Saving My Kids’ Art with Artkive

When my son started preschool, the papers he brought home started piling up. There’s this spot on my kitchen counter inside the door where mail and schoolwork quickly accumulate. A few years back, my sister-in-law and I were talking about it. She mentioned ordering a storage box from Artkive, a company that “transforms your piles of kid art into art books and framed mosaics.” Sign me up for this mom hack.

I ordered an Artkive box to toss my son’s keepsakes into until I was ready to order his art book–well worth $39. The box is big enough to store oversize pieces but flat enough to store under a bed (24”x 17”x 4”). I put mine on a shelf in our garage (between the car and our kitchen). It will hold 300-400 pieces of art, according to Artkive. They include a prepaid shipping label to send the box back.

Artkive box

Fast-forward a year, I was ready to order my first book before the next school year. Artkive had nudged me by sending an email that made it easy to schedule a UPS pickup on my front porch. There were different dates to choose from. I picked one (July 29, 2022) and put it on my calendar. I knew this would force me to block out time for it.

It took me an hour or two to go through the artwork and make piles—seasonal art, alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, and miscellaneous art, including coloring book pages and drawings he did at home.

I paper-clipped each section and ordered them the way I wanted in the box. I set the box on my front porch on pickup day (probably the next day, knowing me), and UPS picked it up. So convenient!

A few days later, I received an email telling me they had received my art (August 3, 2022). Their turnaround time fluctuates based on order volume. They included this link in the email so I could see their current timeline for the process (presently 6-9 weeks in June 2024).

Next, I received an invoice (September 19, 2022). “Great news! Our team has finished professionally photographing each piece of your artwork. Once you complete your payment, we can finish our process of carefully editing your images and building and printing your keepsake book.”

The cost was about $2 per image. Keep that in mind when you’re sorting through art and deciding what to include. Art books start at $75, framed mosaics at $99, and a digital gallery at $45. You can use a slider tool on their pricing page to estimate your cost (and a discount link is at the end of this post). After I paid on September 28, I received a receipt. About three weeks later, Artkive notified me that my book was ready for review (October 21, 2022).

It took me another month to get around to that, but Artkive reminded me that my book was ready to review every week. It was painless. I could easily reorder the images and add captions. The preview mode is like looking at your book on-screen and turning the pages.

After I approved my book, Artkive let me know the book was going to print. They say to allow four business days for printing and 7-10 for shipping. Expedited shipping is available for an additional cost. You can also request the original art be returned to you if you want it back. Otherwise, Artkive will recycle what you send to them.

I was happy with the result and proud of myself for preserving my son’s artwork. Since then, he’s been conscious of his next art book when working on something. It’s been a good motivator for him to do his best work on projects he wants to include. When it’s time to clean off the counters or refresh the front of the refrigerator, I’ll ask him, “Do you want me to save this for your art book?” And he’ll make the decision.

I’ve since placed a second order–one for each of my boys. Could I make a photo book myself for less? Yes. Would I ever get around to doing it for the kids’ art? Probably not. I still need to finish their baby books and make family photo albums! Artkive makes preserving my kids’ art as easy as possible. They nudge me to follow through, and the books encourage my boys to take their art seriously. Teachers have complimented both of my boys on their coloring, which makes me proud.

Artkive offers an annual membership, which includes two free boxes per year, rush processing on every order, unlimited annual storage of images, and concierge support. I joined when placing my second order. I’ll continue using their service.

Use my referral link and save $20!

What do you do with your kids’ artwork? Leave a comment below.

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Hi, I'm Danelle!

I specialize in Christian non-fiction editing and help new authors design and self-publish their books. I live in Kentucky with my husband Kevin and our two young boys. We love to read, play outdoors, and travel. 

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