Tag: gift

Patchwork Story: Lucy’s 40th Birthday Trip to Sweden

Lucy was about to celebrate her 40th birthday and wanted to mark the occasion by doing something super special. Her husband asked her about the one gift she would appreciate the most, and she decided it would be a trip to Sweden. So Simon set up a patchwork and asked her friends to crowdfund her adventure. We asked Lucy all about it.

So why did you decide on a trip to Sweden?

Last year one of my best friends recently moved back home to Sweden to be nearer her family. We only met four years ago through work but we instantly got on and she became like a sister to me! We got really used to seeing each other regularly so it was weird and sad when she moved away. It was nice to have such a great pen pal (she sends the best parcels in the world) and I was glad she was nearer her family but I missed seeing her terribly. I don’t have a very big income and don’t often travel abroad so when my husband asked me what I really wanted, I dropped a very big hint that I’d love to go to Stockholm to have some proper time with her!

Did you peek at your patchwork before the trip?

I mentioned a few of the places Lina was planning to take me but my husband kept it all a surprise. Every so often in the lead up to my birthday I saw Simon check his emails and make the sort of noise that can only mean ‘wow your friends are being really generous!’ – but I was very disciplined and didn’t let him show me!

How did Simon show you your birthday patchwork?

On the morning of my actual birthday in cold rainy January we went for a bracing walk along my favourite pier. Afterwards we stopped in a cosy cafe for a hot chocolate and he presented the finished patchwork to me as we sat getting warm. I was absolutely overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity and lovely messages, plus the sweet activities and day trips my friends had chosen to treat me to. I just burst into tears, I was so touched! There’s no way I would be able to afford such a fun trip with proper spending money. I was so excited.

So how was the trip?

It was AMAZING! Five whole days with my lovely Lina in a beautiful city, loads of delicious food, museums, galleries and lovely sunny days out. It was such a treat to have money to spend without worrying if I could afford it. I really can’t think of a better 40th birthday present. The trouble is, now I am desperate to go back again!


Hooray! Thanks so much for sharing your Patchwork story with us Lucy.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our birthday gift templates or create one from scratch.

Tips for Organising a Group Gift with Patchwork

If you’re planning to use Patchwork to organise a group gift for a loved one check out our top tips before you get started:

Make it obvious

Most people have chipped in towards a gift for a friend, work colleague or family member before, so the principle behind Patchwork won’t be a new concept. Your friends will be grateful for an easy and secure way to contribute towards a present without having to do a bank transfer or dig out some cash to chuck in a hat. All you need to do is show them the gift you’re asking them to contribute towards and tell them who it’s for and why.

It helps if you can summarise the plan in your patchwork title e.g. ‘A cot for the new baby’, ‘Holly’s Christmas Handbag’ or ‘A bee hive for mum’s 60th’.  Then use the patchwork description to explain exactly what it is you want people to do, i.e:

‘There’s really only one thing [insert name] really wants/needs for their [insert occasion] and so instead of buying surprise gifts I thought it’d be nice if we could all chip in towards one. Just click around the patchwork to contribute whatever you can and leave a message with your gift at the end. Love and thanks, [your name].’

patchwork group gift

Make it personal

You’re inviting friends to chip in towards a gift for someone they know and love, so make sure your request feels personal. Use your words to share not just an idea for a group gift but also to say something about the person you all care about.

You can add a banner image, a profile image and include your own photos within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for all those people contributing to see the face of the person you’ll celebrating, remember how much they love them – and then give generously!

Break it down

If you’re looking for inspiration for a group gift we’ve got tons of templates for you to choose from. So whether it’s a new bike, a work of art, a new tattoo, a cookery course, a vegetable patch or a weekend in Paris, you’ll find a readymade patchwork to customise – already broken down into a range of individually priced pieces.

