Although it’s traditionally a gift-giving holiday, Mother’s Day gifts don’t have to be budget-busters. In fact, most moms are content with a homemade card or a fistful of dandelions plucked from the backyard.
But knowing their kid took the time to make something gives a gift that extra something special that goes far beyond what money can buy. And as cheesy as it sounds, few moms can resist a macaroni necklace or handprint apron made by a little one. I’m the mom of a preschooler, and I keep an overflowing memory box of these kinds of gifts. And I’m unlikely to ever part with any of them. They’re irreplaceable artifacts of my son’s childhood.
Additionally, gifts kids can make themselves let them take part in the gift-giving process. According to a 2018 study published in Psychological Science, giving is a greater path to lasting happiness than receiving. It gives kids a chance to show their appreciation personally and feel pride when Mom unwraps and uses something they made themselves.
So whether you’re strapped for cash or want to make Mom something to treasure for years, a do-it-yourself gift is the perfect thing to show how much you care. From soaps and salt scrubs to home-baked goodies or practical kitchen and gardening tools, DIY projects can suit kids of all ages — from preschoolers to adults.
And although the smallest crafters need help or supervision from an adult, any of these projects lets a kid of any age show Mom just how much they care.
A homemade card or hand-painted picture is a very doable project for kids of all ages. With a grown-up’s help, an infant as young as 6 months can finger-paint a design on the front of a card or even make abstract art. And the complexity of the crafts can grow with age. Older children can fold pop-up cards or experiment with advanced art-making techniques like pulled string art.
1. A Homemade Card
If you have some construction paper, scissors, crayons, and glue laying around the house, you have all the supplies you need to make a homemade card. Preschoolers can draw a picture with crayons, and toddlers can finger-paint. Or you can take it up a notch with one of these ideas:
- Finger-Paint Heart. Fold heavy-duty paper like card stock in half crosswise, like a greeting card. Then place a large heart sticker in the middle of the card’s cover and set out some finger paints. If your child is between 6 months old and 2 years old, strap them into their high chair wearing only their diaper for some fun sensory play. Or to keep it less messy, you can glop some paint onto the card, slide it into a zip-close bag, seal it shut, and have them pat or slide their fingers over the plastic. When they’re finished painting, carefully peel off the sticker, and you’ve got a heart shape surrounded by swirls of color.
- Handprint Butterfly. Fold a piece of colored card stock or construction paper in half. Then lay your child’s hand with the wrist over the folded edge and trace. When you cut out the doubled pages, keep the folded edge intact. After you open it, the handprint looks like a butterfly. Let your child decorate the outside, and be sure to write a poem or message on the inside (or you can attach it separately). Get the full instructions on The Best Ideas for Kids.
- Mail a Hug. If an adult child lives far away from Mom or a younger one from Grandma, getting a “hug” in the mail is sure to warm their hearts. Trace or use paint to make prints of both your hands on cardstock. Then measure a length of ribbon as long as your arm span wrist to wrist. Cut out the hands and glue them to the ends of the ribbon. Then tuck the hug into a homemade card. Get the full instructions on Glued to My Crafts.
- Pop-Up Heart. Print small (no larger than 2 inches) images of the kids or grandkids on regular printer paper. Then cut a four-heart shape (similar to a four-leaf clover) out of colored construction paper. Cut the images into heart shapes to affix to each paper heart. Then fold the pop-up by following the video directions. Then fold another piece of construction paper crosswise like a greeting card, and glue the four-heart shape into the card, centering it along the inner edge of the card fold and gluing down only the right and left hearts. Fold the top and bottom hearts inward along their creased edges. The four-heart shape will then act like a pop-up card when it’s opened. Get the full instructions on Hello, Wonderful.
- Handprint Time Capsule. Does your mom still have any handprint crafts from when you were a kid? Carefully scan the originals and print them on card stock. Then stamp your adult hand next to your little hand.
2. A Painted Picture
Even if kids make pictures for their parents all the time, a special picture for Mother’s Day lets them play with new art styles, allowing them to express themselves while developing their motor and visual-spatial skills.
Try one of these ideas for kids of all ages:
- Splatter Art. Splatter-painting is a simple craft for kids as young as toddlerhood. Thin some kid-safe washable paint and then dip plastic straws in the paint. Have kids blow through the dipped straws onto blank paper. It will create a gorgeous splatter effect. Alternatively, create a watercolor effect by tinting bubble solution with food coloring and having the kids blow bubbles onto blank paper.
- Pulled String Art. This art project resembles a colorful bouquet when finished — perfect for Mother’s Day. Fill some jars with watercolor paint and dip a string into each. Meanwhile, fold a blank page of paper in half, then unfold it and lay it inside an old book you don’t mind getting splattered. Choose one string and lay it on the folded paper in any form of loops and squiggles. Shut the book on it, press it firmly closed, and have the kids pull the string out. Get the full instructions on TinkerLab.
- Cheater Watercolor Prints. Print a quote Mom loves on plain white paper. Use regular kid-friendly markers to decorate the outside of a gallon-size zip-close bag, then spray it with water. Quickly flip it over and lay it on top of your printed page. Rub the bag so the colors will adhere to the paper. Get the full instructions on It’s Always Autumn.
