DIY Burp Cloth Tutorial

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

When I had my first baby almost 5 years ago, I received a small stack of burp cloths from the wife of my husband’s boss.  They were the perfect size and she had sewn cute coordinating ribbons on them.  Of all the burp cloths I received, these were definitely my favorite because they also covered my entire shoulder and partially down my back.  But the best part (for me, at least) was that they were so durable.  I have washed them countless times and they don’t fray or fall apart and the spit up has washed right out.  That’s what I call a good burp cloth!

I remember talking to a friend one day after having my second baby (and receiving more burp cloths from the same lady)  and she commented on how it was so smart to use cloth diapers as burp cloths.  I was like, “What?  I’ve been wearing a diaper on my shoulder?”  (Obviously, I was not familiar with cloth diapers.)  She kindly enlightened me and from that point on I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making some cute burp cloths.  I mean, if you’re going to be wearing one around for the first few month of your child’s life, they should be stylish, right? *wink*

I found a tutorial on The Thinking Closet that I liked, however, I did modify it slightly.  This is a very simple tutorial and one that even a beginner can do since it only involves straight lines.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Gather your materials.  I found a 5 pack of pre-folded 6-ply cloth diapers at Target for $12.99.  They were the only place around that carried them in-store and I was impatient to start sewing.  (In the future, I will be ordering these cloth diapers.)  I bought 1/3 yard of 3 coordinating fabrics from JoAnn’s for just over $5 which is cheaper than buying the pre-cut fat quarters at $2.50/each.  (Plus I can accent at least 4 burp cloths from each piece, instead of the 3 I’d get from a fat quarter.)  If you have some scrap fabric laying around, you could use that or you could purchase some fat quarters.

Step 2: Pre-wash your fabric and iron.  I don’t normally pre-wash my fabric but since I wasn’t sure if there would be a difference in shrinkage between the cloth diapers and the patterned fabric, I decided to this time around to be safe.  Just wash in cold water and dry as you would your clothes.  Adjust the settings on your iron for the type of material you are using (mine was cotton).

Step 3: Measure and cut.  The cloth diapers I used measured about 18×12 after washing them.  My final measurement for the patterned material was about 5 1/2″ x 22″ but that was approximate due to the different shrinkage I saw in each fabric that I bought after washing.  The most important thing is to have a piece that is long enough to fold under around all sides so you end up with a clean edge.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 4: Press your seams.  Pressing your seams makes the fabric lay nice and flat so you don’t have to fight with it when you are sewing the pieces together.  It’s not absolutely necessary but it definitely helps.  A neat tip shared on The Thinking Closet tutorial (who got it from Diary of a Quilter) is to use a piece of cardboard that has been cut down to the desired dimensions, then simply fold over the excess on each side and iron it.  (You can see that I used a cereal box.) I cut my cereal box down to 4 3/4″ wide and about 17″ long.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 5: Pin your fabric to the cloth diaper.  Line up your patterned fabric on top of the middle section of the cloth diaper.  Use pins to keep it in place.  You shouldn’t have to go too crazy with the pins if you pressed your seams, maybe 3 or 4 total, since the purpose it to just keep it from moving around while you get it situated on your sewing machine.  Remember to fold the top edge under so you have a nice, clean edge.

*Note: Since cloth diapers vary a little bit in how straight the lines down the middle are, so just center your patterned fabric as best you can.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!


Step 6: Stitch across the top and bottom.  Before you start sewing, move your needle position all the way to the left.   Line up the right side of the patterned fabric to the faint center-line on your presser foot.  (see picture)  You want your stitching to be as close to the edge as possible.  Since you cut your patterned fabric longer than actually needed, you will need to trim it at the bottom and fold it over just like you did with the top.  Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 7: Stitch across the left and right sides.  Follow the same directions as step 6, remembering to leave the needle in the left position and backstitch at the beginning and end.  You should now have all four sides stitched.

