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Recycled Magazine Craft Project: Greeting Cards

Updated on June 18, 2013
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

I cut the green leaves out of a magazine ad.
I cut the green leaves out of a magazine ad. | Source
If you get a weekly magazine and/or a handful of monthly magazines, your stacks can accumulate quickly.
If you get a weekly magazine and/or a handful of monthly magazines, your stacks can accumulate quickly. | Source

After I wrote my article about junk mail crafts, I began to contemplate recycled papers that would make make great greeting card components. Not only will recycled papers save you money with your paper crafting projects but they'll also add whole new dimensions.

I have experimented with magazine components for cards before, but I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to try a whole bunch of new techniques. I had just started a big magazine purge and pulled everything that I would need for these cardsin no time. I hope that these techniques will be helpful for your own card making. Happy crafting!

In addition to magazines, these are a handful of additional recycled paper options to consider for greeting card making:

 
Other Recycled Papers
 
Junk Mail
Newspapers
Catalogs
Old Calendars
Wrapping Paper
Tissue Paper
 
Old Greeting Cards
 

What if you don't subscribe to any magazines? If you want to use magazines for your card making and don't subscribe to any yourself, ask family and friends who do to save them for you. Additionally, ask any offices with waiting room magazines (i.e. doctor, dentist) that you frequent to save them for you.

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Backgrounds: Large and Small

A magazine paper can create a large or small background for a card. As magazine papers are thin and can warp easily, I like to layer larger backgrounds over cardstock to minimize warping. Layer magazine paper behind words or photos to create mattes.

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Tearing for a Natural Look

Create card components with a natural feel by tearing instead of cutting papers. I think that the torn look works well here, as it compliments the nature aspect of the leaf theme. Of course there are many other options for this, including using torn components with kraft papers.

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Using Existing Borders

There are a number of ads and articles that have great printed borders. Many of these borders are an appropriate scale for most standard sized greeting cards. I like to cut borders longer than the cards, glue them down, and then cut off the excess to ensure clean lines.

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Layered with pink scrapbook paper.Small circles on their own.Two different magazine papers in two different sizes layered together.A close up of the two different magazine papers layered together.
Layered with pink scrapbook paper.
Layered with pink scrapbook paper. | Source
Small circles on their own.
Small circles on their own. | Source
Two different magazine papers in two different sizes layered together.
Two different magazine papers in two different sizes layered together. | Source
A close up of the two different magazine papers layered together.
A close up of the two different magazine papers layered together. | Source

Punching

There are numerous possibilities for this. For my examples here, I primarily used circle punches and layered in three different ways.

  • Using punched papers on their own
  • Layering punched magazine papers together
  • Layering punched magazine papers with other papers (scrapbook paper, tissue paper, etc.)

Don't feel limited by this. You can use just about any punch shape with or without any other papers.

Ideas for making greeting cards out of recycled papers.

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Cutting Out Letters, Numbers, Words, and Pictures

Many magazines are full of letters, numbers, words, and pictures in a wide variety of fonts, colors, and sizes. Even magazines that primarily have articles without a lot of color photos and fancy fonts often have interesting ads that can work well for cards. I created three cards for this technique, which are as follows:

  • A 2012 graduation card. I cut out the green numbers from an article with a Top 10 for 2012. This design has been well received. I'll be on the lookout for 2013's for next year!
  • Letter initial birthday card. Design a birthday card for someone with a large letter initial. Many articles start with a large first letter, often in color.
  • "Love your life" over a bare feet picture. I cut up two different ads for this card, which I then layered over green card stock and green plaid scrapbook paper. When you find photos or phrases that you like, save them. Even if you don't know exactly how you'll use them right now, you never know when inspiration will strike later.

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Stamping

Paper punches and rubber stamps are by far my favorite paper crafting supplies, largely because they are so versatile. You can use the same stamps over and over again to create a wide variety of cards.

For my example here, I chose to stamp my leaves in green ink over black text. If you want your stamping to stand out even more than it will by simply contrasting colors, considering embossing.

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Collages

You can create magazine paper colages out of text, pictures, or both. For my example, I chose to layer lots of different colored texts. I got these texts from Entertainment Weekly and Parenting, both of which regularly have articles with different colored headlines and text capsules. I typed "Live, Love, Read" in Microsoft Word and printed it on dark turquoise card stock.

