5 Painting & Paper DIY Projects for Mothers Day

It’s a bit cliché to say Mother’s Day is going to be a bit different this year, but I’ll go ahead and state the obvious.

Mother’s Day is going to be a bit different.

Typically, Mother’s Day for me looks like putting together baskets and small gifts and doing what I call the “tour.” You know what I mean right? Besides seeing my biological mom on the actual Mom’s Day, I visit the other women in my life who’ve been mom figures to me: my paternal grandmother who lives about an hour away, another woman in her eighties who refers to herself (rightfully so) as my “spiritual mom.”

I’d bake lemon bars and package lotion and soaps or something fun and girly like that. I’ll stop by and we’ll visit and sip coffee or iced tea and talk and laugh together.

But not this year.

This year we’ll be doing things a bit differently and I think, though the face to face contact will be missed, it will be no less special.

At least I aim to make it so!

I thought you might want some ideas too, especially if you’re a bit stir crazy and might like some ideas for creating with what is around the home. Since we’re relying on the postal service to get many of our gifts and love on time, punctuality will be important. My goal is to have all my gifts mailed off by mid- week next week to ensure on time delivery.

Note: Most of these projects don’t take more than thirty minutes of actual creating time, but they will need additional time to dry. The collage may take longer, it took me about an hour to create, not counting the dry times (I used a hairdryer to hurry up the drying).

Watercolor Thank-you-Mum Home

One of the traditions I started a few years ago was creating a watercolor “thankful home” (you can find it here on the website. It’s a free course). I paint a themed home, let it dry, then use micron pens to write in what I’m thankful for along the lines: the beams of the home, the trunk of the tree, the branch, the skyline, etc.

I thought I could do the same for Mother’s Day art piece. Below I show one I’ve created for my Grandma. I always like the crisp, clean white line created when we remove the masking tape once the watercolor is dry. This space leaves the ideal spot to write a quote or a heart-felt note to mom, grandma or other nurturing woman in your life.

In the video (shown on YouTube), you can follow along with a few of my ideas for creating a home. You can see the home below is quite small, approximately 4.5 inches x 5 ¼ inches. If they get too big (like the one for my grandmother), they’re not going to fit in the card. Something to keep in mind, if you’re trying to get one in a standard card and avoid the post office.

A Flower Bouquet That Will Never Die

I love buying flowers in person, but my luck with ordering flowers on line has been so-so. Broken vases, wilted flowers, sigh.

Instead of live flowers, I’m resorting to painting floral bouquets this year.

This can be lots of fun because you can pick your mom’s favorite flowers and paint them.

Feels too ambitious?

If you’ve been around my art, you know my secret: I clean up a lot of my watercolors with micron pens. It’s fun and quite forgiving.

Your mom will love the art you’ve made, no matter how old either of you are. In fact, it might strike up some sweet memories of the past if she receives a handmade card or art that you’ve made for her.

What if you clipped out pictures of flowers from magazines and glued them on some cardstock and then wrote your mom a note? That would be fun too!

Quote Card

I’ve talked about quote cards in other places and I keep threatening to create a blog series or at least a decent YouTube video around creating watercolor quote cards

Create a quote card with watercolors.

Or, use scrapbook paper and create a quote card with some of the inspirational words included in the paper. This is what that might look like. I’ve included a quote card I made with scrapbook paper and my own riff on it.

Paper + Gesso Collage with Pictures

There’s something lovely and free about creating a collage. One word of caution: use photos that you’ve printed out on computer paper for this project. It won’t work well with regular pictures. The ink will smear a bit, that’s simply part of the magic of a mom’s day collage.

Gesso will leave an opaque finish. Modpodge will leave a shiny, clear less-smearing finish. I’ve done both and often combine them. I’ll use the modpodge on a few of the top items to create a distinct finish.

Note: Many Walmarts has gesso and modpodge if you don’t have any at home.

Here are a few examples.

There’s no wrong or right way to create a collage. I do like to play with how I’m putting everything on, before I start adhering it down. Often if something doesn’t look quite right, I’ll cover it up or add in a few more things to create a harmonious sensation.

One of these days I’ll write a tutorial on collage. I do have a method, messy as it may be. I’ve include pictures here.

Collage is a great way to use your watercolor pieces you may not know what to do with. Don’t throw out your art. Use them to create layers and layers of lovely collage.

Below is a snapshot of different stages of this year’s collage for my mom.

Small Bookmarks and Photo Cards

Sometimes the best gifts do come in small packages.

This idea is great to use as the gift itself or a very fun packaging beauty-fier. To do this well, you must do several…at least six. The reason is the beauty of these small art cards (I need to think of a name for them) is that we don’t spend too much time on them and we create them in small batches with a certain energy and affectionate spirit.

I do this when I’m creating art to include in select Christmas cards during the holiday season. I think it will work for Mom’s day too.

-Grab a picture online or a magazine or if you have a bouquet of fresh flowers, use them for inspiration.

-Lay out six small pieces of watercolor paper and tape them down.

-Do a brief sketch of the flowers, but keep it light and loose. I’m going to be working on several loose tulip paintings. I don’t worry about getting the details, just the essence of the flowers.  Leave a good portion of the bottom left corner free for a quote or simple, “I love you.”

-Get the paint wet and start moving around all six pieces of watercolor, painting leaves and blossoms, then moving on to the next piece.

-Do about six rounds, then let everything dry.

-Go back in with a micron pen and once again, keep it light. No outlining! Accent curves and shadowing with loose black lines.

-Add some white highlights, once more moving around the six different paintings.

-Finish with one more wash of paint. Add in deep shades of pinks, yellows, greens, blues or purples to create a sense of depth, but keep the strokes loose.

-Leave them blank or write a short quote in the bottom left corner.

Don’t get caught up in details.

The fast movement helps us not be too precious about anything.

You could make these even more fancy by including washi tape around the edges or using a hole punch to make a hole and tie ribbon through. There’s lots of ways to make them fun and fancy.

Some final thoughts on creating for Mother’s Day:

  • Don’t forget to sign/initial your artwork and add the date
  • If you’re including photos, write the dates of the photos on the back. If you’re using the photos in the collage, write the dates on the back of the canvas.
  • Gesso and acrylic paint take a bit of time to dry (much more than watercolor). Let it dry for several hours before packaging to go in the mail.
  • A hairdryer can be helpful in speeding up the drying time between layers.

Things are quite different this year. Perhaps that is even more of a reason to muster up our creativity and love on those women who’ve mothered us in personal, creative, lovely ways.

I hope you and yours have a beautiful time creating with these Mother’s Day painting projects!