However if we don’t have a template for the gift you want to fund you can do one of two things:

Create your own from scratch:

The easiest and quickest way to do this is to add a single image to your patchwork page and give it an affordable price – say £10. Then people who visit your page can simply press ‘Fund’ and then adjust the item quantity in the basket to increase their contribution i.e. 5 x £10 = £50 total. However breaking down a big ticket item or experience into a patchwork of component parts makes for a much more fun and engaging experience for contributors – allowing them to choose which piece of the gift to fund according to their budget and interest.

Tell us:

Our readymade patchworks are inspired by our users, so if you tell us what you want to fund, and we think it might be popular, we will create a new readymade patchwork for you and others to use made up of copyright-free imagery. Alternatively, if you have a particular image that you’d like us to ‘patchwork’ for you – you can email hello@patchworkit.com and we’ll split it into 2, 4, 6 or 8 pieces for you.

Spread the cost

All of our readymade group gift patchworks contain a number of different priced patches. You can adjust these set prices when you customise one of our templates. But we do recommend that you retain a range of prices across your patchwork, whether you customise or create from scratch, so everyone can afford to contribute something. Each patch can be priced between £1 – £500 and the maximum one person can contribute in one transaction is £1300.

group gift

Don’t limit your guests choice of gifts

You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you’re organising a surprise trip to Paris for your mum and dad’s anniversary you might want to include 2 return Eurostar tickets, 3 nights in a hotel and 1 dinner for two at the Moulin Rouge. To do this just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ after you’ve set the price for each patch, then enter the number you want. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.

This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things people will want a lot of – like meals or metro tickets, baguettes or glasses of wine.

And remember you don’t have to be too literal. Creating a patchwork is a fun and practical way to breakdown the cost of a big ticket item. But you don’t need to be too precise. For example, everyone knows a bike has two wheels, one saddle and a bell. But if you want to customise our children’s bike for a birthday present, it makes sense to leave all the patches unlimited. It really doesn’t matter if 10 people contribute towards the basket. Once you’ve collected all the cash gifts, bought the bike and your child is happily riding along with their teddy in the basket, you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who bought this gift.

Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and ensure people don’t arrive at the patchwork to find everything has ‘sold out’.

Gift your patchwork

Once you’re ready, you can present your Patchwork page to the person receiving your group gift so they can see the digital version of their gift or experience, read everyone’s messages and send thanks when they are ready.

All you need to do is ‘Gift’ the patchwork from your account by adding their email address and a message and they’ll be sent a unique login and instructions to see their gift page. A gifted Patchwork page will show your title, description and all the patch images and descriptions – which you can edit if you like. But it wont show prices or give the option to fund anymore as this page is presented to the person receiving the gift. This person will be able to see all the messages from friends at the bottom of the patchwork (along with their happy faces if they choose to upload photos too). And then they can click to ‘Send thanks’ when they’re ready.

Don’t forget to say thank you

You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that people contributing can see a message (and a photo of the person you’re celebrating) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation to those giving a gift. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in the Patchwork account, along with a record of what people have bought, how much they’ve spent and the message they left, it’s easy for you and/or the person receiving the gift to thank everyone properly later.

Patchwork creators and those who are gifted a patchwork can thank their friends via their Patchwork account. You can do this individually, by patch or as a group with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with our print partner MOO.

Ready to start your patchwork? Browse customisable templates here.

Wedding Gift Idea: Commission a Portrait

If you’re getting married but don’t want a traditional department store gift list, and a honeymoon fund isn’t for you, how about asking your guests to contribute towards something truly timeless instead? Why not ask your friends and family to help you pay to have a portrait painted? It’s a gift you’ll be able to enjoy forever – a memento of a really special time in your lives.

If you love the idea but feel you wouldn’t know where to start, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters can help. They have a range of artists to choose from, working in a variety of styles, and they will take you through the process to guide you in making the right choice.


We’ve created a ‘Commission a Portrait’ patchwork, so if you love this idea, it couldn’t be easier to steal it. Just customise the patchwork, send it out to friends and family to fund, then head to the RP to start your enquiries. Then all that’s left to do is strike a pose.