I found an envelope template online that I re-sized to fit my mini cards.
I found an envelope template online that I re-sized to fit my mini cards. | Source

Envelopes

While you're creating your own greeting cards, you might want to consider making your own envelopes to coordinate with them. There are a lot of great envelope templates and tutorials online. Check out these resources from Judy. She includes both templates as well as instructions for creating your own envelopes from deconstructed envelopes. For my example, I chose to make an envelope out of a text page, but you can use pages with pictures, too.

I used a flower punch with text and solid color magazine pages, which I layered over scrapbook paper punched circles.
I used a flower punch with text and solid color magazine pages, which I layered over scrapbook paper punched circles. | Source

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    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, starstream! I appreciate the feedback.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 3 years ago from Northern California

      Your article really covers a variety of ideas. I think you did a wonderful job of exploring and introducing many ways to recycle papers and magazines for creative card and envelope making. What a nice idea.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, torrilynn! I agree.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      nice idea. recycling helps the environment and turning something into a greeting card which can be given as a gift is always good . thanks and voted up.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You're right about the supplies, VictoriaSheffield! It's nice to save money anywhere that you can.

    • VictoriaSheffield profile image

      Author Victoria Sheffield 3 years ago from Georgia

      I absolutely love the idea of recycling. I sew and do crafts and sometimes supplies can be very expensive.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Deb! I really appreciate that.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Hey, Rose. I know now that the pin glitch was the result of the whole Pinterest/Hubpages debacle last week. Now that issue has been resolved, I did go back and got it pinned.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm glad that this article is useful for you, twoseven! Have fun with your magazines. :)

    • twoseven profile image

      twoseven 3 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I love this! I have so many old magazines with such beautiful pictures in them. But I needed some guidance on how to use them! This will be very fun - and save me money too!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, I appreciate it, Anamika!

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 3 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Awesome stuff! Pinning for reference.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Deb! Sorry about the pin glitch. You'll have to try again later.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Hmm ... not letting me pin it for some reason.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Awesome! I missed this one the first time around. I love recycling projects. Going to pin this.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Availiasvision! Really glad you enjoyed.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 4 years ago from California

      Very well done Hub with tons of pictures of all of the options for crafting. What a wonderful idea!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Jaya! So glad to hear it.

    • Jaya Sanghita profile image

      Sanghita Chatterjee 4 years ago from Kolkata

      Amazing projects!! Thanks for sharing!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Cyndi, sounds like a good plan! Have fun. :)

      Elle, that's great!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 4 years ago

      I have a few bags full of cut out pieces from magazines that I finally convinced myself to get rid of (the magazines not the cut outs), now I have another idea of what I can use them for!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      What cool ideas! I actually have a bunch of scrapbook paper and magazines I need to purge, but before I do, I think I'll make a few cards. Thanks for this - awesome ideas!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Vicki! That's great. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this article.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great ideas, as always. I love recycling and reusing things. Beautiful hub with great photos!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Om!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Nice! I like all these ideas. What creative ways to recycle magazines!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! Sounds like a good plan!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I love it! My roommates are throwing out stacks of magazines right now, but I was kind of tired of making bowls. Maybe I will try this for Mother's Day cards. (I'd better get the scissors out fast!)

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Audrey!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Love these! What a great idea!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! As I continue to write craft articles about recycled products, I'm more impressed every day by how many great ideas out there. If people can gain access to these wonderful resources, many will use them.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      People need practical knowledge to contribute in environment protection like your sharing in this hub. Thank you for this useful idea.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Cara! These ideas will definitely keep until the summer! You can have fun putting together some of them with your kids when you're all a little less busy (hopefully).

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Another awesome craft hub! If only I had more time to be able to create some of them! Maybe I'll have a little more time this summer. :)

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      My husband does, too! That's a great idea for magazine pages and inspiration.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Rose, my husband gets those gaming magazines that have all kinds of cool textures and graphics in them.. I am always going through them to look for patterns and things.. great hub!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks RTalloni! I agree about the video. :)

      Thanks SantaCruz! I appreciate the share.

    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 5 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Once again you've posted a beautiful craft article. Thanks! I shared it on FB.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Your hubs on recycled materials for projects are always interesting, and this one is no exception. You've got some lovely ideas and samples here, but I'm not sure the guy in the video is ever going to be able to take his own advice about selling cards on the street! :)

      I enjoy making cards and I find the envelope making fun as well. Good job here!