- “Love You” Handprint. Cover both the child’s hands in paint or press them on an ink pad, then let them press their hands on blank paper so the thumbs and pointer fingers come together to form an upside-down heart. Rotate the paper so the heart is facing you and write “Love U!” in the middle of the heart. Get the full instructions on Lil’ Luna.
3. A Wall Plaque
Wooden plaques also make attractive wall art, especially if Mom’s tastes lean toward farmhouse style. Kids can make a sentimental piece of art using simple letter stencils or even stickers you can permanently seal onto the plaque using Mod Podge. For inspiration, see the “Home Is Wherever Mom Is” and “Mother Acrostic” plaques on Etsy.
Alternatively, Kids can make wooden plaques with a more glam vibe by decoupaging wood signs with decorative paper, some gold or glitter stickers, and some Mod Podge. Get the full instructions on Lovely Indeed.
Though edible goodies aren’t the first thing many people think of when it comes to homemade gifts, they’re a welcome treat. Food gifts take time, attention, and care. Plus, they let your mother sit back and relax while the kids take charge of mealtime.
4. Breakfast in Bed
Breakfast in bed is a classic gift for a reason. It lets the recipient get some extra relaxation time, and breakfast is an easy meal for kids to master. Younger children probably need a bit of adult supervision or help. But standard breakfast fare like scrambled eggs, toast, and yogurt with fruit and granola are doable for younger kids. For older kids or budding chefs, take it up a notch with a batch of buttermilk pancakes. And bonus points if they also clean up.
5. A Picnic Lunch
For a different meal option, pack a picnic lunch for the whole family. In most areas of the United States, spring is in full bloom by Mother’s Day, and a picnic gives everyone a chance to get out and enjoy it. Plus, a 2014 study published in Ecopsychology found that time in nature can reduce the adverse effects of stress. And what mother couldn’t use a little stress reduction?
Picnic classics like sandwiches, chips, and cookies along with potato and fruit salad are simple recipes kids of most ages can handle. Find some picnic food recipe inspiration on Cool Mom Eats.
Most moms are likely to enjoy a sweet treat to savor while enjoying a good book or movie. Even if kids are less willing or able to make a full meal, treats make everyone feel pampered and special.
Opt for a relatively simple classic like peanut butter cookies or chocolate chip cookies. Or try making the meringue roses from Shugary Sweets. They look fancy and beautiful for Mother’s Day, but they aren’t too complicated to make.
Alternatively, use letter-shaped cookie cutters to combine two gifts in one — a homemade card with a delicious treat. To keep it age-appropriate for younger kids, use store-bought sugar cookie dough, roll it out for kids to cut letters, and bake some up to spell whatever word they think most describes their mom. Then they can decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. Get the full instructions on Tell Love and Party.
Making gourmet chocolates is too advanced for most kids, but filling candy molds with chocolate is another story — just be sure an adult handles the melting. You can buy chocolate molds to make Mom some special Mother’s Day treats, or freehand some flowers to make a pretty chocolate pop bouquet. Get the full instructions on The Decorated Cookie.
To make something a bit more like what you can find in a fancy chocolate box, try the easy homemade chocolates from Nurture Store.
Home & Kitchen Gifts
Kid-made gifts for the home or kitchen are welcomed by moms and grandmas who love to cook, entertain, or decorate. And while most moms love just about any gift made by a little one, including anything involving handprints, older kids are capable of making Mom something that’s also stylish.
8. A Mug
“World’s Best Mom” mugs are an age-old Mother’s Day tradition. This year, take it up a notch with a beautiful hand-decorated mug. You can even present it on a tray as a lasting keepsake from breakfast in bed.
Start with an inexpensive white ceramic mug purchased from the dollar store or Amazon, gather some oil-based Sharpies or another brand of ceramic paint pens, and then opt for one of these decorating techniques:
- Pointillism. Use paint markers to create dotted designs on mugs. Kids can either dot around removable stickers — like a heart shape — or freehand their dots. Get the full instructions on Bren Did.
- Stenciled. Use stencils and paint pens to make colorful designs like the monogrammed mug on DIY Adulation.
- Hand Painted. Use transfer paper and a pencil to “etch” a design on the mug, then decorate over it with paint pens. Or freehand simple designs like flowers. Get the full instructions on Michaels’ website.
9. A Wooden Tray
If the kids are all about serving Mom breakfast in bed, but you have no tray to present it on, don’t worry. Making a DIY tray is easier than you think.
Spray-paint a wood tray with your mother’s favorite color and decoupage the serving area with kids artwork, adult coloring pages (if the kids are older), or other images. Get the full instructions on Mod Podge Rocks.
Alternatively, add handles to a tray-size plank of wood you can purchase at your local hardware store. Then add handles with cabinet pulls and have kids paint their own designs right on the wood plank. Get the full instructions on Alpha Mom.
10. A Tablecloth, Napkins, or Tea Towels
Some projects to try include:
- Sponge Stamping. Cut various shapes out of basic kitchen sponges. Then dip them into fabric paint and stamp some plain white linens.
- Wood Block Stamping. Make simple wooden block stamps kids can use to stamp tulips on napkins like the ones on Lars. If you’d rather not carve your own block stamps, you can use a similar technique by cutting shapes out of craft foam and gluing them onto wooden blocks.
