Time for a fun Mother’s Day project: this is a card in the shape of a Russian nesting doll, which has become a cherished icon of motherhood all over.

It’s good for Mother’s day, but clearly not limited only to Mother’s day.


This project has something for everyone, but you’ll have some tracing and cutting to do, and a face to make.

Feel free to simplify, use blunt tools, and adapt for smaller artists!


Melissa and Doug

Non-Melissa and Doug:

  • Decoupage Medium/White glue
  • 140 pound student watercolor paper 4-6 sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Print of the template, preferably on heavier paper, or feel free to make your own.
  • Student Watercolor Set (optional)
  • Finer brushes (optional)
  • Wide watercolor brush (gold or white nylon is great, don’t spend a ton)
  • Scratch-art white paper and a stylus (optional)
  • Hole Punch
  • Yarn, string, or ribbon.


The Project:

Step 1: Doodle in crayon on one sheet of the watercolor paper. Create a pattern that repeats or cover the sheet in a detailed doodle – use one or more colors. Have fun. These crayons are really nicely pigment loaded, and fun to use. I did crack a number of them in half, but I tend to get a heavy grip as I work. The case is great for keeping those pieces in one place.


Step 2: Spread watercolor over the page, completely, covering your doodle. Notice how the wax and water don’t mix, and the crayon repels the paint and shines through.

Use one or more colors of watercolor. The Melissa and Doug paint is ideal for small artists, but I like a more intensely pigmented paint and used a student watercolor set of my own for most of this step.


Your patterns don’t have to be complicated. You can make mistakes. It’s OK. Just make a colorful page.


Repeat these steps on another page. You may want to use similar colors to the page you just made – this will be the back of your card.

Notice that you can split a page and make two patterns. You’ll want at least one more page made in this style, for a total of three pages with watercolor and crayon decoration covering them.

Step 3: Print out your template, or make your own. I printed mine onto a heavier paper, a light cardstock. The page prints out at 8.5x11 – so the card is large. You can work smaller, if you want. Cut the template out with scissors.


Step 4: While your pages dry, time to make a face! Don’t be intimidated, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember – you want to make a face that will fit inside the top part of your template!

You can make a scratch-art face.


You can make a complicated face with just the crayons



You can make a simple face, using crayons.


You can make different skin tones  with crayon and watercolor, though the crayons have more options, and the watercolors lack a deep brown.  For dark skin tones, use the crayons, or experiment with mixes of red, yellow, and blue to make brown.


You can paint a face without drawing in crayon. I went back in after it dried and added some detail with a fine watercolor brush.


By the time you experiment and know what face you want to use, your paper is probably dry.

Step 5: Trace and cut out your doll and its back half. Trace around your template and cut along the line. You’ll have a watercolor decorated doll shape which is blank on the back.


Step 6: Trace and cut out a half a doll using the half-and-half paper. You’ll be using the other pattern to make half your doll different – either the upper or lower part.

Glue that second paper into place, and trim any mismatched edges with the scissors.


Cut out and clue the face into place. Things are shaping up!



Step 7:

Look over the stickers and pick some decorations that you can use on your doll. The sticker kits are superb – images are fun, adhesive is solid, but still repositionable if you’re careful. I chose some small round candies for beads and some frosting roses for decorative pink roses. You’ll see a lot of stickers you can completely re-purpose. You can also trim pieces of the papers out of the kits and collage them onto your doll. This is also the time to decorate with some glitter glue – set aside and let it dry.

Repeat this process for the back of the doll that you’ve already decorated, as well.



Step 8:

Use crayons and a watercolor wash to decorate the insides of the card, once your outsides have dried, glitter glue and all.


Choose stickers from the sets, collage scraps cut from the papers, and generally decorate your card insides with text. You don’t have to spell the whole message in stickers, but I chose to go that route.


Step 9:

Punch holes in one side of the card and use your fancy string or ribbon to tie the halves of the card together. (Make the loops loose.) You are finished with this fun, extra-large shaped card for Mom!

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Disclosure: The great folks at Melissa and Doug did provide me with some materials at no charge for this post. All opinions and text are my own, and I am not in an advertising or affiliate relationship with Melissa and Doug.