Kahleen & Steven: A Home of Their Own

It took Steven and Kahleen ten whole years to even start dating, but thankfully, with a little help from their cat, they got it together. Now they’re newly married and Kahleen’s here to tell us all about their big day, and why they decided to forgo traditional wedding gifts.

How long have you two been together?

We have been together for around 2 and a half years. We met through work around a decade ago, but never got to know each other as more than passing acquaintances. We had a meeting at the end of 2013 which was work for around 25 mins, but ended up going on for about 2 hours! Anyway, a couple of months later Steven plucked up the courage to ask if he could take me out.

How did you get engaged?

Fair warning here – the proposal story either makes people go ‘awwwwww!’ or roll their eyes! We have an indoor cat that I got from the Cat’s Protection League about 4 and a half years ago, and because she doesn’t go out, she doesn’t wear a collar. Steven bought her one and hung the ring from it, and when I got home from work he kept going on at me to look at this collar. I thought he had completely lost his marbles! Eventually, he persuaded to me to look (which I only did to stop him banging on about it!), and I found the ring. I was so surprised I couldn’t stop laughing, and when I turned around, Steven was on one knee. Then all he had to do then had to get the ring back from Hushpuppy!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We knew we wanted a relaxed atmosphere, good food, good drinks, good music, and as many of our friends and family as humanly possible! We couldn’t have hoped for a more incredible day – our friends and family were on wonderful form, and we laughed (and cried!) our way through the entire day.


What was your first dance?

We don’t have ‘a song’, but for our first dance we had ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. We loved that it was a duet, and the lyrics fit how we feel perfectly. We learned a dance, but I can’t tell you how wrong it went – it was a farce! But no one cared!

What was your favourite part of the day?

It’s hard to choose a favourite part, but probably the massive cheer that went up when our Humanist Celebrant, Jen, announced we were husband and wife. It was hooligan-like, and kept going for ages!

Also, and this isn’t a specific part of the day, but both of us loved seeing friends and family mixing. It blew my mind seeing all these totally separate parts of my life coming together. People made such an effort to get to know each other, and it was very special.

Why did you choose Patchwork as your gift registry?

We struggled to work out what to do about a wedding list. For a time we weren’t going to have one, but as soon as we got engaged, people started asking our parents about gifts. We quickly realised it’s important to a lot of people that they give you something to help you on your way. As we are both in our mid-30s and have so much stuff already, we became a bit worried about getting boxed gifts we didn’t need or wouldn’t use. Also, given our flat in London is tiny, we actually just can’t fit any more in! We knew that what we truly needed was help buying our first place, and that meant asking for money. But how on earth do you do that politely?

We looked at quite a few sites, and signed up for more than one, but when I read an article in a newspaper about Patchwork, I thought it sounded perfect. When I went onto the site I knew I’d cracked it, and I thought it would be best to show Steven the site in action. I spent an hour or so creating a patchwork for us and showed it to him that night – he absolutely loved it. We then showed our parents – they are from a generation when things were done differently, and it can be sensitive when you’re asking family and friends for monetary gifts, so we wanted their advice – and they thought it was wonderful.


What was the best bit about using Patchwork?

Patchwork takes the stress out of organising, has the security of online gifting, and frankly, gives you a classy and personal way to ask for help.

We were utterly stunned by how generous our friends and family have been – it sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. I can’t even express how grateful we feel (there have been tears!). The amazing thing about Patchwork is the detail you can go into, the control you have over the elements such as what you ask for and how much it costs – it was really important to us to have gifts from £2, and we went no higher than £75 for an individual item – and also how much fun people can have personalising their own gift to you. Some people would spend a certain amount on “white goods”, and others would spend the same amount, but choose to go for “10 bricks”, “a patch of grass”, “a window”. It was totally up to them, and people told us they really enjoyed putting their gift together.

Our friends and family loved Patchwork too! We got some lovely messages, and various compliments about what a lovely idea it was, and how much people enjoyed using the site.

How will you feel when you put your deposit down on your home, knowing everyone has chipped in?

