How to Put Old Greeting Cards to Use
If you find it difficult to throw away old greeting cards, consider recycling them into something new. From coasters to notebooks, there are all sorts of cool and interesting things that you can make from greeting cards. If you can't bring yourself to cut them up, then find clever ways to display them instead!
Displaying or Reusing Cards
Tuck cards into mason jars to create a holiday centerpiece.Find 3 cards from a related holiday, such as Christmas. Tuck each card into mason jars of varying sizes; the cards should bend naturally to fit the curves of the jars. Place the jars together in a group on the table, then decorate the centerpiece with ribbons and cut branches.
- Choose ribbons that match the colors of the cards, then tie them into bows around the necks of the jars.
- Cut some branches that match the season of the cards, such as cherry blossoms for Easter, bare branches for Halloween, and pine branches for Christmas.
- Use a large and medium-sized jars for vertically-oriented cards, and small mason jars for small or horizontally-oriented cards. This will allow the cards to fill the jars.
Display simple silhouette cards in matching picture frames.Choose a card with a simple silhouette design on it, such as a red reindeer on a white background. Find a picture frame that is the same size as the card and goes well with the colors. Remove the back, put the card into the picture frame, then reinsert the back.
- You can use an oval frame, just trace the backing onto the card, then cut the card out.
- If the card is too thick for the frame, you will need to cut the back of the card off.
Use clothespins to hang the cards from a string.Cut a long piece of yarn or colored string, and tie a small loop in each end. Use the loops to hang the string from nails. Next, choose cards that go well together, and secure them to the string with wooden clothespins.
- Choose cards from the same occasion, such as a birthday, wedding, or Christmas. Don't mix-and-match occasions, like a funeral and a baby shower.
- Lots of people like to hang garlands from doorways, but you can also hang them from walls, fireplace mantles, bannisters, windows, or even a Christmas tree!
- If this is for a Christmas decoration, use clothespins to secure Christmas cards to an evergreen garland.
Display the cards on a fireplace mantle or windowsill.Find a set of cards from the same holiday or event, such as a birthday, Christmas, or a wedding. Stand the cards up in row on a mantle or windowsill, leaving an equal amount of space between them. Make your display more interesting by doing the following:
- Include both large, small, and medium-sized cards.
- Use both horizontally-oriented and vertically-oriented cards.
- Add a garland that matches the season, such as evergreen for Christmas, or bare branches for Thanksgiving.
- Place some candles or small decorative ornaments between the cards. Make sure that the colors and themes match the cards.
Create a tradition by sending the same card back-and-forth with a friend.Agree with a friend to send the same greeting card back and forth each holiday season. Over the years, the card accumulates notes and becomes a memento, and it might just keep both of you in touch longer.
- Remember to write your name and the date next to each note or message so that you can keep track of who wrote what and when.
Making Cards, Tags, and Envelopes
Cut the front off of a card, then turn it into a postcard.Cut a card down the middle, using the crease as a guide. Flip the front of the card over so that you can see the blank back. Orient the card landscape-style, and draw a vertical line down the middle. Write your message to the left of the line, and the address to the right.
- Remember to leave room for the stamp in the upper right corner!
- Discard the back of the card.
Use a gift tag-shaped craft punch to create gift tags.Choose a card with a full image on the front, such as a Christmas scene or a basket of flowers. Use a gift tag-shaped craft punch to cut new tags from the front of the card. Cut a piece of string, thread it through the hole in the cut-out-tag, and tie the ends together.
- You can buy craft punches that are shaped like gift tags in the scrapbooking aisle of a craft store.
- If the punch does not have a hole in it for the string, you'll have to poke the hole yourself. Use a miniature hole punch to do this.
- Write "To" and "From" on the black/blank side of the tag.
Cut a card apart, then glue it to folded cardstock to make a new card.Cut a down the middle, using the crease as a guide. Next, cut the top, bottom, and side edges off using decorative scissors to create a nice border. Fold a sheet of cardstock in half to make a new card, then glue the cut-up card to the front. Let the glue dry, then write your message inside.
- You can find decorative scissors in the scrapbooking aisle of a craft store. They come in all sorts of shapes, such as wavy and zigzag.
- Choose cardstock in a contrasting color. It will show up as a nice border outside the card you cut.
- Decorate the front of your card with scrapbooking embellishments, such as buttons, rhinestones, or glitter glue.
- Cut a rectangle from white paper a little smaller than your card. Secure it to the inside of your card with glue or double-sided tape, then write your message on that instead.
Use a pillow pouch template to turn a card into a gift pouch.Find a template online for a pillow pouch-style envelope. Trace the template onto the front of your card, then cut it out. Score the folding lines, the fold and glue your pillow pouch together.
- Use a card that's suitable for the occasion, such as a Christmas card for a Christmas gift pouch.
- Decorate the gift pouch with rhinestones, glitter glue, and other scrapbooking embellishments.
Using Cards for Other Crafts
Cut a fancy card up to make a puzzle.Cut the front of the card away from the back. Next, cut the front of the card into puzzle shapes; draw the lines out first if you need to. Try to put them back together again when you are done.