*Note: If you make a mistake (like I did on the first one I sewed) and sew the top and sides first and are left with the bottom side, just cut down the fabric and fold it under and tuck it inside and sew across like you would have done in step 6.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 8: Admire your darling new burp cloth!

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

And there you have it!  A super simple, super cute burp cloth.  The first one took me longer than the rest, but once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be whipping these out like nobody’s business.  I love that these are handmade and can be completely personalized for whoever you are giving them to.  The possibilities are as endless as the patterns available!

What are your favorite handmade baby gifts to give/receive?

This post contains affiliate links which, if clicked on and the item is purchased, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Mod Podge Notebook

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If you are anything like me, you like notebooks.  Big, small, patterned, solid.  I’ve got them scattered around my house and at least three in my diaper bag.  You never know when you’re going to need to make a note or a list.  I’m also one of those people who really likes to write things down and I still have a daily planner.  (My husband buys me a new one every year at Christmas.)

And while deep down I know the purpose of a notebook is just to write things down, another part of me just loves pretty notebooks.  However, I don’t like spending an extra couple dollars just to have a pretty print or a cute quote on the front.  Do you feel the same?

So to make my notebooks cuter, I take advantage of my scrapbook paper fetish and use up some of it on an inexpensive notebook.  I’m sure you’ve seen the composition notebooks at the store.  I found mine at the local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  The front isn’t all that cute and they have these formulas and all sorts of random information on the inside covers that I don’t find useful or pretty.  So I just cover them up and personalize them.   

To make your own notebook, you will need the following:

  • composition notebook
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • scissors or paper trimmer
  • 12×12 scrapbook paper
  • vinyl (optional)
  • embellishments (optional)

The first step is to find the scrapbook paper you want to use.  If you’re doing this with a big group, I’d recommend either having everyone bring their own paper or to buy a big pad of 12×12 paper that has coordinating patterns and colors to take some of the guesswork out of it.  (I generally stick to 2-3 pieces of patterned paper.)  Decide which paper you want to use for your main pattern and which will be your accent for the binding.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Cut the main paper in half so you have (2) 6×12 pieces.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Lay the paper on the front of the notebook so there is about 1/2″ overhang on the far right side.  Crease the top and sides so you can see about where to place the paper once you get the mod podge on the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Using a foam brush, spread the mod podge out on the front of the notebook only covering the area that the 6×12 will cover.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Place the 6×12 paper on top of the notebook.  Be sure to smooth out the bubbles, working from the middle outward.  I have a little plastic tool I use, but you could also use a credit card/gift card to smooth it out.

From here you can do one of two things: 1) cut off the extra paper around the edges, or 2) fold the extra paper around the sides and mod podge it to the inside of the notebook.  I prefer the second option because I think it gives a cleaner look.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Once the front is finished, repeat on the back cover of the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

For the binding, you will need to take the second paper you chose and fold it around the binding, making sure to overlap the main paper by about 1/4-1/2″.  Crease or mark the paper, then trim it to size.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Brush the mod podge on the back of the notebook binding and the front of the notebook.  Then place the binding of the notebook on the paper first, then roll it onto the front.  This will help you center it.  Then mod podge the back of the notebook and fold the paper onto the back.  Again, make sure to press out the bubbles.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Trim the overhanging paper on the top and bottom of the binding using scissors.  It’s easier to trim it if you open up the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If the inside of your notebook has random formulas and grammar rules like mine did, you can cover those up by mod podging some plain white (or coordinating) cardstock onto the inside.  Easy peasy.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

From here, you can be done if you like how it looks, or you can add more embellishments.

I thought it looked a little plain so I just cut out a couple of words from vinyl using my Silhouette and I think it added just the right touch.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

These would make great gifts for family or friends to use as journal or to-do list notebooks.  Another cute idea is to use it as a notebook to pass back and forth between you and your child, writing letters or notes to each other.  You could make these for a craft night with your friends or local church group or even a girls camp craft.  Super easy and super inexpensive.