Amazing. We’ve been married for 6 weeks now and we are going to see some specific areas this weekend. We know it might take a while to find something, but we can’t wait until we can finally tell everyone that we’ve done it. Then all that will be left will be to invite them all round.. That’ll be a full house!

Thank you Kahleen & Steven, and a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork. If this has inspired you, just customise our new home patchwork, or create your own from scratch.

Photography by Craig & Eva Sanders.

Tom’s Crowdfunded Laptop

When Ginny’s son Tom decided he really needed a new top-of-the-range MacBook Pro to help with his A-levels, she was a little bit panicked. Desperately wanting to help him get it, but having just had a very expensive few months, Ginny wasn’t sure what to do. Luckily, her daughter Katie had an idea.

What did you decide to fund and why?

It was Tom’s 18th birthday and he was in his final year. He was studying art and really needed a new computer to do his work on, but we weren’t sure we could shell out for it. His big sister Katie suggested we ‘crowdfunded’ a MacBook for him using Patchwork, we liked the look of the website, so we thought we’d give it a go. We made a patchwork from images of his recent art work and suggested to friends and family that they contribute for his 18th. Bingo! Within a month he had enough money for the MacBook and lots of compliments about his work.


What did everyone think about the patchwork?

All of our friends and family thought it was a very inspired, creative and interesting way to raise funds and it worked perfectly.

How did Tom feel when you gave him his gift?

Tom was over the moon with his gift, and now has one of his paintings shortlisted for the A-level Royal Academy summer exhibition.


Fantastic, thanks Ginny for telling us all about Tom and his artwork. If If this has inspired you to arrange a group-gift for a special birthday, just customise one of our readymade patchworks, or create your own from scratch.

Akua’s Crowdfunded Tattoo

Akua decided to bypass surprise presents this year and instead ask her friends and family to chip in for something she really wanted. It was a big birthday after all, she was turning 40. If you can’t get what you want at 40, when can you? Akua didn’t want bath bombs, jewellery or vouchers, she wanted a tattoo. She told us all about it.

Tell us more about your patchwork?

When my 40th Birthday was approaching I knew I wanted to do something memorable, so I hosted a party and suggested a unique present that my friends and family could contribute to. A tattoo.

Why a tattoo?

I had always wanted one but up til now I’d done nothing to fulfill the dream. I found a great tattoo parlour in New Cross Gate who were fantastic in explaining what the process (I was a little nervous) and I booked the session. The design was no problem, as I had a very clear idea for this. Tattoos are so expressive. I felt this would be a wonderful way to include my friends & family in not only celebrating my birthday but me as well.


Why did you decide to organise a group gift?

The group gift meant that each contribution could be small. I divided the image of my tattoo putting a price to each letter. There were no massive expectations and no issues of affordability. Some friends surprised me by buying more than one letter.

What did your friends think?

When I created my patchwork I illustrated it with random graphics spelling out the words that would be in my tattoo, this made a design that was a little more out there than I had in mind! My friends and family enjoyed the novelty and there was even a bit of competition over the availability of letters. I stirred some curiosity and there were lots of comments about being brave as well as “Are you sure?”

Thank you for telling us all about your birthday present, Akua. If you’re brave enough to friend-fund your next tattoo, just customise our readymade tattoo patchwork here. Or get some inspiration for other great gifts by browsing our readymade patchworks here.

Patchwork Loves: Kennedy City Bicycles

We like bicycles. They’re fun, they’re planet-friendly, and they make a brilliant gift. Especially if you share the cost with friends. And we really like well made, reliable, beautifully designed bikes. That’s why we like Kennedy City Bicycles.

James builds each unisex bike in his Hackney studio, with a frame light enough to be carried up a few flights of stairs, in a small but perfectly chosen variety of colours and styles. You choose your frame colour, handlebar style, and leather, and then James will get to work – no fuss, just a simple, fantastic city bike.


If you think a Kennedy City Bicycle would make the perfect gift for a loved one, just customise this readymade bike patchwork, send it out to friends and family so that everyone can buy a piece – whether it’s a bell, a saddle, or a wheel, and once you’ve collected the funds you need, you can head to kennedycitybicycles.cc to place your order.

