Mother's Day Gift Guide

Cards and flowers are a lovely gesture, but a handmade project is always a labor of love. Whether you’re the maker of the family and you’re building something for mom, or you’re looking for a project to do together, or mom is the maker and you want to stock her up with supplies, Make:‘s Mother’s Day Guide is loaded with ideas.

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DAILY PICK

Pocket Notebooks

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$8–18

Buy
What can be more relaxing than the sound of a water burbling from a fountain? If you want to go really basic or come up with your own fountain design all you really need is a submersible pump (click "Buy" below to check out an option) and something to hold the water. There's definitely room to get creative. If you want to make something really zen, this fountain project pictured here shows you how to use bamboo and pipes to get a Japanese shishi-odoshi fountain.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

$50–$150

For a knitter or crocheter, nothing is quite so satisfying as getting to wrap your needles in a stunning skein of yarn. There are plenty of people selling hand-dyed wool, but I'm partial to the shop Blissful Knits where the skeins are inspired by James Gleick's Chaos Theory. If you're the one who loves to crochet and you want to make something for your mom, then this mermaid tail is a delight!

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

$25

For the price of a large bouquet of roses, you can get a single rose forged from iron. There are some obvious benefits when you opt for metal flowers instead of going natural: The metal rose will never wilt so your mom will have memento to remind her of you long after Mother's Day.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

$26–$60

Popsicle stick picture frames are a classic gift for Mother's Day (bonus points if there's some macaroni and glitter puff paint involved). However, if you want to go high-tech with this project, all you need to do is turn on your 3D printer. This design from G3DPRINTING certainly says what you need it to say. Customize the design by using more than one filament color or by gluing some magnets to the corner to make it fridge friendly.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

Cost of filament

Helene Fielder is a ceramic artist who uses patterns, animal motifs, textures, and colors to create tableware and sculptures that are whimsical and energetic. On her site she writes, "I want to make pottery that you can use, take lots of joy from and then set it out for display. Usable art in your home is my challenge." While she has a number of plates and mugs to choose from, I think a pitcher makes an especially good choice for Mother's Day since you can fill it up for margaritas or with orange juice for mimosas.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

$12–$850

One alternative to material gifts is to take a class together or treat her to some classes of her own. Physical classes vary a lot depending on the location and your mom's interests (city folk definitely have an advantage here), but if you can take one in person you're in for a fun experience that also supports the local maker teaching it. For online classes, I recommend Craftsy and Lynda. Both offer incredibly well-organized, excellently produced videos. Craftsy focuses on craft skills like baking, knitting, sewing, and painting, and lets you buy individual classes. Lynda, on the other hand, is a membership based and offers classes covering a fairly broad range of software programs, coding, and photography techniques. There are other online options out there, I only mention these two because they're ones I have tried and can vouch for.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Contributor

Prices vary

I like these because you can build your own (size, shape, etc.). The L-Shaped trellis along with the planter box makes a great corner piece in a garden, and in the sun, it’s perfect for basil and green beans — two things I love in a summer salad!

Recommended by Cecily Benzon, Make: employee

$38 for wall mount trellis

If you're into redoing furniture or home decor, these paints are AWESOME. I used it to give my fireplace a makeover from a dark hole with old bricks into a glowing golden centerpiece for my living room (pictured here is the "After" photo). I also upgraded a garage sale-bought table by refinishing its ugly solid wood with the Modern Masters metallic paints. Even though the jars are small, the paint goes a long way.

Recommended by Cecily Benzon, Make: employee

$13 for 6oz

These pinhole cameras are so cool! One of the featured cameras is in a can of SPAM. How can you resist a SPAMera? You can't. Or anyway, I can't.

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$14

Make: Paper Inventions. I know, I know, full disclosure: this is a Make: book so I already have it and am basically paid to like it. But it's really good, and full of cheap and interesting fun. I haven't had time to do the projects, but a Mother's Day Sunday seems like a good time to start.

