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Mother’s Day Wooden Gift Tags

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Mother's Day Wooden Gift Tags sitting in a wooden bowl

If you want to add something playful to your gift for Mother’s Day, these Mother’s Day wooden gift tags might be just what you’re looking for! This project uses an inkjet printer and a napkin that is then decoupaged onto the wood. Because I love to share, you can also download the Mother’s Day sayings for free!

I’m Lisa from The Old Tree Cottage. I definitely get my sense of humour from my mom, so it’s no surprise I am drawn to fun Mother’s Day gift ideas. For this project, I came up with a different way to decoupage from my other gift tag tutorial.

Supplies for the gift tags

I use Lath for the wooden tags because it’s the same width as a 1×2 board but half as thick. It’s also what I use for the base of my trays and boxes. You can find Lath at a building supply store or substitute with a 1×2.

Lath & 1x2 comparison

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link.

  • Lath or 1×2 (amount depends on how many you’re making). My Mother’s Day wooden gift tags are 3 1/2″ long.
  • 2 tsp of black paint (any kind) to make a black water wash
  • White Chalk paint. I used a homemade version.
  • Old candle (part of the distressing technique)
  • White Napkin (separated so it’s only one ply)
  • Clear spray in a satin or matte finish (to set the ink).
  • Iron for smoothing out the napkin before printing
  • Computer paper
  • Spray glue or two-sided tape
  • Inkjet printer
  • Twine & a wooden bead
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Mitre saw, or mitre box with a hand saw to cut the wood
  • Drill & 1/4″ drill bit

1. Cut the wood & then paint on the black water wash

The black wash is the perfect base layer when making rustic decor because the wood looks like it’s aged from being exposed to the air. The photo below shows the holes drilled at this point when actually the holes will get drilled closer to the end of the project. I had changed my mind but not the photo!

Adding black water wash to the gift tags
Before & after painting on the black water wash
  1. Cut the wood into 3 1/2″ lengths.
  2. Lightly sand the wood. You don’t want to lose all of the texture by over-sanding.
  3. Prepare the black water wash by adding 2 tsp of black paint to 1 cup of water and mix well. Tip: if you’re making a bunch of Mother’s Day wooden gift tags, a great way to speed up this process is to mix the black water wash in a container large enough to place several tags at once instead of painting them all by hand.
  4. Let them dry before going on to the next step.

2. Wax, paint and then distress the wooden gift tags

  1. Take an old candle and rub it around the top edges of the wood.
  2. You’ll likely need two coats of white paint for the next step. If you want, apply the second coat of paint when the first coat is partially dried, then let it all sit until the paint is good and dry.
  3. When the paint has dried, take 150-grit sandpaper and sand along the edges to give the wooden tags a distressed look.

3. Print the graphics

Separating the layers of a paper napkin
Separate the layers of the napkin.

Now that the wood is ready to go, it’s time to get the graphics ready for the Mother’s Day wooden gift tags. If you haven’t already downloaded the graphics, here is the page for free graphics for this project. Assuming you’re using an inkjet printer as I did, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Take a napkin and remove the layers so you have just the white bottom layer.
  2. Cover the napkin with parchment paper and then iron the napkin to remove as many creases and wrinkles as possible.
  3. To attach the napkin to the computer paper, I like adding a very light coat of spray glue to one side of the computer paper, but you could also use two-sided tape around the outside edges.
  4. Smooth the napkin onto the glued computer paper and cut flush with the edges of the paper.
  5. Print the graphics onto the napkin side.

4. Sealing the ink

When using an inkjet printer, it’s important that the ink is dry and sealed before gluing it down onto the wood.

Clear spray helps seal the ink on the napkin when printed using an inkjet printer.
The napkin will look translucent after the spray.
  1. You can either stick the graphic with the computer paper still attached into a 200-degree oven for ten minutes or cover it with parchment paper and iron it to speed up the drying time.
  2. In a well-ventilated area (or outside), spray the graphic with a Clear spray to saturate the napkin. Don’t remove the computer paper because it will help keep the napkin in place as it gets dried. Note: It will probably look blotchy with the paper backing still attached.
  3. You can let it dry naturally or use a heat gun or hair dryer to dry it.
  4. Trim the graphics using the cutting marks on the paper. You can then remove the paper backing if it’s still attached.

5. Attach the Mother’s Day graphic using Mod Podge

Make sure you use a thin, even coat of Mod Podge in order to adhere the graphic to the wooden tag. Too much glue will cause wrinkles and bubbles.

  1. Apply a thin, even coat of Mod Podge over the wooden tag.
  2. Carefully place the graphic onto the glue and press (don’t rub) with your fingers to help it stick.
  3. Place some parchment paper over the image and rub your hand over it to help smooth it out.
  4. After a few minutes, I like to put the parchment paper back on and run a hot, dry iron over the image to help bond everything together.
  5. Once the glue has dried, take some sandpaper and rub the edges of the graphic, sanding towards the outside of the wooden tag, not the inside.

6. Drill a hole in the gift tag, and add a string and a bead.

Mother's Day wooden gift tags diy

It’s up to you where you put the hole for the string. I chose to put mine in the centre, a little bit from the top. Tip: If you put a block of wood under the tag before you drill, you’re less likely to get splintering.

  1. Mark where you’d like the hole.
  2. Using a drill and a 1/4″ drill bit, drill the hole in the Mother’s Day wooden tag.
  3. Cut the string 20″ long.
  4. Double it over and thread through the hole.
  5. Add a wooden bead. (optional)
And that’s it. You’re done!

I hope you enjoyed making these as much as I did! For more ideas, check out more tutorials from The Old Tree Cottage.

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