An Exploding Gift Box: The Ultimate Mother’s Day Craft Idea

Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Mother’s Day is just around the corner…and so begins the search for a unique Mother’s Day craft activity that your students can create for their mums or someone who is special to them. It’s always difficult to find a Mother’s Day craft idea that is different and allows your students to add their own touches. Until now…

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Introducing the Mother’s Day Exploding Gift Box!

Don’t be scared, I have a simple plan for how you can easily do this in your classroom with students of most ages!

How to Make a Mother’s Day Exploding Gift Box

Firstly, you’ll need to download and print out our Mother’s Day Decorative Square Templates.

This printable template includes a variety of plain frames and sentence starters. Students can pick and choose which they want, depending on if they are giving this to their mum or another special person in their lives.

Mother's Day Decorative Square Templates for Craft

How Long Does it Take?

To build up this surprise box there are three different levels.

You can get your students to measure, cut and decorate one layer a day. That way it doesn’t end up taking too long to create the box from scratch!

STEP 1: The First Layer

To create the first layer:

  • cut out a square that measures 30cm x 30cm
  • using a ruler, divide the larger square to create a grid with smaller squares measuring 10cm x 10cm.
  • cut out each corner square to create a plus sign (like the image below)
  • decorate each of the squares excluding the middle square.

We used a book of scrapbooking paper for the first layer, you could also get your students to use stickers to add some extra detail to this first layer.

STEP 2: The Second Layer

For the second layer, we have added a bit more detail.

Measurements for the second layer are:

  • 27cm x 27cm for the large square
  • 9cm x 9cm for the smaller squares.

We have also created a mini Mother’s Day coupon book that could be added to this layer in a little mini envelope!

Download our printable Mother’s Day coupon book on coloured paper or have your students colour in the pattern.

We glued scrapbooking paper on each square first and then our Mother’s Day Decorative Square Templates. This creates a really fun, decorative effect!

Mother's Day Coupon Book

STEP 3: The Third Layer

For the third layer, we used two strips of paper rather than a square piece of paper. (This is also an alternative to using large square pieces of card for each layer!)

To create the third layer,

  • cut two strips of paper measuring 8cm x 24cm
  • use a ruler to divide each strip into three 8cm x 8cm squares
  • glue together the middle square of each strip.

This creates the smallest plus sign for the final layer of this fun project.

As this is the top layer you will need something in the middle square – you can even add some height to this one as it will be the middle of the box!

STEP 4: Constructing the Box

Now that you have three completed plus sign shaped layers, it’s time to stick them all together! Make sure the decorative side is facing up. You may like to check out the video below for extra support in explaing this step.

  1. Place the first (largest) layer face up on the table and fold up the outside squares.
  2. Stick strips of double-sided tape around the edges of the centre square.
  3. Place the centre square of the second (middle) layer on top of the double-sided tape, ensuring the strips line up (so it still resembles a plus sign).
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the next layer until the box has been built!

STEP 5: The Exploding Gift Box Lid

To ensure that the all mums or special people get a lovely surprise upon opening this surprise gift. A lid needs to be made. We’re almost there…

  • Cut a square piece of paper that is 20.5cm x 20.5cm.
  • Using a ruler, divide the square into a grid with the middle square measuring 10.25cm x 10.25cm.
  • Cut along the ruled lines, from the edges of the paper to the corners of the middle square. You only need to cut one line for each corner. Use the video above as a reference for which lines to cut.
  • Fold all of the ruled lines.
  • Put glue on the smaller square ‘tabs’ created by the cuts and folds.
  • Tuck the tabs into the long, rectangle sides of the lid.
  • Decorate!

Tips for Younger Students

For younger grades, you may like to have each layer already measured and cut, so all they have to do is decorate how they want.

Older students could absolutely follow the steps for each layer and do the whole craft activity.

For more awesome Mother’s Day craft ideas check out our Mother’s Day Teaching Resource collection.

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Comments & feedback

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This was incredible. the kids had a great deal of fun making them for mum.

