Make a Mixed-Media Photo Gift for Mom

When it comes to Mother’s Day gifts, I have always most enjoyed the handmade, heartfelt ones: poems, drawings, pinch pots, and the like. Even as my girls have grown into adulthood, I’ve made it clear I prefer something from the heart over something from the mall. (My birthday is a different story).

‘Heart Full of Wisdom’ by Pam Carriker, 8″x10″,
acrylic paint and mixed media on canvas.

Some of my favorite Mother’s Day art projects have involved photos and the simple but oh-so-valuable statement: “I love you, Mom.”

Now that my girls are older and have developed their artistic and literary talents, the handmade art projects have gotten more sophisticated. Instead of simple paper crafts, I get a painting, a comic strip, or a stitched booklet of poetry.

I admit, though, that I am still a sucker for the photo gifts. They bring back memories of times we were together, and I can look back and see how the kids have grown over the years.

If you’re looking to create Mother’s Day gifts for a loved one (or would like to offer a hint to your children), here are three easy ways you can use mixed-media art techniques to incorporate a photo in art, taken from Art at the Speed of Life: Motivation and Inspiration for Making Art Every Day by Pam Carriker:

Print out photos on different types of paper, such as watercolor paper, maps, or pages of text to add instant interest. ~Seth Apter

Create a background painting using acrylic paint, inks, watercolors, or a mixture. Let dry. Then make a photo transfer of the image and apply it to the painted background, adding painted details on top. ~Pam Carriker

Paint over a photocopy. Make an inkjet photocopy of an image with a simple subject and glue it to a substrate. Then use paint or art markers to color in the photo and obscure some of the background. ~Lisa Bebi

A paint-over portrait I made of my daughter Meredith.

I used Lisa’s technique on a photo of my own daughter. It was quick, fun, and I treasure it.

Might I suggest another idea for a wonderful Mother’s Day gift? How about time spent making art with your children, mom, grandmother, or other special female role model? Because isn’t that really what we artsy moms want? Time with our loved ones and time to be creative. (And yes, a pedicure.)

How about presenting your mom with a book full of mixed-media art ideas like Art at the Speed of Life, a cache of art supplies, and a coupon for an art date? That’s a gift I’d love (hint, hint).

P.S. What was your favorite handmade Mother’s Day gift (given or received)? Leave a comment below.


3D Art and Assemblage, Blog, Easy Gifts to Make, Mixed-Media Techniques


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