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DIY Craft Decoration: How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Recycled Greeting Cards

Updated on October 11, 2017
purl3agony profile image

Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

Christmas ornaments made from recycled cards
Christmas ornaments made from recycled cards | Source

One of the best things about the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards from loved ones near and far. So many of these greetings are so beautiful and creative that it's a shame to throw them away. This easy holiday ornament project is a great way to recycle, upcycle, or reuse your favorite seasonal greetings into decorations that you can enjoy for years to come (you can also use pages from magazines or catalogs and photos!). This project is also a fun holiday activity for children!

I've included directions for making two types of holiday ornaments: a circular ornament and a pyramid. The materials list is the same for both types of ornaments.

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Have cards with special messages or inscriptions?

For this project, I used the images on the front of my cards. But if you have some greeting cards with personal inscriptions, like that sweet note from Uncle Lou and Aunt Ida, why not turn those into an ornament? Follow the directions below, but instead of cutting out your card's image, use your card's message or note as the decorative focus of your ornament. Creating a decoration that displays these personal messages will make an ornament that is truly special.

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Materials Needed

an assortment of holiday greeting cards or some favorite photos or the thicker pages from magazines and catalogs

straight scissors or decorative edge scissors

glitter, beads, buttons, and other items to decorate your ornament

embroidery floss in coordinating colors and a sewing needle (you can also use ribbon, but you will need a hole punch to string the ribbon through your cards)

hole punch (optional)

fishing line or ribbon to hang ornaments

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Circle Ornament

1. First step, select a bunch of greeting cards that you would like to use. You will be cutting round circles out of your cards. You can make your ornament using 3 circular disks, 4 disks, or 5 disks (I used 4 disks). Using a round template (like the top of a peanut butter jar), trace a circle on to your card that captures the image or area you want to use. If you are doing this project with children, you may want to make your circles a little bigger than mine.

2. Cut out your circles using straight scissors or decorative edge scissors. If you would like, you can enhance your card images with glitter, beads, sequins and other craft materials. For instance, I added little pearls to one of my card circles.

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3. Once you have your disks cut out, lay them in a line in the order you want to use them (see photo above). Then take your embroidery floss or ribbon and start sewing the right hand side of disk A to the left hand side of disk B. I found it easier to hold the two circles back to back while I sewed the sides together. If you are doing this project with children or if you are sewing your decoration with ribbon, I suggest putting the disks back to back and punching holes around the edge to make the sewing easier.


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When sewing the circles together leave about a 1/2 inch gap at the top and the bottom of your disks. See diagram above. This will allow your disks to fit together correctly.

(My sewing skills are very basic, so I used just a simple stitch to sew my ornament together. But if you know some fancy embroidery stitches, this would be a great way to show them off!)

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4. Continue sewing your ornament together. Next sew the right hand side of disk B to the left hand side of disk C. If you are making a four-sided ornament, then sew the right hand side of disk C to the left hand side of disk D.

5. Close the ornament form by sewing the right hand side of disk D to the left hand side of disk A. Your ornament should look like the photo above.

handmade ornament from recycled Christmas cards
handmade ornament from recycled Christmas cards | Source

6. Using your sewing needle, draw some fishing line or ribbon through the top of your ornament to make a loop to hang it. You can add some festive decoration to your ornament with curling ribbon or beads. I strung a few small bells to the top of my ornament.

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Pyramid Ornament

1. Using some cardboard, draw an equilateral triangle with 3 equal sides. My template had sides that were each 4 inches long.

2. Cut out your triangle template with straight scissors and use it to draw 4 triangles on your various cards and images.

3. Then cut out your 4 triangles using straight scissors. I would not recommend using decorative edge scissors for the pyramid ornament. Once your 4 triangles are cut out, you can decorate them if you choose with glitter, beads, and trimmings.

4. Decide which of your 4 triangles you want to use as your sides and which triangle you want to use as the bottom of your pyramid. Lay them out like the photo above.

making a pyramid Christmas ornament from greeting cards
making a pyramid Christmas ornament from greeting cards | Source

5. Begin sewing your ornament together as seen in the photo above. I found it easier to sew all the sides to the bottom first, and then sew up the side seams to form the pyramid.

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6. Once you sides are all sewn together, string through some fishing line or ribbon to use as a hanger. I added some beads to the top of my ornament too!

Now hang your ornaments around your house to celebrate the holiday season! And start to gather some Christmas cards for next year's ornaments :)

Copyright © 2013 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.

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    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Chantelle! I hate to throw away any greeting cards. This is a great way to repurpose them and keep enjoying them for years to come. Thanks so much for your comments and share. I appreciate it!

    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 2 years ago from Chicago

      Fantastic idea and it cost so little. Plus it's filled with wonderful memories. Shared to my DIY group.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Hi Valene - Glad you like them. This is a perfect time to make these ornaments: when all of the craziness of the holidays is over, but before you've stored away all your decorations and cards.

      I hope you make something you love! Thanks for commenting!!

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 3 years ago from Missouri

      Love this idea, I have several old Christmas cards too pretty to throw away.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Glimmer Twin - I was thinking of you when I posted this project :) With your sewing and embroidery skills, I'm sure you could make some really stunning decorations with beautiful details! Good luck with your ornaments! I'd love to see them when you're done!! Thanks for commenting. Have a wonderful holiday!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      What a great idea. I always have loads of cards leftover. This would be fun when all the cousins are bouncing off the walls after the holidays too. Thanks for the nice hub.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Deborah! I love your ideas too, especially the gift card box - so clever!! Thanks so much for your comments!!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      Great idea! I recycle Christmas cards (even have my own hub about ways to use them). I will try this.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      You're welcome, Becky! Hope you have a great holiday season!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

    • profile image

      becky 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful project. It will make a great project for the whole family. It's also a great way to be green by recycling old cards.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Heather! My New Year's resolution is to learn to sew better, and then incorporate my fancy new skills into my craft projects :)

      Thanks for your comments, pin, and share!!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      These came out so great. I love your diagrams, too. I like how you decorated the holly with the pearls-- it looks like 3D snow. I also like the images you chose, especially the side of the pyramid with the cardinals in the tree. Sharing and pinning :)

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Suzanne! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who holds on to the cards I receive each year :) I'm glad I found the perfect project to use them and I'm thrilled that you like it too! Thanks so much for your comments!!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, kidscraft! Your comments and support mean so much to me! I appreciate it :)

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Lovely, easy project! Will have to try this when I get out my Christmas cards from yesteryear. Thank you for suggesting what to do with all the excess cards which I want to keep but which take up space to hang onto.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great project, Purl3Agony! I love the idea to recycle greeting cards to create ornaments! It could be also a great project for kids!

      I love your pictures and the diagram! Thank you for sharing!

      Up, pinned, useful, beautiful and awesome!