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Make a Mother’s Day bag

Why use the limited amount of college funding you have to buy a bag for Mommy this Mother’s Day? Instead you can use a free college newspaper.

Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again. The time when people all around the world take the time to tell their mothers, “I love ya, mum.”

In the United States, Mother’s Day originally came to fruition thanks to the efforts of Anna Jarvis in 1908. Because of her activism to the cause and her apparently profound love for her mother, President Woodrow Wilson decided to make it an official holiday in 1914. Soon, however, Jarvis thought the holiday became more about what to buy for your mom than doing things to honor her motherhood, which made her angry. In 1948, she was arrested for disturbing the peace  while protesting what she called the “Hallmark Holiday,” referring to the commericialization of Mother’s Day. She died shortly after.

In 2008, the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, quoted Jarvis famously saying she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control … ”

Let’s do Jarvis a favor by making her a little something special this year. Mama used to love it when you handed her a card covered in macaroni, glitter, a painted handprint, and a dopey smile on your face. It’s time to remind the number one lady in your life that you will always be her precious little pumpkin. The Arbiter is going to walk you through a do-it-yourself project: gift bags made from recycled newspaper. It’s OK to cut into this issue. You won’t hurt our feelings. (Much.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

A page of newspaper (preferably this one)


Tape or a gluestick

A ruler (optional if you want to use a different newspaper)

Cardstock (optional for extra support)

The instructions:

There will be an extra subtle crease in your bag because of the fold in the middle of the page, but that’s what gives it some flavor.

First, cut out the pink rectangle on this page. It should be 15.5 inches tall and 8.25 inches wide, if you want to use your ruler on a different paper.


Then you will want to perhaps turn the paper over because you will have to fold in at the dotted lines. So, with the pink part of the paper facing the table or counter, fold the paper back at each dotted line. If you lay the piece of paper down horizontally, begin with the top and bottom first. Fold the paper toward you 2 inches from the bottom if you’re using a ruler and 1.25 inches from the top.

Once that’s folded, fold the paper along the vertical dotted lines. If you’re using a ruler, measure from left to right and fold at 4.5 inches then from that fold measure another 3 inches and make another fold. Then from that point, measure 4.5 inches and fold again then make another fold at 3 inches from that fold. The last fold should be a half inch from the right end of the paper.

First, fold the top flap down again (the flap measuring 1.25 inches) and glue or tape it down. This is the lip of the bag.

If you want to use cardstock, now is the time to cut them out in rectangles measuring the same as the square sides of the bag. Glue the cardstock to what will be the inside of the bag’s body. If you’re not using cardstock, just bring the right side of the paper to the left to make the body of the bag. Glue or tape the half inch flap to the inside of the first panel.

Now all that’s left is the bottom. Just like wrapping a gift, lay the bag on its side and take the corners of the edge closest to you. Fold them to make a triangle shape. Do the same to the opposite end of the bag. Then fold one triangle over the other and glue or tape them together to make the floor of the bag. Now the bag has been made!

Stand the bag right side up. If you want to make sure there is better enforcement, cut a piece of cardstock in a rectangle the size of the bag’s floor and glue it to the bag’s bottom on the inside. If you want to, you can also poke holes near the lip of the bag and thread string through them to create handles.

Fill the bag with candies, jewelry, or whatever you want and give it to your mom for Mother’s Day. Don’t forget to wear your best dopey smile.