- Vegetable Stamping. Another fun idea for stamping cute patterns on linens involves using actual fruits and vegetables as the stamps. Cut the root end off a bunch of celery and use it to stamp roses. Or try other fruits and vegetables, like the potatoes and lemons they used on Down Home Inspiration.
- Hand and Footprints. Have very young kids decorate a set of tea towels by stamping handprints and footprints. Then turn their prints into butterflies and bumblebees like the tea towels on Creative Green Living.
- Glue Batik. Glue batik is another idea that works well for younger kids, though older kids can also use this technique to make more complicated designs. Use a basic white school glue like Elmer’s to draw a design on the cloth. Let it dry, and then paint over the entire surface, including the glue, with fabric paint. Once the paint is dry, peel off the glue, and there are now white lines and shapes where the glue was. Get the full instructions on The Artful Parent.
- Design Your Own Fabric. Older kids who know how to sew or enjoy graphic design can make their own tablecloth, napkins, or tea towels from fabric they design themselves using a print-on-demand service like Spoonflower. Or print a younger child’s artwork onto fabric and have Spoonflower make the napkins or tablecloths.
11. An Apron
An apron with handprints is a classic gift those who enjoy cooking or grilling can get a lot of use from. Have kids coat their hands with fabric paint and stamp them onto a solid-colored apron like the ones on Old Salt Farm. Or use the footprints and handprints to make butterflies and flowers like they did on Little Page Turners. Use a single handprint to make the O in “mom,” which works best for only children or for moms who are prolific cooks who always need more than one apron in rotation. Get the full instructions on The Craft Patch.
12. A Rope Bowl or Basket
Rope bowls are handy in the kitchen as a fruit bowl or catch-all, and rope baskets are useful in the family room as attractive blanket storage. Plus, they’re super-easy to make with a few simple hacks.
Make a fruit bowl for the kitchen with some thick rope, a glue gun, and a bowl in the size and shape you want your fruit bowl. Flip the bowl upside down and use it as a mold. Starting from the rim of the bowl, wrap the rope around it in concentric circles, using the glue gun to glue each layer to the previous one. When you’ve completely wrapped the bowl, slip it out, and you’ve got a perfectly formed woven-looking basket. Get the full instructions on the Hallmark Channel.
To make a larger basket for storing things like blankets, use a similar technique and wrap rope around a larger mold, such as a trash can. Or make a fabric-lined rope basket by gluing fabric and rope directly onto an inexpensive dollar store laundry basket. Get the full instructions on Lydi Out Loud.
What parent couldn’t use some attractive and practical coasters? Whether at work or home, they’ll keep the furniture safe while acting as a reminder of just how much Mom means to the whole family.
- Painted Wooden Coasters. Have kids make Mom some attractive and practical coasters using wooden rounds and some paint. While people of any age can do this craft, it’s also appropriate for younger kids because they can simply swirl around colors without the need to be perfect, and it will look like beautiful abstract art. Get the full instructions on We Are Scout.
- Ceramic Tile Coasters. Kids can make abstract art coasters that look like watercolors with Sharpies and ceramic tiles. Have kids scribble on the tiles with Sharpies, then spray the tiles with isopropyl alcohol so the colors thin and run like watercolor paint. Let the tiles dry completely. Then a grown-up can seal the tiles with clear finishing spray to make the designs permanent. Get the full instructions on Paging Fun Mums.
- Decoupage Coasters. Older kids can make decoupage coasters using their favorite photos of themselves and Mom or their own artwork. Simply print the chosen image onto paper, and cut it out in the same size and shape as the coaster. Then brush the coaster with some Mod Podge, press the image down, and coat the image with more Mod Podge. To ensure the coasters can stand up to condensation, use waterproof, dishwasher-safe Mod Podge. Get the full instructions on The Spruce Crafts.
14. Refrigerator Magnets
Refrigerator magnets are a practical way to use kid’s artwork. Start with a glass magnet kit and punch or cut 1-inch circles out of kids’ paintings or drawings. Then use some Mod Podge to attach the circles to the glass. Once it’s dry, glue a magnet on the back. If the kids don’t have any artwork they’re willing to cut up for the project, make brand-new artwork for use with the glass cabochons, like the flower fingerprint magnets on Rhythms of Play.
For watercolor geode magnets, kids use watercolors, salt, a gold paint pen, and a round glass magnet kit for a simple art project that looks like crystal geodes. Start by wetting some plain white paper in an area about the size of your magnet. Then add some drops of watercolor. While it’s still wet, sprinkle on some salt, which gives it that textured geode look. Let it dry completely, then brush off the salt and use the gold paint pen to add some detail. Cut out your “geode” and use Mod Podge to affix it to a glass cabochon. Get the full instructions on Crafty Lumberjacks.
This project’s adaptable to varying skill levels. Very young children can fill a cookie cutter with plastic pony beads and have an adult melt them to make a pretty suncatcher like the ones on Sunshine Whispers. Older kids can use the instructions on Happy Hooligans to string the same pony beads or rondelle crystal beads onto twisted wire and hang a prism from the end for an ornament that makes rainbows in the kitchen. And tweens and teens can bead and twist wire into more intricate patterns, like the beaded heart suncatcher on My Bright Ideas.
