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Isn’t it such a struggle to figure out what to do with the kids’ school work at the end of the year?  As I promised in my previous post about school paperwork organization (click here to read that post), this is how I store my kids’ work at the end of the year.

I have read about all sorts of ideas like storing their work in their backpack for that year (First, I don’t buy new backpacks every year, and second, who has room to store 12 backpacks for each child in their house?), but I finally found a way that works for me.  Maybe my idea can work for you, too.

Here is a quick “flow chart” to show you how the papers move around in my house.  On a daily basis, the kids use these files to store their homework.  At the end of the week when I get it back, I look through it and if it is save-worthy (exceptional art work, report cards, etc), it gets moved into the magazine files hidden in a kitchen cabinet.  At the end of the school year, I pull out all of their saved papers from the magazine file and turn it into the keepsake book.flow chart with arrows

For me, the reasons that storing school work is so challenging are:

  1. Often, their work is not a standard 8 1/2 by 11 page.  As a matter of fact, I am more inclined to save their projects and artwork, which are rarely standard letter size.
  2. Every year I may save a different amount of items, so my storage solution needs to be flexible.
  3. I want the school work I save to be a keepsake, but not be overwhelming to implement or to look at later.
  4. I also don’t want the schoolwork to take up more room than necessary.

I got this book idea from another blog, but it was before I did Pinterest, so I have no idea whose blog it was.  If you recognize this idea from someone else, let me know so that I can give credit!

To deal with all of the above-mentioned issues, I make a customizable book for each of my kids.  It is oversized (16×20) to fit all of the larger artwork:oversized printsI adjust the size of the book depending on how many papers I have that year:

side view
A big plus for me is that I use my kids’ portraits for that year.  If you are like me, you have a collection of past years’ pictures that never get used or seen.  Now at least one of the pictures is being put to good use!school year books

pile of books

So here is a quick rundown of how I do it.

You will need:

  • duck tape (I use white because it blends in)
  • canvas covered boards (seasonally available at Michael’s and always available at Hobby Lobby)
  • picture and/or embellishments
  • decoupage glue and foam brush for applying the glue
  • ribbon/string/rubber band for closing up the book

First, you can create the cover of your book by decoupaging on whatever you would like.  I chose to use an 8 1/2 x 10 portrait that I framed out using my Cricut machine.  I also used my Cricut to cut out the name and school year.  A really easy way to do it would be to just write their name in sharpie or print it out on a piece of paper.

Sometimes projects like this become so cumbersome that they never get done.  My advice is to just do whatever you are mostly likely to actually do!  If that means a stick figure and scribbled name, so be it!

Make sure the glue is good and dry before you begin the rest of the project.

Decoupage

Figure out how thick you need your book to be, and create a binding sufficient for that width.  Put the duck tape first on the inside of the book.  Then flip it over and fold it down.

finish binding

Then apply duck tape to the outside of the book, flip it back over and fold down the edges.

binding

 

This ensures that the outside of the book looks tidy, and the inside of the book  has the folded down parts.

book bindingPlace the papers inside the book and then create a closure.  I have a heavy-duty screw punch that I use to punch a hole in the canvas covers to make a ribbon tie closure.  You could also put a rubber band around it, or  tie a large ribbon around the entire thing.  Again, choose something that is not going to be a burden to do.

ribbon

I store the books stacked most recent year on top in a large box. You can store this box in the respective child’s room (in their closet or under the bed), the attic, the basement, or wherever you can tuck away a box.

box of books

A couple of things to keep in mind with this project.  Make sure that the decoupage glue is completely dry before you stack the books or they will stick to each other and ruin your picture.  (I learned this from experience).

These books aren’t really “books” since nothing is bound into them. The papers will definitely fall out of them if you aren’t careful.  Just store them flat and you won’t have any problems.

 

 

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