Tom, Ellie & Their Wedding Sofa – Funded by Family.

Tom and Ellie have been together for eleven years, after meeting at Uni and ‘never expecting it to last this long!’. Well we’re happy it did, because now we get to hear all about their wedding. Ellie told us about their unconventional celebrations, and their newly-patchworked sofa:

How did you two get engaged?
I made it clear to Tom that I was never interested in getting married. He made it really clear to me that he was very interested in getting married! He took me on a surprise weekend to Bath to stay in the Queen Charlotte’s Orangery boutique bed and breakfast and asked me to marry him after a day of sightseeing at the Roman baths (fitting as we both studied classics together at university).

What kind of wedding did you plan?
Having never been the kind of little girl that dreamt of her wedding day it was really important for the day not to develop a life of its own and become too big. We tried to reconcile Tom’s desire for a massive party and my desire for as low-key an event as possible. In the end we got married in a registry office with just our parents as witnesses. Then the week after we had a massive bash in a pub with 150 of our friends and family. We kept it relaxed but used the wedding traditions that we liked (the speeches, the dancing, the booze, the cake, the flowers) and dropped the ones that we didn’t like so much (the ceremony, the first dance, the top table, the photos). Our wedding wouldn’t have been for everyone but we had a great time.

sofa wedding present

Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift list?

It has always felt a bit meaningless for people who have been together for years and lived together for half of that to ask for new toasters and sandwich makers. Replacing perfectly good home appliances with brand new ones felt wasteful and extravagant and just didn’t appeal to me. But Tom’s family felt that asking for money would be rude. So Patchwork seemed like the perfect alternative to allow us to buy something we really wanted (and would never normally have been able to afford).

What did you decide to fund?
We asked for our family and friends to buy us a new sofa and a piece of art for our living room. At the time we knew that we were having a baby (but no one else knew yet) so we wanted to get presents which would fit our new life of spending a lot of time at home watching boxsets and eating sorbet on the sofa.

We ordered the sofa straight after the wedding and it felt great. Every time someone comments on how comfy it is we tell them that it is our wedding sofa and it reminds us every day how much everyone cares about us.

patchwork sofa wedding gift

What was the best bit about using Patchwork?

The best bit was how fun all of our friends and family found it. The Patchwork team helped design the graphic of the patchwork for us and all of our friends and family loved it! So many people came up to us on the day and said that they thought the patchwork idea was really fun and how impressed they were with the website. Many said how relieved they were that they were contributing to something that would last us for decades.

I’d recommend doing a patchwork to any couples who don’t want new stuff just for the sake of ‘new’.


Thanks Ellie & Tom. And a double congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork just customise one of our readymades or create one from scratch.

A Print for Georgia’s Dad

Georgia’s dad is not an easy person to buy for. And with a big birthday looming, Georgia really wanted to pull something special out of the bag. So when she happened upon the perfect present, and the perfect way to fund it, she was over the moon. We had a chat to her and her dad about his special gift.

Tell us about what you were celebrating?
My fabulous father was turning a large undisclosed number. In my humble opinion he is one of the most amazing people in the world, so I wanted to commemorate the event.

He has had such a profound and positive effect on so many people, so many people love him. So I knew there would be loads of people who, like me, wanted to do something special that would touch him. To show him the love.

I have made Dad cry through thoughtful gifts in the past. So that became my criteria.

But what do you buy the man that likes nothing more than Leica cameras, illicit substances & making inappropriate comments at inappropriate times? It was a tough brief so I started thinking early.

What did you decide to fund?
One day about 6 months before his birthday we were wandering through The Lanes in Brighton and Dad took me into a shop to show me a picture – an original print from the film of Withnail and I. It was immediately obvious that he should own it. It was strange and beautiful. Just like him. Art for the inappropriate old man. Who knew.