16. Silk-Screened Pillows
Make Mom some gorgeous pillows using a very doable method for DIY silk screening. Start with an embroidery hoop and stretch some sheer synthetic fabric, such as organza, between the rings. Print your chosen design on paper, and then trace it onto the sheer fabric. Next, paint all the negative space — the area where you don’t want any paint to end up — with Mod Podge. Let it dry. When you’re ready to “print” your fabric, lay the pillow underneath the embroidery hoop and brush the entire thing with screen-printing ink. The Mod Podge keeps paint from seeping through where you don’t want it. Get the full instructions on the Hallmark Channel.
Flower & Garden Gifts
Flowers are the standard Mother’s Day gift. Give them a DIY spin by making them from tissue paper or presenting them in a hand-painted vase. Or help Mom’s garden bloom with a hand-painted flower pot or plant markers.
17. A Flower Vase
If you plan to give Mom flowers this Mother’s Day, present them in a hand-painted flower vase.
Turn a Mason jar into a photo frame vase by affixing a large decorative label, such as a removable vinyl label, and then spray-painting the entire surface of the jar with metallic spray paint. Remove the label to reveal a window for a photo to peek through. Tape the photo inside the jar, then set a small cup of water in the jar to hold the flowers. Get the full instructions on Catch My Party.
Or make a pretty painted vase using gloss enamel paint. Start with a clean, inexpensive glass vase from the dollar store, and then have kids paint any design they choose — from flowers to hearts to thumbprints. Let the vase dry for 48 hours. Place it in a cold oven, and set the temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, prop the door open, and let it cool completely before removing the vase. Baking it makes the design permanent, so it won’t come off when you wash the vase.
18. A Paper Flower Bouquet
Make some flowers that won’t fade away after Mother’s Day. Tutorials for making every type of flower out of tissue paper abound, including those for roses, peonies, and tulips — so you can make Mom’s favorite. They’d be a perfect addition to her hand-painted vase.
19. A Decorated Flower Pot
Another way to ensure flowers outlast the month is to go with a potted plant. Kids can make this an extra-special gift by decorating the pot. Some ideas for all ages include:
- Thumbprint Pots. Anything involving fingerprints or handprints are great crafts to do with little kids. For this one, have them make thumbprints on a pot. Then turn the thumbprints into flowers, bumblebees, and butterflies, as seen on Yesterday on Tuesday.
- Poured Paint Pots. This craft is appropriate for all ages. Start with a basic terra cotta pot, then turn it upside down on top of a sheet of wax paper. Squeeze (or pour) different colored paints around the bottom edge of the pot so it pours down the sides. The paint creates a marbled effect on the pot. Find the full instructions on Edventures.
- Shabby Chic Aluminum Cans. Start with an aluminum can cleaned of its label and all residue. Then use chalk paint in your chosen color to paint each can. Once they’re completely dry, use decorative washi tape and a printed label to finish the look. They’re the perfect size and style for a small plant like miniature roses. Get the full instructions on House by Hoff.
20. A Wind Catcher or Chime
Decorate an outdoorsy mom’s favorite natural space with wind chimes or a wind catcher. Some ideas include:
- Rainbow Wind Chimes. To make a set of colorful wind chimes, have kids collect sticks in various lengths and thicknesses. Strip off all the bark you can by hand, and then sand off the remaining bits of bark with sandpaper or a sanding block. Paint each stick with two coats of acrylic paint in a color of your choice. Seal them with craft varnish or a waterproof sealant, and then twist a screw eye into the top end of each stick. Tie some string to the screw eyes and hang them from a low branch outside. Get the full instructions on Happy Hooligans.
- Seashell Wind Chimes. If you live near a beach, collect some shells and stones with natural holes. Otherwise, pick shells with predrilled holes up from the craft store or Amazon. Make strands for the wind chime using strong beading cotton. Tie on a shell, knot it, and then tie on a few beads of choice — like plastic pony beads. Then tie on more shells. Keep interspersing shells and beads until you have the strand as long as you want it. Once you’ve made several strands of beads and shells, tie them to a driftwood stick. Get the full instructions on Red Ted Art.
- Water Bottle Wind Catchers. Have kids use recycled plastic water bottles and Sharpies to make Earth-friendly art that catches the wind and light. Kids simply color on the bottles, and then a grown-up can cut them so they make spirals. Get the full instructions on Happy Hooligans.
21. Plant Markers
Gardening moms can use helpful kid-made plant markers — especially since Mother’s Day often falls right around the start of planting season. Kids can make gorgeous watercolor plant markers using polymer clay. Roll the clay out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut stakes from the clay, making sure one end has a pointed tip (for piercing the soil). Then use tiny alphabet stamps to stamp the names of the plants on the markers. Bake them according to the package directions. Then use thinned acrylic paints to add a watercolor effect. Get the full instructions on Homemade Ginger.
Or opt for more whimsical DIY gnome garden markers. Have the kids gather up some sticks, and then shave the tops down. A grown-up can use a knife, but younger kids are safer using a vegetable peeler. Paint minimalistic gnome faces on the sticks and write the name of each plant on them with a Sharpie. Get the full instructions on Swallow’s Heart.
