Have you started accumulating piles of your children’s artwork that you just can’t part with? Try making this heirloom wooden art portfolio to organize and commemorate their artistic journey. This wooden art book has a simple construction with easy-to-find materials, and will keep your children’s artwork safe so that it can be enjoyed for many years. Not only is this a great finished product, but it is an artistic experience in itself! Older children may participate in part or all of the process.
¼” plywood, cut to desired size. I chose 10” x 13” because this easily accommodates 9 x 12” paper.
A Dremel tool or other drill
Food-grade beeswax sealant
Waxed linen thread, yarn, twine, or other binding thread
With your plywood cut to size, sand the rough edges of the boards until smooth. You can also sand the front and back surfaces to smooth them out and prepare them to accept the watercolor paint. Decide how many holes you want in the binding of your book, and decide on their placement. Your portfolio could be landscape or portrait orientation. Using your Dremel tool or a drill, carefully drill holes through the front and back cover pieces. Sand any rough spots created by the drilling.
And now the fun part! Using watercolor paints and as many colors as you desire, paint the front and back covers of the portfolio. The paint dries very quickly on the wood, so try to paint quickly to avoid any strong paint lines and get a nice soft look. You may want to mix the colors ahead of time in jars, or use liquid watercolors. Be sure to give your portfolio a title!
Let the covers dry, then seal the wood with a food-grade beeswax sealant. Using a soft cloth, spread beeswax all over the covers. Wait about 20 minutes, then wipe off any excess with a clean cloth and polish.
You are ready to assemble the portfolio! Gather artwork, and punch holes to align with the holes in the spine edge of the covers. Using a large darning needle and strong thread, such as linen bookbinding thread, tie the artwork into the book, making sure to catch all layers of paper between your wooden covers. Tie at the spine edge with a square knot. Be sure you leave a little slack in the binding when you tie your knot, or the covers will bow out and not lay flat when closed. Do this for all remaining binding holes.
Now proudly share the artwork in your child’s portfolio with friends and family!