- Cards with full images, such as a Christmas scene, work better than cards with a single image or word.
- Keep your puzzle inside an envelope or empty candy tin.
Staple paper to the back of a card to make a mini notebook.Cut a card in half using the crease as a guide. Cut 25 sheets of paper down to the same size as the card. Sandwich the paper between the front and back covers of the card. Staple the card along the edge: once at each end and once in the middle.
- You can use printer paper, binder paper, or sketchbook paper.
- If you want a nicer finish, use cardstock or thin cardboard for the back of the notebook instead of the back of the card.
- For a nicer finish, wrap patterned washi tape over the top edge of the notebook to hide the staples.
Cut apart 4 cards, then stitch them together to make a luminary.Cut the covers off of 4 vertically-oriented cards. Use an awl or a mini hole punch to poke a series of holes along each of the long edges. Thread a yarn needle with yarn or twine, then sew the long edges together with a blanket or whipstitch to make a block. Use the luminary with LED candles.
- Use cards that are from the same event or holiday. Don't mix and match cards, such as birthday and Christmas.
- Make sure that the cards are all the same size and height, otherwise the luminary will turn out crooked.
Make a frame out of cards from a memorable event.Take cards from an event, such as a wedding, and cut the covers off. Glue the cards together to create a rectangle or square. Use a craft blade to cut a hole from the middle a little smaller than a photograph. Choose a photo from the event, then glue it to the back of the frame, so that it shows through the hole.
- Overlap the cards to create a collaged effect.
Decoupage cards onto tiles to make coasters.Choose a ceramic or cork tile, then trace it onto a card. Cut your tracing out, then glue it to the front of the tile with waterproof decoupage glue. Seal the top and edges of the card with more decoupage glue. Let the glue dry, then add a second coat.
- If you are using a ceramic tile, glue felt or cork dots to the back so you don't scratch your table.
- Some glues need to cure for several days. Read the label on the bottle for complete drying instructions.
- You can use this technique to decoupage the cards onto other items, such as boxes or notebooks.
Creating Banners, Garlands, and Ornaments
Turn cards into 3D ornaments.Use a 2-inch (5.1-cm) craft hole punch to cut 5 to 6 circles from the front of a Christmas card. Fold the circles in half, with the design facing in. Glue the front of each folded circle to the back of the next circle to make a ball. Poke a hole in the top of the ornament, then thread a piece of string through it. Tie the ends together to make a loop.
Make several 3D ornament balls, then string them together for a garland.Use the step above to make several 3D ornament balls. Use a tapestry needle to thread them onto a long piece of string. Tie a knot to either side of each ball to keep it in place. Tie a loop in each end of the string, then hang the garland up.
- You can use this method to create garlands for other occasions, such as Halloween or Easter. Simply use cards from that occasion or holiday.
Use cookie cutters to make Christmas card ornaments.Use a pen to trace a cookie cutter onto the front of a Christmas card, then cut the shape out. Poke a hole in the top of the shape, then thread a short piece of string or ribbon through the hole. Tie the ends of the string or ribbon together to make a hanging loop.
- Reindeer and gingerbread men make great, festive shapes, but you can use others too, such as hearts, stars, or Christmas trees.
Layer cut Christmas cards with cardstock to make fancier ornaments.Cut a 2-inch (5.1-cm) circle from colored cardstock, and a 1 3⁄4-inch (4.4-cm) circle from white, gold, or silver cardstock. Finally, cut a 1 1⁄2-inch (3.8-cm) circle from the front of a Christmas card. Stack and glue the circles together, then poke a hole in the top. Thread thin ribbon through the hole, then tie the ends together to make a hanging loop.
- Use circle-shaped craft hole punches to make your circles nice and neat. For a fancier touch, use a scalloped circle punch for the 1 3⁄4-inch (4.4-cm) circle.
- Embellish your ornament with glitter glue or tiny rhinestones.
Cut cards into triangles, then glue them to a ribbon to make a garland.Choose a set of cards that come from the same holiday or occasion. Cut the front of the cards into 4 1⁄2-inch (1.3-cm) triangles. Glue the bottom edge of each triangle to a 1-inch (2.5-cm) wide ribbon; for a more durable finish, sew across the top with a zigzag stitch.
- How long the ribbon is depends on how many triangles you cut and how long you want the garland to be.
- Leave about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between each triangle. Glue a flat, 2-hole or 4-hole button between each card for a rustic touch.
- For a nicer finish, glue the triangle cards to slightly larger triangles cut from colored cardstock.
- Alternatively, punch a hole in the 2 bottom corners of each triangle, then weave the ribbon up and down through the holes.
- Scan treasured cards into your computer before cutting them up and using them.
- Cut images from the cards, then reuse them as scrapbooking embellishments!
- Cut and fold large cards into boxes or turn them into bookmarks!
- Stick old cards into a scrapbook. You can even punch holes in the sides, and add them to a mini scrapbook binder!
- Donate old cards to charity. Some places actually accept old greeting cards. Use the internet to find out which charities do this in your area.
Things You'll Need
Old greeting cards
Scissors, craft blade, or craft punch
Ribbon or string
Sources and Citations
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Video: What to do with Old Greeting Cards
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