Bath & Body Gifts
Most moms could use a little R&R. But spa days can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, show how much you care with some homemade bath and body products — perfect for a DIY spa day at home.
22. Bath Salts
Bath salts are super-easy to make, even for toddlers. Just purchase some coarse sea salt and some Epsom salt, and pour them into a bowl in a 2-to-1 ratio of coarse salt to Epsom salt. Next, add a few drops of a single essential oil or a blend. If desired, you can color the salts with a few drops of food coloring. Little ones can stir the mixture and help pour it into a Mason jar, then decorate it with a pretty ribbon.
According to The Sleep Doctor, seven essential oils that can help people relax include:
23. A Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are also a remarkably easy yet luxurious DIY gift. And just like bath scrubs, you can customize the scent. To make a basic sugar scrub, combine one cup of sugar with one-half cup of softened coconut oil. Add essential oils of your choice, and then stir everything together. Package the scrub in a small Mason jar tied with a ribbon.
24. Bath Bombs or Shower Fizzies
Bath bombs are a little harder than other soaks. But my preschooler loves making these, so little ones can absolutely master them. It does take a bit of adult supervision, though, as getting the mix to the right consistency is crucial to how fizzy they are in the bath.
A basic bath bomb recipe suitable for kids as young as 3 involves mixing just a few simple ingredients: baking soda, cornstarch, Epsom salt, and citric acid. Optionally, kids can choose to add food coloring and essential oils. They spritz the mix with a spray bottle just until wet enough to hold together and then pack it into molds. It dries into a hard cake that keeps the shape of the mold. Find the full instructions on Playdough to Plato.
Older kids can experiment with more complicated recipes, like the shimmering mermaid bath bombs from Soap Queen. These involve coloring finished bath bombs in an ombre effect with pearlescent mica powder. Once they’ve made their bath bombs and they’ve dried completely, kids spritz the bomb with isopropyl alcohol, then rub over its surface the different ocean-inspired colors. Find even more Lush-inspired bath bomb recipes on The Thrifty Kiwi.
And if you’re making these for someone who prefers showers to baths, do them as shower fizzies instead. Just follow the same recipes but make them in a flatter mold, like a baking cup-lined muffin tin or a silicone flower mold, to keep them from rolling around. It provides the same spalike experience sans the prune-inducing soak.
While soap-making can be complex, kids can master simple soap recipes that use melt-and-pour bases like the lavender-lemon soap from A Pumpkin and a Princess. Kids start with a goats milk soap base, add some lavender and lemon essential oils and a small amount of purple food coloring. The result is a soap that smells and looks as good as anything Mom could buy.
Buying soap-making supplies can get pricey, though, especially for a one-time gift. For everything kids need in one place, try a kid-specific soap-making kit like the Craft Lab Gem Stones Soap Making Kit, which lets them make fancy soaps that look like gems.
26. Lotion Bars
Help Mom’s skin stay moisturized with a homemade lotion bar. They’re especially great for problem areas like hands, elbows, or cracked heels. With some adult help, kids can make them as easily as melt-and-pour soap. They just need to melt together a few basic ingredients — including coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax — with some essential oils, pouring them into silicone molds, and letting them harden in the fridge. Find a basic recipe on Gluesticks.
Alternatively, kick it up a notch with something that feels extra-luxurious, like the heart-shaped lotion bars studded with rose petals featured on the Hallmark Channel. Or try the orange-honey lotion bars from Thank Your Body.
27. A Mani-Pedi Kit
Don’t forget about Mom’s fingers and toes. A manicure-pedicure is a classic part of the spa experience. And you can make everything that goes into it yourself.
For example, include:
- Lemony Cuticle Cream. Melt beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil together in a double boiler. Let it cool, and then whisk in a bit of honey, vegetable glycerin, and lemon juice. Package it in a small glass container. Find the full instructions on Humblebee & Me.
- Orange Creamsicle Exfoliating Sugar Scrub. Combine sugar, coconut oil, almond oil, vanilla extract, and orange zest and pour it into a jar. Find the full instructions on Mama Papa Bubba.
- Cracked Heel Cream. Line a slow cooker, and then drop in some coconut oil and shea butter. Add a few drops of essential oils. Peppermint gives Mom’s feet a cooling treat. Or try lavender, which is relaxing, or tea tree, which is antifungal. Heat it on low until everything is melted. Then carefully lift out the liner and pour the cream into a small glass jar. Find the full instructions on Living Well Mom.
28. A Candle
No spa day is complete without candles. A few ideas for kids of all ages include:
- Colorblock Candles. If you’ve got a bunch of broken crayons sitting around the house, gather like colors together and melt them in the microwave along with some soy wax using small paper cups. Then take a glass votive candle holder, which you can pick up from the dollar store, and secure a candle wick inside it. Use a plate stand to keep the votive propped at an angle. Then pour in a small amount of the melted crayon mixture. Let it solidify. Then repeat the microwaving process with a complementary color, tilt the votive in the opposite direction, and repeat. After that layer solidifies, sit the candle upright and fill it to the top with a third color. Get the full instructions on Brit + Co.