KIRA BELL · May 5th, 2021

Trish (Teach Starter)

That’s so good to hear, Kira! Hope Mum loves it just as much!

Trish (Teach Starter) · May 6th, 2021

Claire Dall

I absolutely loved this. I used the syeps to complete the Father’s Day edition and it looks stunning!

Claire Dall · Sep 12th, 2020

Paul (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your comment, Claire! We’re glad you liked it!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Sep 14th, 2020

Kim Fyson


Kim Fyson · Sep 2nd, 2020


Thanks Kim!

Janeen · Sep 2nd, 2020

Malalai Khan

Wow I Love love love this idea! You guys are craft geniuses!

Malalai Khan · Aug 31st, 2020

Paul (Teach Starter)

Thanks, Malalai! We had a lot of fun making it! Enjoy!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Aug 31st, 2020

Malalai Khan


Malalai Khan · Aug 31st, 2020

Simon Berndt

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea. Great job guys

Simon Berndt · May 9th, 2020

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your kind words, Simon!

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 11th, 2020

Peta Wheeler


Peta Wheeler · May 8th, 2020

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks Peta!

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 11th, 2020

Peta Wheeler

my students online all loved it

Peta Wheeler · May 8th, 2020

Tom (Teach Starter)

Hi Peta,

It is so great to hear that your students enjoyed this craft activity! Thanks for letting us know!

Tom (Teach Starter) · May 8th, 2020

Dakota Brown

ALL the students said they loved it

Dakota Brown · May 8th, 2020

Tom (Teach Starter)

Hi Dakota,

Thank you for your feedback! I am sure a lot of mums will get a big surprise this Sunday!

Tom (Teach Starter) · May 8th, 2020

Lorraine Watson

Awesome resource! Mums would definitely love it!

Lorraine Watson · May 8th, 2020

Tom (Teach Starter)

Hi Lorraine,

They will be bursting with excitement when they open the box! Thanks for the lovely feedback!

Tom (Teach Starter) · May 8th, 2020

Lorraine Watson

I have just had a mixed ability class with students from Year 2 to Year 5 and each has made an explosion Mother’s Day Box! They all enjoyed it so much and are very excited to take home for mum on Sunday. Thanks so much for this fantastic resource. I can see other uses as well!

Lorraine Watson · May 8th, 2020

Anusha Singh

I am trying to create a template so we my class can just cut out the sections easily. What size paper do you suggest people use? the a3 paper is 29.5 in width so I am struggling to work out what to use to make layer 1 and the box cover as well.

Anusha Singh · May 5th, 2020

Tom (Teach Starter)

Hi Anusha,

Large pieces of coloured card found at newsagents would be ideal, but paper should work too!
Reducing each layer’s dimensions by 3 cm would still create a fantastic Exploding Gift Box.
This would allow the first layer to fit on an A3 page. The dimensions would be as follows.
Layer 1: 27 cm square with 9 cm smaller squares.
Layer 2: 24 cm square with 8 cm smaller squares.
Layer 3: 21 cm square with 7 cm smaller squares.
Lid: 17.5 cm square with the center square measuring 9.25 cm × 9.25 cm.
I hope that helps! If we can assist with anything else please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Tom (Teach Starter) · May 8th, 2020

Daniele Ferreira

THIS IS AWESOME! my mum will love it! thank you so much!

Daniele Ferreira · May 4th, 2020

Paul (Teach Starter)

Hi Daniele,

Thank you for your lovely comment!

Paul (Teach Starter) · May 4th, 2020


Hello. Are you able to make some patterned squares that I can print and use as backing squares instead of using scrapbooking paper? It is easier for young students to simply cut out a ready made set of squares. Thanking you!

Melinda · Apr 30th, 2020

Gry Powers

Melinda – I tagged you further down the scroll – they have them already 🙂

Gry Powers · May 4th, 2020


Hi Gry, Thank you but I meant just the decorative backing paper, not the ones that say Happy Mother’s Day.

