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Okay, moms: AVERT YOUR EYES. Or just leave this page open on the computer.

So it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and you were meaning to find time to gather the kids and make a beautiful and meaningful present, right? There’s still time.

Here are three practical DIY gifts that everyone in the family can collaborate on for mom. We list them here in order of ease/speed of achievement.

1. Washi Tape iPhone Case

Washi tape is very strong tape made from natural fibres such as hemp, or the bark of Japanese trees like the gampi tree or mitsumata.

In Toronto lately it’s started popping up in gift shops, or check out the selection at The Paper PlaceHanji or Midoco. Order washi tape online from Toronto-based Omiyage.

For this project you need a few rolls of washi tape in colours that work well together and a plain phone case (find an inexpensive case at the Pacific Mall or in one of the shops in Chinatown on Dundas just east of Spadina).
A fine-pointed x-acto knife from an art store can be used to cut the holes for the camera lens and buttons, but you can wing it with a pair of nail scissors.

There are several tutorials online if you require step-by-step instructions to follow (this is a nicely-written one) but basically, it’s this:

1. Lay strips of washi tape across the phone case, leaving enough to wrap securely over the edge. You can line up all the tape carefully as most of the tutorials recommend — or go freeform as Jessie from A Tiny House did above. 2. Cut away the excess tape with an x-acto knife or scissors.

If you have the time or inclination for this step: 3. seal the case with a coat of gel medium, mod podge or even clear nail polish. Done in an afternoon!

2. Monogram Mugs

This is a fantastic idea from Gabrielle over at Design Mom. You will need to start a day ahead so the mugs can sit for 24 hours after they’ve been decorated.

For this craft you need a plain white porcelain mug, transfer paper (carbon paper or the kind used for sewing patterns works fine) and a black Pebeo Porcelaine Pen (which you can find at Curry’s, Michael’s or any art supply store; you can also use the Sharpie paint pen for use on porcelain).

1. Print out or draw your monogram on a piece of paper, and transfer to the mug surface. Being careful to get a good flow going from the Pebeo pen or Sharpie pen (keep blotting paper handy) outline and fill in the letter. 2. Let sit for 24 hours. 

3. Bake the mug in the oven to set the ink – follow the instructions on the pen, but 30 minutes at 300 degrees does the trick. BE CAREFUL AND HAVE YOUR GROWN-UP CAREFULLY REMOVE MUGS FROM THE OVEN. Better make at least two, just in case.

The plain letters above look fine, but to get more creative ideas do a quick search for “Monogram Mugs” (oh look, I did it for you) and find some other DIY mug decoration ideas. I like this idea of decorating with a line from a song she likes.

I think the mug would look fabulous presented with a hot cup of coffee inside, served up Sunday morning!

3. Toy Truck Printed Scarf

My kid did a craft like this at Playschool on just regular paper, so I know it’s possible to produce a beautiful work of art with a two-year-old, a toy truck, and some paint.

In any case, all materials required are fairly cheap, so why not experiment? Danielle Reiner and Andrea Folsom adapted this technique to make a scarf on a guest post for Rhythm of the Home, a blog for Waldorf and Montessori-inspired education.

As you can see from the photo, the gritter and more textured the toy truck tires, the more complex pattern you will produce.

1. First, you need to cover your kitchen floor with newsprint or kraft paper. Tape it down with masking tape. You need 1-2 colours of fabric paint and a piece of cotton jersey in a light colour, of a width 8-20 inches and about 40-60 inches in length. Conversely, you could choose light-coloured fabric paint on a darker piece of fabric.

2. Lay out the jersey fabric and tape it down, pulling it taut. 3. Pour a small dollop of fabric paint onto a strong paper plate.
4. Get out the toy cars and trucks you’ve all selected. Get down on the floor with your kids and drive around! 5. Once dry, follow the fabric paint instructions to heat-set the scarf. Usually it involves ironing it (use scrap fabric to protect the iron) or throwing it in the dryer.
The great thing about jersey is that it requires no hemming!
Senior editor Helen Spitzer just got all her daughter’s craft projects organized and then her son was born.


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