- Sand Art Candles. Start with a premade pillar candle, some decorative sand in various colors, and Mod Podge. Apply a thin 1/2- to 1-inch layer of Mod Podge around the bottom of the candle. Don’t make the lines too straight, or they won’t look as interesting. Then cover it with one color of sand. Apply a second strip of glue above that and another layer of sand so that you have a rough approximation of stripes. Keep applying stripes until you’re about halfway up the candle. Once the first layer is dry, coat the sand with more Mod Podge to seal it. Find the full instructions on Club Crafted.
- Art Transfer Candles. You can also transfer kids’ artwork onto a candle. Using colored markers on tissue paper, have them draw a design small enough to fit on the candle. Then cut around the design and lay the tissue paper design side up on the candle. Cover it with wax paper and use a hair dryer to transfer the thin layer of wax from the wax paper onto the tissue paper. Once you’re able to peel off the wax paper without the tissue paper coming off, it’s now become a permanent part of the candle. Get the full instructions on Penny Pinchin’ Mom.
29. A Candleholder
Kids can also recycle household materials like salsa or Mason jars to make candleholders so Mom can light up the bathroom, living room, or patio. Some ideas include:
- Mason Jar Lanterns. Recycle Mason jars into pretty glass lanterns perfect for the patio. Tint white school glue with liquid food coloring. Then paint a clean Mason jar with two to three layers of the glue, letting each layer dry completely between coats. Note the glue is opaque when it goes on but dries translucent. After the final coat dries, decorate it with embellishments like dried, pressed flowers or glitter. Once everything is completely dry, spray it with clear varnish to make them weather-proof. Get the full instructions on Happy Hooligans.
- Striped Salsa Jars. Give recycled salsa jars a glamorous look that fits with Mom’s living room or dining room decor with a layer of metallic gold acrylic paint along with another color. Clean your jars, making sure all the label residue is gone. Then use painter’s tape to mark off the top stripe. Paint several coats of your chosen color. Wait until the paint is completely dry or overnight. Then tape off all but the bottom portion of the jar. Paint several coats of gold metallic paint. Carefully peel off all the tape and, if desired, paint the top portion of the jar with some glamour dust (ultra-fine glitter paint) to add a little extra sparkle. Find the full instructions on Real Creative Real Organized.
- Glitter Votives. Or give Mom’s bathroom a little sparkle by covering glass votive candleholders with a layer of glitter. Choose a colored glitter that coordinates with the bathroom. Paint one or more glass votives with some Mod Podge, then sprinkle it with the glitter. Make sure you do this over a covered work surface and layer on enough glitter to coat the candleholder thoroughly. Finish them by spraying on a coat of clear acrylic sealer.
Reading & Writing Gifts
Make a reading accessory, like a personalized bookmark, for moms who are avid readers. And for the mom who loves to write, journal, or just have a place to jot down thoughts and notes, make a personalized notebook or planner.
30. A Bookmark
A kid-made bookmark is two gifts in one since you can tuck it into a captivating read for Mom to curl up with. Whether you’re an adult or helping little ones with a special surprise, bookmarks are an accessible craft for all ages.
- Photo Strip Bookmark. Conjure nostalgic feelings with a bookmark reminiscent of a photo booth strip. Use a free online app like Canva to add a strip of photos to a bookmark-size template. Then print it on card stock and laminate it to help it last. If you don’t have a laminator, use self-laminating sheets. Alternatively, do a single photo with a special quote underneath it, like the one on Simple as That.
- Hanging From a Rope Bookmark. This playful bookmark involves taking a picture of the child with their hands above their head as though they’re hanging from a rope. Print it on card stock, cut out the photo, and laminate it using a laminator or self-laminating sheets, trimming off the excess lamination. Punch a hole in the top where the child’s hands are. Then string twine, a ribbon, or a tassel through the hole. Get the full instructions on Balancing Home.
- Pressed Flower Bookmark. You can also make an artful pressed flower bookmark. Go on a walk with the kids to collect small wildflowers. Then press them between the pages of a book for three to four days. Once dried, carefully remove the flowers. Cut some card stock into strips the size of bookmarks — generally about 2 inches wide and anywhere from 6 to 8 inches tall — and arrange the flowers on them. Laminate the entire strip and then decorate it with ribbon or twine. Get the full instructions on Buggy and Buddy.
- Watercolor Batik Bookmarks. Adults and kids alike can make Mom some gorgeous watercolor bookmarks using watercolors and watercolor paper. Cut strips from the watercolor paper in bookmark dimensions and have kids draw designs on the paper using a white crayon. Then have them paint over their designs using the watercolors. The color doesn’t adhere to the waxy crayon, so their designs show through the colorful patterns they paint. Get the full instructions on Felt Magnet.
31. A Custom Journal or Daily Planner
A customized journal is a practical gift moms can use for just about anything — from journaling to jotting down quick thoughts and keeping track of the grocery list and daily to-dos. Buy a blank journal or daily planner and have kids paint or draw pictures on the endpaper like they did on Martha Stewart’s website.