What would you use your notebook for?

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

From the time my daughter was old enough to need something to entertain her during church, I’ve had a church bag put together that we can grab and go on Sundays.  Of course, the contents change periodically to keep her interested and we’ve had to add more items since my son is also in need of distraction during church.  Mostly we have crayons, paper and books along with a couple of small cars.

Recently I was at the store and spotted some darling animal lacing cards that I thought would be perfect to throw in the church bag to shake things up a bit.  The next Sunday, they were a hit and I decided to see if I could make some lacing cards that were more church themed.  (Of course this same tutorial applies for any theme you want.)

To make your own lacing cards, follow these steps:
First you’ll need to find some clip art for the images you want.  I searched for ‘free bible stories clip art’ and came up with a ton of options.  One image caught my eye and took me to an entire website of free clip art in almost any category you could imagine: nature, language arts, science, sports, fairy tales and the list goes on.  (Keep in mind that this site allows free use of its images as long as you don’t try and profit from it.)

Save the image to your computer by right clicking and selecting ‘save image as…’.  This will allow you to choose where you want to save the file.

Once you have all your images, place the images in a word file and resize the images and adjust the margins if desired.  I wanted to fit two images per 8.5×11 page and they each ended up being between 4-6″ wide/tall.

Print your images on cardstock.  (I used white.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Use a pencil to trace a border around the image, about 1/2″.  Make sure you’re not trying to be too detailed.  Cut out the images and erase any remaining pencil marks.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Punch holes around the image, spacing every 1/2-1″.  This is totally a personal preference.  Just make sure not to get too close to the edge of your border.  Mine varied a little per card.  You can use a regular hole punch to make the holes.  (I have a Crop-A-Dile, which allows me to punch 3/16″ or 1/8″ holes.)  This step gave my forearm and hand a major workout!  I made a total of 12 lacing cards and each card had at least 30 holes.  You do the math.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Laminate each lacing card.  I did a hard laminate which is stiffer and stronger so combined with the cardstock, the cards should be pretty durable.  I don’t have a laminater, so I took my cards to a local genealogy store that does it for pretty inexpensive (I paid $4 for 7ft).

Cut a border around each card, making sure not to get too close to the edge.  Repunch the holes on each card.  (*Note: You could wait to punch the holes until this step instead of doing it twice but I wanted to make it a little easier on myself since I’d have to punch through hard laminate and cardstock if I had waited.  In addition, by using my Crop-A-Dile, I was actually able to punch a slightly smaller hole within each original hole, preserving the strength of the lamination around each original hole.  Overkill?  Maybe.  But I’d like these to last as long as possible.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

For the lacing, I found a pack of 8 pairs of shoelaces at my local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  Not quite enough for each card to have it’s own, but I don’t expect all 12 to be used at the same time. *wink*

My daughter was so excited to try out the new lacing cards!  I wasn’t even done punching the first one (the second time around) and she was already pulling out the laces and waiting for the card when I finished.  She laced three or four of them before I told her I needed to put them away until Sunday.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

As for me, I really love the way they turned out!  The clip art is darling and overall it was a fairly inexpensive project, costing me less than $10 (if you include the cost of paper and ink which I already had on hand).  These lacing cards would make a great birthday gift, stocking stuffer, church bag activity, for long car trips or something to keep in your diaper bag while you’re out and about.

I hope you have fun making your own!

Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents

Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents--great list of all types of gifts for parents and grandparents that they will love!

Trying to find meaningful gifts for parents and grandparents is tough, mainly because in many cases, they could purchase the things they want or need.  So what do you give them?  Most gifts fall into two categories: tangible/physical gifts and consumable gifts.  I’ve compiled lists from both categories that will hopefully help you find the perfect gift for your parents/grandparents.