Melinda · May 4th, 2020


What an amazing resource! The video breaks the task down well and the instructions are user friendly for children to follow.

Jan · May 9th, 2019

Royce (Teach Starter)

Hey Jan, thank you for your lovely feedback. I hope your students enjoy doing this.

Royce (Teach Starter) · May 10th, 2019

Neve Pateras

it is beautiful and it turned out great

Neve Pateras · May 8th, 2019

Royce (Teach Starter)

Hey Neve, thank you for your lovely feedback. It is great to hear this resource worked out well for your class.

Royce (Teach Starter) · May 9th, 2019

Galina Overell

Any chance you could you make a birthday template too? Love this idea, thanks!

Galina Overell · May 6th, 2019

Royce (Teach Starter)

Hi Galina, thanks for your suggestion. Please feel free to request a resource here:
Requests are voted on by the Teach Starter community. We create the top request each week. Please let me know if you have any further questions, I’m more than happy to help.

Royce (Teach Starter) · May 9th, 2019

Armance Plenter

Thanks for the Mothersday idea. I’ll translate the words to the Dutch language.

Armance Plenter · Apr 30th, 2019


Hi Armance,
Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so glad you are enjoying our resources.

Kristian · May 1st, 2019

Michaela Thompson

This looks great!
I can’t get the template to download however. I get redirected to a resource for anti-bullying.
Any suggestions?

Michaela Thompson · Mar 24th, 2019


Hi Michaela,
It seems the link had broken when we updated the site.
Thanks so much for noticing this error on one of our resources.
I have fixed the error and it is now ready for you to download again here:
If there is anything else I can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kristian · Mar 25th, 2019

Louise Drummond

Love this! Any chance we could get a christmas version of this?

Louise Drummond · Nov 1st, 2018


Hi Louise,
This is a great idea! I will run it by our resource creators and see what they can come up with. Thanks so much for your suggestion and comment.

Kristian · Nov 1st, 2018


Hi Louse,
Great news, we have created a Christmas version of this resource. Check out the link below:

Kristian · Nov 13th, 2018

Brennan Huff

Step 5 isn’t overly clear like the previous steps. Could this perhaps be a little more explicit?

Brennan Huff · Aug 29th, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

Hy Brennan, thanks for your comment. We were hoping that the video along with the text explained this step. Let me have a look and try and make it more explicit for you. Thanks!

Holly (Teach Starter) · Aug 31st, 2018

Amy Agnew

My class made these boxes this week.
The finished product looks absolutely amazing and the kids are so proud of their present for mum.

Amy Agnew · May 11th, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks so much for your comment, Amy. I’m so glad that your students enjoyed making these fun presents for their mums! I’m sure there will be some very happy faces on Mother’s Day because of your efforts!

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 11th, 2018

Amelia Zarka

Do you have the video of making this? The same one that was posted on facebook so that I can show my kids? I can’t access Facebook on my school server.

Amelia Zarka · May 4th, 2018

Cassie (Teach Starter)

The video is in the blog post – towards the bottom, between Steps 4 and 5. Let us know if you have any issues playing it!

Cassie (Teach Starter) · May 4th, 2018

Zuriette Du Plessis

So gorgeous – I will be able to use it with all my children – fast workers en slow workers. Fasties will have more in their presentation but all will look great. Thank you for the black and white option as well. That way I can use colours paper or it can be a more individualised/personalised gift.

Zuriette Du Plessis · May 2nd, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

You’re most welcome Zuriette! So glad that you like this idea.

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 3rd, 2018

Louise Leyden

We are making these and I love it! Such a simple but cool pressie. The kids are excited. Thanks TS.

Louise Leyden · May 1st, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

You’re most welcome Louise! We’d love to see the finished products. Send us your photos to [email protected].

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 2nd, 2018

Jasmine Longford

Awesome – can’t wait to do this with my big kids. Thank you!

Jasmine Longford · Apr 30th, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

You’re most welcome Jasmine! We’d love to see a photo of this resource when it’s finished.

Holly (Teach Starter) · May 1st, 2018

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