Or have kids make fashionable marbled journal covers using paint and shaving cream. Fill a shallow pan with shaving cream and even it out using a spatula. Then squirt small amounts of paint throughout the foam in the colors of your choice. Swirl it around with the spatula. Press a blank sheet of white paper into the foam, then lift straight up. Scrape off the foam using something with a straight edge, like a ruler. Set the paper aside to dry. Once it’s dry, use a small paintbrush to apply some gilding with liquid gold-leaf paint following the marbled pattern. Place a small, A6 size journal on one half of the blank side of the paper and glue the marbled page onto the journal cover so the design side is facing out. Then fold the marbled paper around the notebook and glue down the other side so that the notebook cover is “wrapped” in the marbled page. Trim the excess paper at the spine, and then tuck in and glue down the edges around the rest of the journal. Get the full instructions on Prima.
32. A Memory Book
Moms can read all about their kids’ most cherished memories with a customized memory book. Ask everyone in the family to write down their favorite memories or what Mom means to them in a special journal. For inspiration, start with a free template like the one on Hello, Wonderful, which includes prompts like:
- My favorite memory of Mom is ______.
- My Mom makes me laugh because ______.
- My Mom is the best because ______.
Then have kids draw pictures to go with their writing.
Alternatively, combine their words with photos that represent their special memories and arrange everything together in a photo book. Use a service like Shutterfly to print it.
Jewelry & Accessories
Though moms are typically happy with necklaces made of pasta, kids of all ages can up their DIY jewelry game with a gift that’s both sentimental and stylish.
33. A Glass Pendant Necklace
Glass tile kits allow kids of any age to craft something elegant. They can use Mod Podge to affix a photo or artwork to a glass tile, then glue that into a metal pendant backing. Get a kit complete with glass cabochon, metal backing, and chain from Candytiles Studio on Etsy. Then follow the full instructions included with each kit.
34. A Clay Necklace
Kids can also make Mom a variety of pretty jewelry using polymer or precious metal clay. Some ideas include:
- Crescent Pendants. Roll out some polymer clay and then cut it into half-moon shapes. Poke holes at either end of the crescent so it can hang from a leather cord. Bake the clay according to the package directions, and then string the pendant on the cord. Find the full instructions on Martha Stewart’s website.
- Colorful Beads. Have kids make colorful spherical and cylindrical beads to string onto a necklace. Take several colors of polymer clay and smoosh them together to create a marbled effect. Then take small chunks of clay and roll it into balls or tube shapes. Use toothpicks or wooden skewers to poke holes through them so you can string them on a cord. Then bake the beads according to the package directions. Get the full instructions on Babble Dabble Do.
- Mother-Child Necklace. Kids can also make a heartwarming mother-child necklace featuring a tiny heart for the child to wear cut from a large heart for Mom. Start with some polymer clay and then roll it out just as you would if you were baking cookies. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a pendant. Then use a tiny heart cutter to cut an even smaller heart from that one. Poke a hole in the tiny heart for stringing (the larger heart hangs from where the tiny heart used to be) and bake the clay according to the package directions. Get the full instructions on The Mad House.
- Fingerprint Pendant. For a keepsake Mom’s likely to hang onto forever, an adult helper can form a circle pendent from precious metal clay, then have a little one press their fingerprint onto the pendent. Get the full instructions on A Beautiful Mess.
35. A Beaded Necklace or Bracelet
Beaded jewelry can be simple enough for preschoolers to handle or complex enough to take adults hours of concentrated effort. Even better, the result is as beautiful as the beads you choose.
Kiddos can string a personalized necklace like the ones on Rhythms of Play. And older kids and adults can pick out some elegant metal and stone beads and use Jewelry Making Journal’s tips for high-quality jewelry-making.
36. A Decorated Chunky Bracelet
Wooden chunky bangle bracelets are excellent canvases for kids’ artwork. Have little ones paint them with abstract swirls of color. Once they’re dry, seal them with some Mod Podge, and Mom can wear a beautiful piece of art. Get the full instructions on We Are Scout.
Older kids can handle a more complex image transfer onto the same chunky bracelets. Start by trimming an adult coloring page to about the same width as the bracelet. Then treat the bracelet with wood stain. Set it aside to dry.
Meanwhile, coat your coloring page strip with a layer of matte medium. Let it dry, and then color the strip with crayons or colored pencils. Next, paint over the sections of the design you want to be opaque (the parts you colored) with tinting base or white craft paint. Let it dry. Apply another thin coat of the matte medium to both the decorated side of the coloring page strip and the bangle, then press the strip colored side down firmly onto the bangle, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Set it aside to dry overnight, then wet the paper with a sponge, and carefully remove all the paper. Your colored design stays behind on the bangle. Once you’ve removed all the paper, seal the bracelet with a coat of clear gloss varnish. Get the full instructions on Persia Lou.
37. A Ceramic Jewelry Dish
Moms who work in professional settings can’t wear the types of colorful jewelry little kids tend to make as often as they’d like. But there’s no reason to leave them out of the jewelry gifts altogether. Make a ceramic jewelry dish instead.
