Treat your Mum to a handmade gift on Mother’s Day

This year Mother’s Day is going to be different again under Covid 19 restrictions. We have had nearly a year in and out of lockdowns and just popping to the shop isn’t always an option.

So our choices have mainly gone to online shopping and with time on our hands and ReUsing being in the forefront of our minds it’s the perfect time to get creative, have a rummage through your household waste ( well not literally!)

I’m hoping this blog will get you inspired and realise that buying new isn’t always best. So I’ve put together a few gift ideas that I think any Mum would be chuffed to receive and will love the fact that they are very personal too.

Things you will need to make for most of these gifts:

A cardboard box, Craft Knife, Glue gun, Drawing Inks or water colours, Small bull dog clips or paper clips to hold pages together, Scissors, Cutting Board, Emery board or sandpaper to smooth edges, Smoothing stick ( lolly pop stick), Ruler ( metal if you are cutting with a craft knife), Thread and needle, Skewer to make holes, Pencil, Duck tape or any strong tape, Diluted PVA Glue, Fabric Tac Glue.

Decorative papers, squared paper, artist’s cartridge paper, parchment paper, serviettes, wrapping papers, wallpaper scraps

Scrap fabrics, possible cloth remnants, ribbons, parcel labels old book pages. Alongside these if you have collected any personal memories you can incorporate these creatively

1 – Simple ReUse Memory Journal

What is a Memory Treasure Journal? Wouldn’t it be lovely for your Mum to pick up a Handmade Treasure Journal Book that you have made for her?  Brimming with memories you may have shared possibly through a particular time or throughout Lockdown?

A keepsake you can either add to or just reflect on your very special memories or just keep it empty for her to use as she will….Here is a journal anyone can make using an old cereal box…Yes!  (any box you choose the size)

Inside your Journal

Firstly, cut the box so you have more of a book shape using either a craft knife or scissors. You can make the book any size so just have a play and see what suits you.

Secondly we want to cover the box ( this is going to be your Journal cover. I’ve chosen some vintage dress fabric ( As you can imagine I have a huge collection from my many years of designing!

But any interesting fabric works….It could be a a favourite top that is out grown or a sentimental pass down, best if it’s not too thick though as it has to bend around the card.

Apply the clear glue to the outside of the box and spread using a spatula, making special care to cover the very edges ( less is more though! As too much glue will mean the glue will come through the fabric).

Smooth the fabric down with your hands until it sits flat. Turn over the card and apply a small amount of glue to the inside of the cover and turn over the edges. Press the corners flat to get a neat edge.

Next cut out some paper to cover the inside of the cover but leave the spine free. Check you can open and close the book before sticking.

Now using some heavy duty tape reinforce the spine cutting the tape a little shorter so it can’t be seen from the outside of the book.

Now its time to make our pages. You should choose a size that fits well in your book. This journal has what we call 3 signatures inside. (each signature is a small book consististing of 7 pages of mixed papers).

By clipping you papers together you can start to image how each signature is going to look. Cut all the pages to the same size and firmly fold them in the centre.

I mixed various papers to create an interesting mix and using different mediums. These are just a few ways to fill your journal, To learn more techniques in making these beautiful journals why not come along to our workshop ReUse Memory Journals

To measure where you need your holes place the signatures next to the cover. Mark where you need to make your holes. Once you have done all three begin at the back of the book and start to attach the signatures.

Using some thread and a needle come through the middle hole towards the back then come back through the top to the inside, then you take the thread through the bottom hole and come back through the middle again. Tie to secure.

2 – Hand made ReUse Gift Card

I’ve always been one of those people who like to keep old birthday and anniversary cards, some are just so beautiful I just couldn’t bring myself to throwing them away!

But keeping them just wasn’t enough! I’m so pleased in Lockdown that I’ve found a creative way to use them….the fascination of making my memory journals lead me to using them in a similar way.

By adding different papers and mediums, tearing the edged and adding pockets can make a simple card into something much more beautiful. You could add ribbons, beads and lace too. Another way to personalise and reuse.

3 – Memory Shopping Notebook

How beautifully simple is this? This shopping notebook has been decoupaged with a napkin and inside I’ve used some random artwork that I’ve kept…(I am lucky to have a very creative son who loved painting, printing and drawing!).

Everyone knows that once any artwork has been viewed it can’t be thrown out and heads its way up to the loft! Something I really don’t like doing…

So here, alongside the journal (as artwork could be a great use for interesting pages) is my idea of a very special notebook made by using an everyday cardboard folder!

Cut a piece off the folder and make it slightly bigger than your notebook or if choosing your own cardboard make a fold to get the spine.

Choose a paper to cover the outside. Brush on the watered down PVA and lay the napkin on top, smooth gently with your fingers and fold the edges round the card to the inside.

Lay the internal covering down on the inside of your notebook. Choose their positions and glue separately in position and then completely cover with the PVA.

Repeat another layer of PVA over the whole notebook to seal.

Position the holes on the cover to correspond with the notebook and tie into position.

Using a skewer carefully push through minding your fingers, You can use eyelets here to give a real finish …you choose!

4 – Paper mache, Floral decoupaged, ReUsed Packaging ‘Mum’ Cardboard letters

Create a special gift for your mum by making your own unique cardboard letters. They can be wall mounted or sit perfectly on a shelf of mantle piece.

By ReUsing parcel cardboard They can be covered in fabric or decorative papers or even left open and adding a flower display. You could even add some battery lights into them so they can make the perfect ambient light on Mother’s Day.

If you don’t feel confident to make the letters then they can be purchased easily online.

Start by drawing your letter shapes roughly so you get some idea of scale. I made ours  24cm high by  19.5cm wide by 5cm deep.

Once you’ve got your rough shapes use some squared paper to measure out your letters. When you are happy cut them out and trace onto card. Also cut out the strips of card used to make your depth.

Glue the uprights on using  a glue gun or you could tape them together from the inside. Then with an emery board or sanding block soften the cardboard edges to the letters.

Decide what covering you are using. I found the fabric a little more fiddly and preferred using papers in the end. But its good to experiment!

First draw around the letter on the paper and cut out a rough shape bigger than your outline, then apply glue to the letter front and smooth the paper on.

Fold the paper over and snip where needed to make it fit as neatly as possible. Repeat on the other side.

Next cut strips in contrasting colours to cover the depth of your letters. You will need to fold the edges over and glue down then apply them to the letters. Have fun!

I found the brighter the colour mix the more effective the letters look!

5 – Giant Paper Mache Angel wings

Now you’ve experimented with paper the options are endless! By using paper mache and paper craft we can make all kinds of creations.

With Covid 19 restrictions being relaxed after the 12th April 2021 (Fingers crossed!) why not try our group face to face workshops and mix with like minded people.

Treat your Mum to a space on our next Paper Mache Workshop in Colchester, Essex.


Sarah Ashby-Bassett
Sarah Ashby-Bassett

They call me crazy! Maybe?? A Riot of eclectic, colourful pattern, bling and embellishment inspired by vintage fashion and historical design. Looking for a statement piece? We invite commissions, sell online and offer "How To" Workshops.