Children’s artwork storage is, truly, the bane of many parents’ existence.
No matter how well you organize it, or how much you throw or give away, there always seems to be more and more coming home from preschool!
In our home, at least, it sometimes feels like the art is taking over the entire house.
Luckily, there are services like Plum Print.
What is Plum Print? It’s a done-for-you service that takes a bundle of your kid’s artwork and turns it into a gorgeous keepsake photobook.
I recently gave Plum Print a try, and found it to be a really easy and enjoyable process. I’m in love with the Plum Print book I got at the end and will cherish it forever. Be warned, though, the service isn’t cheap or fast, but the end result is high-quality and one-of-a-kind.
Below, I’ll explain why I think Plum Print is a great gift or keepsake for any family, plus pros, cons, pricing, and how it all works.
Let’s get into my 100% honest Plum Print review!
(P.S. You can use my link right now to get $10 off your Plum Print order. Just use code dadfix at checkout.)
What is Plum Print and how does it work?
Digitizing your child’s artwork and turning it into a photobook is a simple, and genius, idea.
The only problem is, it’s a lot of work.
While there’s nothing stopping you from snapping photos of the art yourself, uploading it all to Shutterfly, then designing and printing your own book, the process is REALLY time-consuming.
(Plus, there’s a lot of pressure on your photography and design skills!)
Services like Plum Print essentially do the work for you, for a fee.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up on the Plum Print website and put down a deposit of $39.99 (this will be returned to you once you pay the whole price for the final book)
- PP sends you an empty cardboard box with pre-paid postage
- Fill the box with 10-375 pieces (!!) worth of your child’s greatest masterpieces and send it back
- Plum Print’s professional photographers will take exceptional, studio-quality photos of each piece and upload them into a digital proof of your hardcover book
- Review the proof, design a title page or dedication message, and pick the size of book you want
- Boom, you’re done! You’ll get your finished book in the mail
- For a small fee, the original art can be returned to you, or, as PP writes on their website, “escorted to artwork heaven” (I love that)
It’s as simple as that.
I tried Plum Print out recently with a big pile of my 4-year-old’s artwork to see how the process would play out.
After I ordered the shipping kit, it arrived at my house in about a week.
I loaded up the box with about 20 pieces of my daughter’s artwork from her pre-K year of school.
You’ll also see some basic options and instructions on the inside of the box.
You can select which size of book you want at this point, if you want to include captions, a cover piece of art, and if you want your artwork returned (for $19.99 in shipping).
From there, I slapped on the included FedEx label, sealed up the box, and sent it over to the folks at Plum Print to do the rest.
(This is a great time to do a little artwork sorting beyond just what you send to be included in the book. Go through your massive piles and pick some for the grandparents, some to save, and some for the trash. Thin out the herd!
And let your kiddos help, they love this.)
After Plum Print emailed me saying they had received my box, it took about 5 days to photograph and digitize the artwork.
You get friendly and helpful emails all along the way, so you always know where you are in the process.
At this point, you’ll be invited to
- Add a cover photo
- Add an intro message or dedication (called a blurb)
From there, it took about 1.5-2 weeks for the complete proof of the book to be ready.
I got an email with a link to preview the book, and at this point, you can still make a couple of changes, like:
- Altering the blurb
- Changing the background color on certain pages
- Reorienting certain pieces of art
Everything looked pretty good to me; it was clear that a human being had taken care to organize the book properly. The attention to detail looked great to my, admittedly untrained, eye.
I approved the proof and in about another week, my artwork was on its way back and the final book had been shipped out.
The Finished Book
From beginning to end, Plum Print took just under two months from the time my shipping kit left the warehouse to the day I had the final book in my hands.
(I wasn’t always completely prompt when I needed to review things or send feedback, but still, there are quite a few steps involved along the way here.)
The final book was WELL worth it.
(By the way, that’s a piece of spin-art my daughter made; not a stock cover image.)
The hardcover book is GORGEOUS and extremely well made.
The photographs of the art are fantastic and studio-quality; far better than I could have done at home.
Each piece of art is laid out on a colored background and aligned perfectly in-frame, with no “flash spots” or weird lighting.
This book will undoubtedly hold up well over time, and I’m so excited to put it up on a shelf and display it proudly for a long time to come.
How much does Plum Print cost?
OK, it all sounds pretty good, but I warned you already that it wouldn’t be cheap.
To start, you’ll pay $39.99 to have the PP box shipped to you, though this cost is refunded if you end up buying a book.
From there, Plum Print pricing is based on two variables:
The size of your final book
How many pieces of art are included
The cheapest option, 10 pieces of art inside a 10″x8″ softcover book, would run about $84.
A large hardcover with 375 pieces of art, on the other hand, would run you a whopping $881!
(Though it could be cool to save up a few year’s worth of art and make one massive book to show it off.)
You can see more pricing options using a really cool “slider” on Plum Print’s website. Just choose how many pieces of art you want to send and you’ll see pricing for each size and style of book, including getting digital-only access to the photos.
What I loved about Plum Print (Pros)
I think turning your kid’s art into a photo book is an amazing concept.
So, not surprisingly, I loved this process. Here were a few of my favorite things about working with Plum Print.
The book (quality)
I mean, that’s what this was all about, right?
The book is amazing and something I’ll want to keep forever and ever, and break out when I’m 50 so I can embarrass my daughter in front of dates.
The pages felt a tad thin to me and I wish they were on a heavier stock, but other than that I couldn’t be happier with the final product.
Customer service & experience
This is a somewhat elaborate process with many different steps (sending in the art, choosing a cover and blurb, viewing and editing the proof, getting artwork returned, etc.), but I was never confused about what was going on or what I was supposed to do.
Plum Print sends lots of friendly and helpful email prompts when they’re waiting on you for something!
What I didn’t love (Cons)
As much as I enjoyed this, and as much as I love this book, Plum Print won’t be for everyone.
The cheapest physical book you can get from Plum Print costs $84, and that will only have 10 pieces of art in it!
The white-glove service is worth the price, but the price is high, so be aware of that.
If you have more time than money, you’ll do just fine creating your own book on Shutterfly.
Full disclosure, I received my book for free in exchange for an honest Plum Print review, but I stand by everything I’ve written here.
It takes a while
If you need this book as a gift, like, tomorrow, PP isn’t going to work most likely.
It takes time to receive your shipping kit, time for them to digitize the photos, time to prepare the proof, and time to print and ship the book.
There’s not a lot of WORK to be done, on your end at least, but you do have to be a little patient.
If ordering a book for the holidays, better get started on the earlier side to make sure you get the book on time, though Plum Print ramps up operations to handle the holiday rush quite well.
Overall, Plum Print was a fun process that left me with a one-of-a-kind keepsake I’m sure all my parent-friends will be jealous of.
In the end, you don’t end up “getting rid of” too many pieces of artwork — I actually decided I wanted ours back to keep and store in their physical form — but this is probably the best way to display them you could possibly think of.
(Once you digitize your photos, you can order other products like pillows, canvases, and shower curtains with your toddler’s art on them!)
It’s a great gift for parents, grandparents, or just for yourself. And an amazing memento you’ll love forever.
Hope this helps, everyone!
Or check out my review of another fantastic art photo book service, Artkive.