What was the best thing about doing a group gift?
Everything has more value when it comes from the many; full of love, effort and care. Surely that’s what giving a gift is really about. My Dad taught me that, so truly it was a no brainer to Patchwork a special gift for him.

Our friends and family couldn’t have been more pleased and as I said, he is impossible to thank properly and together we made him cry with love and joy. Winning.

Brilliant. And this is what Georgia’s dad, Doug, thought of his gift:
“We should all have art that enriches us and I’m rather picky about what I would have on my wall at home, as I do love minimal. I know that I am also a terrible person to have to buy for as I mostly buy what I really need, but just as often convince myself and others that it is mere consumerism and tell people we already have too much stuff in our lives.  Not an easy gift proposition. What Georgia knew is that when we saw this picture hanging, I told her that it really spoke to me and she bought it on that basis with the help of Patchwork Present. Maybe what she doesn’t know is the exact nature of the moment and why it is such a pleasure for it to be the last thing I see every morning before I leave home to face the world.

As Withnail is battered by the world and seems about to break, he finds his fight and yells into the Welsh Valleys at this exact moment captured….


Every element I need to be reminded of as I leave for the day – humour, resilience, and embracing the world however cold and unwelcoming it may appear at that moment.  I could never live with a motivational poster in my life but for me, this totally does the job.  I smile every day as I pass it, and the names of the people who gave it to me live on the back………  I’LL SHOW THE LOT OF YOU! I’M GONNA BE A STARRR!

Thanks to all those lovely friends and family who gave and Patchwork for making it happen, you’ll never know how many times I needed to see this as I leave to greet the world for another day.”


Thank you Georgia and Doug! We’re so happy to have been able to help with this perfect present.

Yvonne’s Luxurious Birthday Treat – Funded by Family

Yvonne is a busy mum of three grown up kids (plus two grandchildren!), she spends her time between London and her country house in Bordeaux, France. She looks after herself, enjoys regular spa weekends and treats herself to the things she wants every now and then, so when it comes to birthdays, she says there aren’t things she really needs.

So why did she use Patchwork? We’ll let Yvonne explain below…

Why did you decide to use Patchwork?
When I was younger I used to put up with surprise gifts – the books and blushers and earrings I didn’t really want! But in recent years I’ve become more comfortable saying it like it is. When friends and family ask what I’d like for my birthday I tell them. It’s usually Chanel No. 5 perfume, body lotion or shower gel. A nice candle, a bottle of bubbly or a bunch of flowers. The finer things in life that you can never have too much of… but this birthday was different.

It was my 60th and I have to admit I’d confessed to my kids that the only thing I really wanted was a new Mulberry bag. I’d had my one for years and I’d loved and used it so much it was finally starting to look a bit tatty so it was perfect timing – a special gift for a special birthday. Of course I would never ask my children to buy me such an expensive gift alone so Patchwork was perfect, as it meant my daughter could invite all my family and friends to chip in.

How did you feel when you opened your group-gift?
OMG……doesn’t cover it! I was elated and thrilled beyond belief and was even more chuffed that inside the bag was the matching purse – which I needed also! Receiving a gift that you really, really want and need is the ultimate. Plus it was the exact bag I wanted, the right colour and it came in an enormous box which made it all the more fun to open before we rushed out of the door… to a surprise lunch in Paris!

What’s so special about your Mulberry bag?
I love good quality bags and shoes – it’s always been my thing! I know my new Mulberry will look and feel good for another 10 years and the best bit is that every time I look at my beautiful bag on my arm I think about my gorgeous friends and family who gave it to me.

Would you recommend Patchwork to others?
I do. All the time! Me and my friends are at an age where we’ve got all the stuff we need and we don’t really want lots of little token gifts every year – we’ve got no room for anymore trinkets! So it just makes much more sense to be honest and open if there’s one thing you really want. It’s lovely to receive that luxury gift that perhaps you wouldn’t treat yourself to, especially when it comes from people you love.

Thanks, Yvonne, and happy birthday from Team Patchwork! If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork just customise one of our readymades or create one from scratch.

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