Tangible/Physical Gifts

  • Heartfelt Letter or Poem : Taking some time to write a letter or poem is probably one of my favorite gifts to give.  It is also one of my favorite gifts to receive.  I have a stash of letters and poems from family and friends that I like to pull out on rough days to read and remind me of the love others have for me.
    Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents--great list of all types of gifts for parents and grandparents that they will love!
    Image from O Jolie Designs
  • Custom Jewelry/Keepsakes : Last year for Christmas, I participated in a sibling group gift to my step-mom for a custom necklace with all of the grandkids names and birthstones on it.  My step-mom loves it and wears it regularly.  There are so many awesome Etsy shops out there that offer all types of custom jewelry, keychains, engraved wallet cards, etc.  One of my favorite Etsy shops for hand stamped jewelry and keepsakes is O Jolie Designs.
  • Supplies/Accessories for Hobbies : Sometimes the easiest way to figure out a gift is by using a theme.  And what better theme than a hobby?  One year my husband and I got my dad some nice microfiber clothes and cleaning supplies for his restored Chevy.  It wasn’t anything unique or expensive but he liked it and it was something we knew he’d use.
  • Combine with Siblings : If you don’t have the resources to give a nicer/more expensive gift, consider going in on it with your siblings.  Adults are going to be happier with a gift that means something to them as opposed to having multiple gifts. I’ve done this many times and I’ve never been disappointed in the receiver’s reaction.
  • Handmade Items : As someone who crafts, I really enjoy making things to give as gifts.  I’ve given crocheted hot pads and blankets, embroidered pillows, wood signs, scrapbooks and various other items.  I feel like even though the gift itself isn’t necessarily unique, the time that I spend making it, makes it unique and meaningful.  If you don’t feel that you have the crafting skills necessary to make something, you could always ask someone you know for help, look at tutorials or order it through a small business site, such as Etsy.
  • Pictures/Photo Gifts : I feel like one of the most requested gifts from me are pictures.  My parents, in-laws and grandparents are always asking for updated family pictures and pictures of the kids.  One of my grandmas that I don’t see very often has a grandchild photo wall, so every year for Christmas I give her an updated picture to put in her frame.  When giving a photo gift, I always make sure to buy a frame that fits the receiver’s individual style, even if it’s not my own.

Consumable Gifts

  • Gift Cards/Certificates : Gift cards and gift certificates are awesome because in many cases, they allow you to give a better gift at a savings to you.  I like using sites like Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local.  I’ve found great deals on massages, restaurants, air vent cleaning services, etc.  I’ve signed up on their email list and there have been times where I’ve looked at them for ideas when I haven’t known what to give.
    Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents--great list of all types of gifts for parents and grandparents that they will love!
    My kids at the aquarium with my mom
  • Experiences :  Making memories through shared experiences is one of my favorite gifts to give.  We’ve gone to concerts, seen Christmas lights, visited the zoo and the aquarium, just to name a few.  The time spent together is precious and the memories are carried around for a long time.
  • Acts of Service : As a kid, I remember giving my parents “coupon books” with coupons for cleaning the windows, vacuuming the floor, doing the dishes, free hugs and kisses, etc.  I think you could put this same type of gift into practice for parents and grandparents by helping them clean out their garage or basement, trimming back trees/bushes in their yard or sorting through old pictures and organizing them.  The list of ways you could give service to a parent or grandparent are endless.
  • Donations to a Charity or Organization :  A few years ago, my husband’s family decided that for Christmas each year we would donate resources, such as money and/or food, to someone in need rather than exchanging presents with each other.  This has turned out to be a great way to honor his parents and show our appreciation for all they do for us throughout the year.  Another option would be to donate to a charity or organization that is special to your parent(s) or grandparent(s) on their behalf.

I hope this list of ideas will help get the wheels turning in your head for some great gifts!

What other gifts do you like to give to parents and grandparents?