Our refrigerator is overflowing with children’s artwork. Eventually, all the fingerpainted abstracts, imagined animals on scraps of paper, and torn paper collages are all filed away into the abyss of the hallway closet never to be seen again. Sometimes, we recycle one or two into a card, and on even rarer occasions I’ll sneak something into the recycling bin. What to do with all this art? Utilizing high technology, there’s actually some cool options for the low-tech problem of overflowing artwork. Geemah and Peepop will be thankful for a holiday season free of another bag of scribbles.
A company that’s been getting a lot of buzz is Budsies, which will turn your kids artwork into a 16” plush toy. Anything your kid can imagine (or even a photo of your kid!), can be translated into their very own stuffed animal. Each toy is custom-made by hand, including the sewing. It takes nine weeks to make (which can be expedited for a bit more money) and costs $69 a pop (plus $9.95 shipping.) It’s too late to arrive by the 25th, but a gift card will give your child something creative to do on Christmas morning.
Another option is Kids Creation Station, which uses 3D printing technology to build an actual statue from a kid’s design. They will translate your child’s fantasies from flat drawings into actual figures. You just upload a photo from the computer or through a dedicated app on your phone, and then a professional 3-D modeler uses special software to interpret what the drawing would look like in three dimensions. Finally, it is built into a sandstone statue using layers of powder, glue and ink. I want to emphasize that this does not result in a toy that can be played with, but a highly breakable, real statue. (And it is priced accordingly: $100 for the first statue; $60 for the second replica.) It would make the perfect keepsake for a loved one or a decoration for your child’s bureau (a high bureau, unless they’re old enough to know what fragile means). It takes about three to four weeks for delivery (costing $10 per statue), and it arrives in its own customized diorama display case.
But why stop at toys? For older kids, who catch the designing bug, it’s possible to just get an at home 3D printer. For around $1000, you can get a Makerbot or Cube 3D printer that works wirelessly with free software on your computer. Let your kids go crazy and roll out anything from robots to necklaces to making their own shoes. I get a headache when I try to figure out how these machines work, but there’s no doubt that this will be a great future skill. The printers use a PLA filament (a non-toxic resin that looks like plastic), and can accept the challenges of any creative imagination. We’ll save what to do with your overflow of 3-D models for a future post.
On the other hand, if your kids have a hard time coming up with a blueprint design, you can inspire them with a trip to the Children’s Museum of Art exhibit “Into the Third Dimension: 3D Printing For Young Artists”. The company behind Kids Creation Station has taken archival children’s artwork from the CMA and brought it to life with statues on display, and a short video that explains the 3-D process. And if that doesn’t work, just hand them some play dough and let them interpret their own drawing the old-fashioned way.
Children’s Museum of Art, 103 Charlton Street Tribeca; Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays: 12-5 PM, Thursdays & Fridays: 12-6 PM, Saturdays & Sundays: 10 AM-5 PM. Admission: $11. Through January 11th