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$14

Not making-related per se but if you want to relax after a fun day of making, this thing is awesome. I got it last year and it made for a great summer. No tree required, and you could even use it indoors if you have the space.

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$65

You can never have too many pocket notebooks. These are a great price and good quality. I like that they're thinly lined and the perfect size for stuffing in the back pocket of your jeans. Handy for scribbling down that million-dollar idea before you forget it or for capturing life's innumerable lists. Also, just add a crayon and keep kids busy for five minutes. Ok, maybe three minutes. Depends on the kid.

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$8–18

There are tons of ideas out there for DIY herb gardens. I really like the idea of hanging the jars on a wooden board like this, with just some mason jars, pipe clamps, and a wooden board. It's simple, functional, and rustic looking. You can check out the DIY project on Camille Styles' blog, and then hit the Buy button below to grab a 12-pack of mason jars.

Recommended by Cecily Benzon, Make: employee

$13 for 12-pack of mason jars

If you’re a home brewer in Sonoma County, California, you are very familiar with The Beverage People and their home brewing supplies. I’m pretty partial to anything IPA. But what might surprise you is they also have a great Cheese Making Kit ideal for any mom on Mother’s Day. If you plan ahead, buy 2, one to wrap as a gift, the other to make and serve for brunch.

Recommended by Mara Lincoln, Make: employee, mother of two teen boys

$19.95

Upscale popscycle maker makes healthy treats for moms and kids. Everyone wins!

Recommended by Emily McGrath Make: employee, mother of two boys

$39.99

These inkjet printable iron-on transfers are easy to use and incredibly handy for making custom gifts like this picture tote bag. Simply print a photo of a loved one or a personal message onto the transfer, then cut it out, peel off the backing and iron it on to a t-shirt, apron, jacket, or any other fabric item for a homemade one-of-a-kind gift.

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$9.48

A “helping hand” stand is an invaluable tool for holding small components and wires when soldering. As some of us older more experienced makers know, a steady grip is not the only challenge when working with small parts. Simply seeing the pieces clearly and reading the tiny text on PCBs gets progressively harder with age experience. This clever stand addresses that issue by illuminating the work area with bright LED lights, so you can view your work clearly through the attached 2x/4x bifocal magnifier. The attached soldering iron holder and sponge pad make this a practical gift for makers of ANY age.

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$65.90

I’m not much of a mommy necklace kind of gal. The closest I came was vintage typewriter keys with my kids initials, until I found Fiore Jewellery on Etsy. Now this is a mommy necklace I can sport. You can send an audio file to the maker and she will hand-forge it for you into a custom pendant. Boy I wish I had recorded the “MOM” my kids screamed in the middle of the night when they were little. Now that would be my necklace!

Recommended by Mara Lincoln, Make: employee, mother of two teen boys

$49.32

These are traditional handcraft projects for moms who set the rules.

Recommended by Emily McGrath Make: employee, mother of two boys

$14.60

Spend mother's day making a craft project as a family. The end result is a sweet memory that will enhance mom's garden and bring a smile to her face for years to come.

Recommended by Emily McGrath Make: employee, mother of two boys

$9.09

It took me a long time and many odd looking (but tasty) cookies to figure out that the secret to making professional-looking iced cookies and cupcakes is to apply the decorative icing with squeeze bottles. This set by Kuhn Rikon makes the task even easier by including both standard-sized squeeze bottles and smaller collapsible ones with interchangeable tips. Finally, decorating baked goods can be as satisfying as eating them!

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$23.99

Whether you are four or 64, there's nothing better than a handwritten note to tell your mother how much she means to you, and this is a priceless gift that costs nearly nothing. No matter what presents you decide to shower upon she-who-brought-you-life-itself, top it off with a pop-up card. One design that Maker Mom extraordinaire Julie Hudy recently sent around is this clever rainbow waterfall hack. Bonus: lots of surfaces on which to say “I love you” in a dozen different ways.

