One of my favorite ways to organize your child’s artwork is to turn some of it into an amazing keepsake.
Sure, you can take one of the best pieces and frame it.
Or you could take 20-30 at a time and turn them into a beautiful, hardbound photo book.
The two best done-for-you services to accomplish this are easily Artkive and Plum Print.
They’re similar in a lot of ways, and both are great, but there are a few key differences to consider if you’re trying to choose between Artkive vs Plum Print.
Overall, Artkive and Plum Print both offer an exceptionally convenient service and a stunning keepsake photo book of your kid’s art. Artkive has a bit more of a robust editing system for rearranging and reorienting the pages of your book, while Plum Print has more choices when it comes to book size.
The two are quite similar on price, with a 25-piece hardcover book starting around $114 from Artkive and $124 from Plum Print. Plum Print has some cheaper options available, though, for softcover books or digital-only copies of the art photos.
In any case, you can get a sweet discount on either by using my links below:
Now let’s take a closer look at these two competitors.
What are Artkive & Plum Print and how do they work?
Artkive and Plum Print are online services that take a bunch of your child’s artwork (drawings, paintings, collages, or really anything that can be sent in the mail and photographed) and turn them into hardbound photo books.
Though the exact process varies a little between these two competitors, it basically works like this:
- Place your order and receive an empty cardboard box in the mail
- Fill the box with anywhere from 20 to 300+ pieces of artwork
- Send the box back using the pre-paid shipping label
- Receive an email when your artwork has been professionally photographed and digitized
- Choose layout options and other book customizations online
- Pay for and receive a book worthy of displaying proudly in your home
This is a really fun process, believe it or not. I had a blast going through all of the art with my daughter and picking which pieces we wanted to feature.
If you want to get them out of your hair forever, both Plum Print and Artkive will happily send the art you sent in to “artwork heaven”.
For a small fee ($19.99 or $20), you can also have the artwork returned so you can archive it yourself, give it to relatives, or anything else you’d like.
The mechanics of building and ordering your book from Artkive and Plum Print are really similar.
There are only a few differences worth noting.
Both companies follow the basic structure above. You’ll first order your box, which will come to your house to be filled with art and sent back with a pre-paid shipping label.
Small difference here: Both companies charge about $39 for this initial delivery of the box. With Artkive, you’ll then be charged a second payment when you complete your order (so the pricing on their website reflects your second payment). Plum Print considers the $39 as a deposit that’s then subtracted from your total amount due.
Basically, they’re both doing the same thing ($39 to initiate the process), but the verbiage on their websites varies slightly. Just a heads up!
Along with your art, you’ll send some basic instructions and preferences for you book. Artkive includes a separate sheet of paper for you to fill out inside the box. Plum Print has you write on the box itself.
From there, expect both companies to take 1-2 weeks to photograph, edit, and upload your art online where you can see it after they receive your box.
When it’s time to preview your books, I believe Artkive offers a slightly more robust editing system with more customizations. You can change the order and orientation of each photo, add captions, and tweak design elements throughout the book.
Plum Print offers some customization and control, but I have to give the edge to Artkive here.
Artkive and Plum Print start at pretty similar price points for what they offer.
(Warning: Neither are cheap! You can do this all a heck of a lot cheaper yourself using Shutterfly, but Plum Print and Artkive are far more convenient and the quality you’ll get is exceptional.)
Both services offer a nifty price slider on their websites so you can budget out how many pieces you’d like to include in your book before you begin:
And here’s Plum Print’s cost slider:
Remember that Artkive’s prices are in addition to your $39 fee for the shipping box.
Plum Print’s prices include the cost of shipping the box.
For the standard offering, about 25 pieces in a 10″ x 8″ hardcover book (Artkive’s is a hair bigger and wider), you’ll pay around $114 total for Artkive and $124 total for Plum Print.
In both cases, add about $20 to have your artwork returned.
One big difference here is that Plum Print has some cheaper options, like getting digital-only access to the photos or getting a softcover book. They also offer a larger 11″x13″ hardcover book for a premium price.
You’ll also notice that Plum Print will print your kid’s designs on other gifts like pillows, shower curtains, and more.
Artkive, on their end, offers incredible mosaic prints of all the photos you sent in — these make excellent gifts for the holidays!
When choosing between these two services, price likely won’t be a huge factor.
Artkive vs Plum Print book comparison (with examples)
The final books you get in the end, after several weeks of waiting, approving, and editing, are nothing short of incredible.
I’ve ordered from both Artkive and Plum Print and can vouch for the high quality of both.
Here’s my hardbound Artkive book.
And here’s a similar book I got from Plum Print (I got the big 11″x13″ option).
Both books feel great in your hands and have slick, professional matte covers along with sturdy hard binding.
The pages inside the Artkive book are nicer, with thicker paper stock. I get the feeling the Artkive book can withstand more abuse over the years.
The Plum Print book, though, is larger (though the big one is substantially more expensive… the standard Plum Print size is actually a tiny bit smaller than Artkive’s book) which really makes the photos pop.
You can’t go wrong with either of these books. They’re amazing and far better than what most people would be able to create on their own without serious photography or design skills.
Can you tell that I love Plum Print and Artkive almost equally?
Both companies do a fantastic job, and while they don’t come cheap, the finished product is something to behold.
I heartily recommend either one, but if you’re stuck trying to choose, here’s my best recommendation:
You might prefer Plum Print you want more book options (large vs small, hardcover vs softcover) or want to buy extra gifts like pillows or shower curtains with your child’s art designs.
You might prefer Artkive if you want thicker pages in the finished book, more editing options while previewing your proof, or you’re interested in buying their incredibly mosaic prints.
Get started with special discounts for my readers below:
Hope this helps, and good luck, parents!