Three Ideas for Recycling Christmas Cards
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, as the old song goes, but it also is the most wasteful time of the year. More trash is generated during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day than any other time of the year. Don't add to it by throwing away all those Christmas cards you received. Sure, you could toss the cards into the recycling bin after the holidays are over, but many are just too pretty to set out at the curb. Instead, save them for next year to use in a variety of Christmas craft projects. Here are three great ways to make good use of all your old holiday greeting cards.
1. Ornaments for the Tree
Recycle Christmas Cards into Beautiful Holiday Ornaments
There are many creative ways to use recycled Christmas cards to make unique ornaments for the tree. Here are a few easy ideas to get you started.
Old Christmas cards can be cut and folded into a variety of three-dimensional shapes that make great ornaments.
- Ornamental balls (pictured above): Cut 20 circles out of coordinating cards and glue them together to create large or small balls.Hang them from the tree or fill a pretty bowl full of them for a unique centerpiece. Click here for instructions.
- Star ornaments (see tutorial below): Fill the tree with these gorgeous paper stars or use one as a tree topper.
How to make a three-dimensional star ornament
Cookie Cutter Ornaments
These cute ornaments are a great way to use old cookie cutters, too. (If you don't have cookie cutters to use, old canning rings work just as well.) Trace around a cookie cutter on the desired area of a card. Cut out the shape. Use a hot glue gun or craft glue to adhere the cutout to the back of the cookie cutter, leaving a small opening at the top for a ribbon.
Thread a 8-inch length of narrow ribbon or cord through the opening and tie a knot at the top of the cookie cutter. Thread both ends of the ribbon through a bead, then tie another knot to secure the bead at the top of the ornament. Tie the ends of the ribbon together for hanging.
For a fun gift idea, use a photo greeting card and give a personalized ornament to the person who sent you the card.
2. Handmade Gift Tags
Make Your Own Gift Tags with Recycled Christmas Cards
There's no need to spend money on store-bought gift tags when you can easily make your own unique tags using old greeting cards.
Simply cut the desired design or shape from an old card, and use a paper punch to make a hole for a ribbon. Reinforce the hole with a self-adhesive reinforcement label to prevent tearing. On the back of the tag, add the to/from information. Secure the tag to the package with a ribbon.
3. Origami Gift Boxes
Make Holiday Gift Boxes With Old Christmas Cards
Your friends and family will love receiving these adorable origami gift boxes. Make them with any rectangular-shaped greeting card. You will need both the front and back of the card so nothing is wasted. The boxes are perfect for stocking stuffers, for packaging small presents like handmade jewelry, or to add a personal touch to gifts of cash or gift cards.
Steps (Illustrated Below):
- Cut the card in half at the fold. On the inside of each half, use a ruler to draw an "X" from corner to corner. Use pencil so the marking can be erased later, if desired.
- Working first with the front half of the card and with the outside of the card facing down, fold in the top and bottom edges so they meet at the center of the "X", making sure to press the folds to get good creases. Unfold and repeat with the left and right sides of the card. You will now have creases on all four sides of the card forming a rectangular shape.
- Starting from the bottom edge of the card, cut along the vertical creases to where they meet the horizontal crease at the bottom of the card. Turn the card 180 degrees and repeat at the top edge of the card, cutting the vertical creases to where they meet the horizontal crease at the top of the card. You will have a tab at each corner of the card.
- Fold both long sides of the card along the creases to create a 90 degree angle.
- Fold in the tabs at the bottom of the card toward one another, then fold the bottom of the card along the crease to create a 90 degree angle. Fold the bottom edge of the card over the tabs and secure with a piece of tape. Turn the card 180 degrees and repeat this step at the top of the card. This will be the top of the box.
- Repeat steps 2-5 using the back half of the card to create the bottom of the box.
- Place a small gift, cash, or gift card in the bottom of the box. If desired, add candy to give the box some additional weight. Place the top on the box and decorate with ribbon or other trimming as desired.
Additional Uses for Old Greeting Cards
- Cut desired designs from old cards and use them to decorate plain gift bags or gift boxes. Use a pinking shears to cut some of the designs for additional interest. Use a glue stick to adhere the cutouts to the bag or box.
- Cut letters from old cards and string them together to create festive banners spelling out holiday-related phrases like "Merry Christmas" or "Joy to the World."
- Mount your prettiest Christmas cards in a group of picture frames or a single collage frame and hang for some special holiday décor.
- These ideas aren't just for Christmas. You can use birthday cards, Valentine's Day cards, and other old greeting cards to create different themes.