I don’t know about you but I usually have little masterpieces coming out my ears. I love having children who love to create, but I often am amazed at much paper gets recycled.
A lot of our art gets given away or digitally preserved. But lately I’ve been thinking more and more about cutting down on the paper waste to begin with.
Here are a few ways I’m fighting the recycle bin.
I love the idea of an art book. To be able to document how a child’s abilities mature, and for the child to have something to look back upon, a notebook for drawing, coloring, stickering and even painting is great.
My daughter still prefers loose-leaf paper but I hope as she matures, she’ll come to rely more on her art book as her main canvas. This way there are a definitive number of papers and none of them end up in the recycle bin; they stay in the book, organized, contained and showcased.
Taking the artbook a step further is the Bare Book. Simple blank books with various whimsical designs on front (they also come with blank covers), these books come in a variety of sizes and are very affordable.
This is my current go-to birthday gift for the younger child: a Bare book and a few crayons, wrapped up in one of Gigi’s drawings with a ribbon. I love that they can be filled with artwork using almost any medium.
Treetop Publishing makes a ton of different journals and books besides the Bare Books as well. Again, pages are contained, and a true masterpiece will be created in the end, rather than loose pages going in the bin.
Use what you have
Finally, the best way I keep fresh, white pages out of the recycle bin is by simply giving the kids what I have lying around. This means scratch paper that got partially printed on one side, old notebook paper, extra Post-its, ripped out of old college binders, leftover pages from old planners/DayTimers (these are Gigi’s favorite because they look so “official”), and hotel/conference stationary.
David and I recently cleaned out our office supplies and found a jackpot of things we didn’t need that we knew the kids would love. Other than a blank white sheet of paper, something “real” seems to be the next best thing for my kids to doodle on.
We still save nice, white (or sometimes colored) paper for gifts and special circumstances, but for the everyday creative instances (i.e. Gigi writing “Gigi Brody Hallee” a million times) we make do with alternatives.
As for preserving artwork, I previous told you I used Evernote to digitally store my kids’ work. Well, as I mentioned on Facebook last week, I recently found a great (currently free in the App store) iPhone app called ArtKive that I plan on trying out. It archives artwork and then will offer easy printing services for showcasing the masterpieces. I’ll let you now how I like it!
Do you find children’s artwork to multiply? How do you keep the paper waste reasonable?