Our children seem to create artwork with the same regularity and frequency as breathing. Having recently moved to a new home, I needed to find a new way of displaying their artwork without destroying any walls.

Ideally I wanted the art display to be 

  • easy and accessible to hang and see for everyone in the family,
  • visible, but still out of the way, and
  • ideally cheap and easy to make with what I had a home.

Looking around, I spotted the unused side of this staircase!

I decided to build on the solution used by my parents in law stapling their Christmas cards to strings hanging from their staircase, with a wooden bar at the bottom keeping everything in place. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any wood at home and I was also concerned that the wood would get caught in the wind and slam when the doors were open. Instead, I needed to find something soft, but still heavy-ish to use as weights to keep the artwork in place.

Soft, brought my thoughts to fabric (well, I’m a quilter after all, right!?) and heavy, made me think of cheap filling materials which were not sharp (pebbles / stones were immediately out!). Instead, the solution seemed to be the beanbags we all played with at school and which I had made many of for the children. I usually fill these with dried yellow peas which I can get for less than £1 per 500 grams at the shop.

Make your on staircase artwork display

To make your own version of this art display, you’ll need

  • 1/2″ cotton tape / thin webbing (my roll had 50m)
  • Charm squares (5″) for the weights
  • A bag (or two) of peas / rice / similar

To create the weights, take a charm square, fold it in half and insert the cotton tape as in the image below. Please ensure the tape is in the middle once the seam is sewn (seam location is indicated by the pin).

Fold over (right sides facing); sew the top seam and the long side, ensuring the tape doesn’t get caught. Cut off the corners, and turn right side out. Give it a quick finger press.

Fill with peas (or your choice of filling). Mine weighed 40-45 grams when filled. Fold the ends in ensuring the filling stays in place. Top stitch. As the weights are not overfilled, this can easily be done on the sewing machine.

Once stitched closed, measure how long tape you need to hang it on your staircase and then sew another weight to the other end. This way, there is no need to tie the strings to the staircase. As an added bonus, you’ll also have some give, should something get caught in the display.

Repeat the above steps until you have the required amount of pairs for your display. For my staircase, I made seven pairs.

Hand printed fabrics from Karen Lewis Textiles

I hang each pair of weights around two uprights, and left one upright free before hanging the next one.

For added personalisation, why not make your own clothes pegs and use these to attach the artwork? Get some cheap wooden clothes pegs from a pound shop or super market, and some fun buttons. Add some PVA glue (if children are involved) or super glue and you’re ready to go.

Once the new school year starts, it won’t take long until the display is filled with lovely artwork, but below are some of the ones the children made yesterday.