of the first images to pop up was your house! Small world, eh?


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