Ever wondered what to do with the stacks of amazing artwork your child accumulates over the years? After you’ve framed some of the stand out ones, there’s still so much more, and I could never bring myself to throw a single piece away. These are after all, your child’s expressions, development, imprints, the way they see the world, their marks.
A few years ago I came up with a solution, and me and my four year old son at the time created this:
A patchwork of some of the highlights of his art, capturing little drawings and moments, and creating what he now calls his ‘story’. From this he tells wonderful adventure stories involving forests, and spiders, and fires. This hangs proudly in our living room. We also used offcuts and extra pieces to create smaller artworks for family members, a great idea for absolutely one of a kind, bespoke artwork - not to mention super special!
With my three year old son I wanted to do something a little different, yet just as effective. I have a soft spot for all things round right now, so I set about using a round template (pretty easy, I used a mason jar screw band!) and we got to work. His masterpiece has pride of place in our entrance now. He is super proud!! His eyes light up as he shows everyone who comes through the door.
Here’s how we did it: NOTE: please check with your young one first that it is okay to cut up their work. My six year old won’t let me do this! These are after all, their creations :-)
You will need: A canvas or frame with white backing board (the larger the better, for impact) High grade PVA glue Medium paint brush (for applying glue) Scissors (or a circle cutter) A round template (a mason jar screwband is PERFECT, as you can see what it is you are going to be cutting out through the 'window’) Pencil Masking tape Patience
Step by step: 1. Measure your canvas or backing board height and width (for framed work, take into account how much of the backing board will be covered by the frame, and take measurements from the edge of the open visible part) 2. Measure the diameter of your proposed circles 3. Figure out how many circles you will need with the following formula: Width (cm) divided by diameter of circles (cm), minus 2 (rounded down to nearest whole number. Taking 2 circles away is to allow for white space around the entire artwork) Height (cm) divided by diameter of circles (cm), minus 2 (rounded down to nearest whole number) Multiply number of circles for width by number of circles for height, and you have your total.
eg. Number of circles for width: 100cmW divided by 7cm = 14.29, minus 2 = 12.29, or 12 Number of circles for height: 60cmH divided by 7cm = 8.57, minus 2 = 6.57, or 6 Number of circles for width, 12 multiplied by number of circles for height, 6 = 72 total circles
4. Time to cut out your circles! Try to use the boldest and most detailed parts of artwork for optimum impact. Trace inside your screwband with a pencil, or whatever you are using as a circle template (jar lid, round piece of card). Cut out each circle with scissors, OR a circle cutter. I never knew these existed until I had already cut my circles! In saying that, I quite liked cutting the circles by hand, strangely therapeutic. Here’s our little stack of circles ready to go:
5. Now to lay them out on your canvas or board. So that you have it perfectly centred, and with a uniform white space around the finished piece, calculate the following:
A. Width of canvas (cm), minus (diameter of circles x number of circles going across), divided by 2. B. Height of canvas (cm), minus (diameter of circles x number of circles going down), divided by 2. eg. 100cmW, minus (7cmD x 12) = 16cm, divided by 2 = 8cm 60cmH, minus (7cm x 6) = 18cm, divided by 2 = 9cm
This gives you the measurements from the outside edge of the canvas or opening of frame, to where your artwork starts. For the width, from both sides, measure in “A"cm and mark with pencil. For the height, measure in "B"cm from top and bottom, and mark with pencil. Tape off the area that is the 'artwork space’ with masking tape, with the masking tape to the outside of the imaginary dotted line:
6. In the artwork space, arrange your circles. Move them around until you get something you like. I like to mix them up, but you may want to colour group, go from dark to light shades…
7. Starting at the top left corner, start to stick each to the canvas, working in rows going down. Brush PVA glue on the back of the circles, one at a time, and press down with fingers, rubbing over any lifting edges or air bubbles with your thumbnail. You can always go back and do this again once the entire layout is complete. Glue circles so that the edges touch the masking tape defined edge, and also touch the other circles.
HINT: pour your PVA glue into a dish and leave it out in the open air for a few hours to become tacky. This will help stick the stiffer and more warped pieces of artwork down.
Remove masking tape, rub out pencil marks, and….It’s done!
Admire the masterpiece!
I feel like I’ve forgotten something….maybe not. I hope this all makes sense! It may seem a little wordy and full of calculations, but it really is straight forward. We adore ours. Hope you have fun :-)