Polymer clay is a good medium for younger kids to work with as long as they have some adult help. They can make pretty marbled handprint dishes by layering different colored clays together. First, smoosh together a few different colors. Then roll the clay out flat. Trace the child’s hand onto a sheet of blank paper and cut out the hand. Lay the paper hand template onto the clay and cut around the hand using an X-Acto knife. Place the clay hand into a small, shallow oven-safe bowl, curving the palm and fingers slightly so they form a shallow bowl themselves. Bake the dish inside the oven-safe bowl according to the package directions. Once it’s hardened and cool to the touch, gild the edges using some metallic gold paint or a gold paint pen. Get the full instructions on Rhythms of Play.
Older kids can make a stunning jewelry dish using the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which involves taking broken pottery and mending it with gold mica powder and epoxy. To make a jewelry dish, purchase an inexpensive shallow dish from a thrift store or the dollar store, intentionally break it, and then use the gold mixture to mend it back together. Get the full instructions on the Hallmark Channel.
Everyday Practical Gifts
A DIY gift Mom can use every day is a constant reminder of your thoughtfulness.
38. A Phone Case
Give Mom’s phone case a customized look. Keep it trendy with glitter or marble effects or turn it into a constant reminder of family with a personalized photo case.
- Marbled Phone Case. Start with a clear plastic cellphone case, a large bowl filled with water, and three complementary shades of nail polish. Use each nail polish brush to drip a few drops of polish onto the surface of the water. Spread the colors around with a toothpick or the base of a paintbrush so they create a marbled effect. Hold the phone case so the outside of the case is facing the water and gently press onto the water’s surface. Once the case is covered in nail polish, remove it from the water and lay it down to dry. Get the full instructions on The Spruce Crafts.
- Glitter Phone Case. Cover the outside surface of the phone case with a layer of Mod Podge. Pour glitter in your chosen color over the surface and let sit for two minutes. Tip the case over to allow the excess glitter to fall off the case. Then repeat with more Mod Podge and glitter. Keep repeating until the surface is evenly covered, with no bald spots. Once you’re happy with the coverage, coat the case with a final layer of Mod Podge and let it dry completely. Find the full instructions on Mod Podge Rocks.
- Photo Phone Case. You can also use a print-on-demand service like Shutterfly to upload a photo or kids’ artwork and have it printed on a custom phone case.
39. A Tote Bag
A tote bag is another practical accessory. Mom can fill it with library books, groceries, or gym clothes and even use it as a travel carry-on or casual purse. A few ideas for decorating a tote bag include:
- Freehand Art. Buy a plain white canvas tote bag at any craft store and have kids decorate it with fabric paint. They can do handprints, footprints, thumbprint flowers, or just freehand any design they choose.
- Photo Transfer. Use photo transfer paper to print a design — whether kids’ artwork or a photo — and iron it onto a canvas bag.
- Vinyl Transfer. Use heat transfer letters to spell out a message or fun word like the “Rad Mom” tote bag on Oh Happy Day.
- Ombre Dyed. For a bag that’s functional and fashionable, use a dip-dye technique to create an ombre tote bag. Following the package instructions, fill a bucket with water and Rit fabric dye. Then dip a canvas bag most of the way into the bucket. Every few minutes, move the bag 1 to 2 inches further out of the bucket. When the bag is finished, the portions that spent less time in the dye will be lighter than the rest, creating a beautiful ombre effect. Let it drip-dry into the bucket, then rinse it in the sink and machine-wash and dry it to set the color. Get the full instructions on Hi Sugarplum.
40. A Key Chain
Whether we’re off to work or out on a grocery run, our keys go everywhere we go. So what better place to keep cherished mementos?
A leather keychain photo album is a classy project suitable for tweens and teens or elementary-aged kids with adult help. For this craft, you need a tiny wooden plaque with a cutout for stringing, such as a wood gift tag. You can also use an X-Acto knife to cut a 1/2-inch slit in a tag-size wood plaque. Use Mod Podge to affix a photo to it. Then cut a strip of leather long enough to fold over the plaque, leaving a little bit of overhang in a triangular shape, so you can add a snap to keep it closed. That becomes the “album” cover. Fold it in half and cut a 1/2-inch slit in the crease. Next, cut a leather strip about 1/2-inch wide and long enough to feed through the wood tag and double over and loop around a key ring. Loop the strip through the tag, feed both ends through the slit in the album cover, and loop around a key ring. Then use a metal rivet to fasten the leather strip together and keep the key ring attached. Finally, add a snap to the bottom of the album cover, and use some paint to stencil “Mom” on the front. Get the full instructions on the Hallmark Channel.
Bottle cap keychains are a project more suitable for younger kids and another way to keep photos — or kids’ artwork — close. Use a 1-inch hole punch or cut 1-inch circles around a photo or kid’s art. Then affix an epoxy sticker over the image. Use a dot of super glue to attach the image to a flat bottle cap pendant and slide the pendant onto a key ring. Get the full instructions on Artsy Fartsy Mama.
While the idea of handprint crafts and crayon drawings seems cheesy, Moms treasure these kinds of gifts. And this is especially true on Mother’s Day, when they come from the special people who made us moms in the first place.
Handmade gifts are the best gifts we receive, regardless of the giver’s age. Research supports that. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the pleasure of getting something new declines over time, but the sentimental value is immune to decline. And homemade gifts are a definite way to add sentimental value.
What are your kids planning to make Mom this Mother’s Day?