Recommended by Michelle Hlubinka, Make: Contributor and maker mom

Price of colored construction paper

I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional cards, but this tutorial allows the card to be a fun gift in itself. You can add a personal photo to share your favorite memories or even create a unique work of art. I particularly like the picture frame option of this card tutorial — you'll be able to create and enjoy a gift that will have your mom light up just like the card!

Recommended by Paloma Fautley, Make: Contributor

Price of copper tape/battery

I came across Rebel Nell’s jewelry in Bazaar Bizarre at Maker Faire a few years ago. While Rebel Nell’s primary goal is to employ the women of Detroit, they also harvest (clean up) a unique local resource: layers of graffiti paint artfully applied to the surfaces of their city over decades. Rebel Nell artisans chip off and shape the layered paint flakes into truly unique pendants, rings, earrings, and other accessories. Read more and watch a video about them in their Maker Faire entry.

Recommended by Michelle Hlubinka, Make: Contributor and maker mom

Earrings start at $40

Your heart has spent so much time close to hers, whether in utero or just on her lap. Give Mom a token of your affection with an anatomically inspired artful heart she can wear on her sleeve — or lapel or wherever suits her best. The creator of these hearts is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Sarah Vanphravong grew up making, the daughter of culinary whizzes who ran one of the few Thai restaurants in that part of Wisconsin. Now, Sarah avidly acquires new skills, diving deep one weekend a month to master everything from ceramics to woodworking, oil painting to knitting, mold making to hand embroidering — whatever tickles her fancy. Nerd moms will love Sarah's abstract designs that look nothing like a valentine, but beat with love.

Recommended by Michelle Hlubinka, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$12

The STMT DIY Simply Charming Jewelry is a wonderful way to give mom some glam that she can be proud of. Kids can help put together beautiful combinations tailored just for your mom with this wonderful kit. All materials are included to make a variety of jewelry. Moms can make their own designs with this jewelry kit and put together color combinations that perfectly match their wardrobe.

Recommended by Annie Jones, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$16.99

A pair of Jewelbot programmable friendship bracelets make for an engaging mother-daughter project. Ideal for beginners, this wearable technology kit provides a fun and well-documented introduction to using the Arduino development environment. Follow the examples to write simple programs to make the bracelets light up, vibrate, or beep. Different Jewelbots can be paired together and made to interact with each other via Bluetooth. An online forum offers ideas and a built-in community for Jewelbot programmers.

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$69 for one, $99 for a two-pack

The Eggbot is a classic! It’s a creative plotter that helps you to customize any round object, not just eggs. Add fun designs to ping pong balls, light bulbs, or even a small pumpkin. The Pro version offers faster setup and is super easy to use.

Recommended by Emily Coker, Make: Contributor

$325

This unique clutch purse will turn heads when mom carries it with her on a well-deserved evening out. A smartphone app can set the colorful 32x16 LED display to show scrolling text, mesmerizing patterns, or animated pixel art. This creative accessory brightens any occasion, allowing you to coordinate the display with your clothing or change it up to match your mood. The built-in battery can even double as a cell-phone charger if you leave the house without a full charge.

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$599 list, but $450 to pre-order for June

Hack your kitchen with this Arduino-powered kit that turns a basic rice cooker into a high precision, temperature controlled sous-vide cooking machine. This project requires soldering and Arduino programming, but the detailed tutorial provides clear instructions and all necessary source code. Following the instructions closely will teach you to read and write to the Arduino EEPROM and how to program PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) feedback control. Best of all, the final result lets you sous-vide your way to reliably consistent and perfectly cooked meals every time.

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$99, rice cooker not included

One constant challenge for makers is storing and organizing a multitude of components and tools. Each new project inevitably begins with a hunt for usable parts left over from past builds. Using a label maker like the Brother P-Touch PT-D210A to tag your bins and boxes creates a neater, more orderly workspace and shortens the search for that specific LED or the right size metric screw. After all, less time spent searching means more time left for making!

Recommended by Debra Ansell, Make: Contributor and maker mom

$22.99

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