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How to Recycle Old Holiday Cards into Gift Boxes

Updated on October 2, 2012

Use Christmas Cards to Make Gift Boxes!

Recycle old holiday cards into gift boxes - only a few folds and some tape are required!
Recycle old holiday cards into gift boxes - only a few folds and some tape are required! | Source

Make Gift Boxes Out of Used Holiday Cards

Holidays come and go, and often bring a flurry of greeting cards in their wake. Christmas cards, Birthday cards, and other holiday cards are often thrown into the garbage, and end up in a local landfill. Making your own gift boxes also saves money: don't buy gift card holders and small gift boxes from the dollar store - make them yourself, for free!

Instead of throwing out all of those cards, consider recycling them into useful gift boxes. The process is extremely simple and only requires the use of tape and scissors. These small gift boxes are perfect for small presents: earrings or gift cards fit into the boxes well.

Gifts that would fit into these boxes include:

  • Earrings
  • Gift cards
  • Seed packets
  • Marbles
  • Jewelry
  • Socks (larger cards/boxes)
  • Mittens (larger cards/boxes)
  • iPods or other MP3 Players
  • Candy

Turn Old Greeting Cards Into Gift Boxes

Don't throw away old Christmas cards - re-purpose them into gift boxes!
Don't throw away old Christmas cards - re-purpose them into gift boxes! | Source

Choosing the Right Cards

Select cards which have a centered design, or else the picture may become distorted or lost as you fold the card into a box. Cards with text near the bottom are excellent, as the text will show on the side of the box after folding. Cards must also have a front and back that are equal in size - cards with an overlapping back or a small front will not create a nicely nesting lid and bottom.

The image at the top of this article contains several gift boxes I have made from greeting cards. These little boxes were all Christmas cards in their former life - the final box size depends on the initial size of the greeting card.

I will turn two of the cards in the background into boxes: the "Peace on Earth" card and the "Season's Greetings" card are both great cards for this method.

The "SNOW" card on the left will lose the S and W when the card is folded, and will simply say, "NO" on the lid. This card is an example of one that may not be suitable for use as a gift box.

Four Simple Steps to Make a Gift Box

Cut the card in half, fold the edges into the center, cut tabs, and fold and tape the box together! Click to enlarge.
Cut the card in half, fold the edges into the center, cut tabs, and fold and tape the box together! Click to enlarge. | Source

The Final Step

Fold the remaining card piece up and over the box edge, and secure with tape. This completes the box lid.
Fold the remaining card piece up and over the box edge, and secure with tape. This completes the box lid. | Source

Turn a Card Into a Box in Four Simple Steps

  1. Cut the card in half along the center fold (lengthwise). The front of the card with the picture will become the box lid. The back of the card will become the box bottom. Use a straight edge and place it from corner-to-corner on the card. Mark a small line, then move the straight-edge to cross the initial line. This will create an "X" in the center of the card. This marks the exact center, and will be used as a guide for folding. The "X" may be erased once the folding is complete.
  2. Cut approximately 1/4" off the edges of the back of the card. This will reduce the size of the box bottom so that it nests inside the lid.
  3. Fold the short ends of the box in to the center (marked by the "X"). Then fold the long side of the card in to the center.
  4. Cut the vertical fold marks on the short ends of the card. This will create two tabs on each end of the card - pull the two tabs together and tape them. This will form the short side of the box. Repeat this process for each end of the box lid and bottom. On each end, there will be a remaining card piece jutting out. Simply fold this up and over the box edge, and secure with tape.

Once this is done for each box lid and bottom, the box pieces will be complete.

Finish the Boxes

Add tissue paper or glue scrapbook paper into the box bottom to cover up the text and signatures in the box bottom, if desired..
Add tissue paper or glue scrapbook paper into the box bottom to cover up the text and signatures in the box bottom, if desired.. | Source

Finishing the Boxes

Once the boxes are taped together, simply nest the box bottom into the lid. Since the boxes are made out of old greeting cards, there will be text and signatures visible on the inside of the boxes. If desired, a piece of scrapbooking paper can be glued over the writing on the bottom of the gift box. Tissue paper or batting can also be placed in the box bottom to cushion the gift and hide the writing.


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    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, itakins! It's nice to get in touch with my crafty side every once in a while.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 6 years ago from Irl

      Ingenious and great timing -I love this -Thanks so much

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      I turned most of our Christmas cards into gift boxes this year - the photo cards don't work well for obvious reasons (no bottom for a box), but the traditional greeting cards work beautifully! Thanks for the comment, Trish!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      What a good idea! I often think that greetings cards are wasted and I'm always looking for suitable gift boxes!

      Thanks!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, Peggy! I am going to use the ones I made for gift card holders next year. I may also use a few to package up little candy gifts for stocking stuffers - we're big fans of recycling here!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Leah,

      This goes hand in hand with a hub that I wrote about the importance of recycling. Your idea of reusing Holiday cards or any greeting card for that matter in this way is not only clever but will help keep them out of landfills a while longer. Saves money also! A win-win! Voted all the up ones except funny.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thank you, Turkic! I don't like throwing things away and having them end up in a landfill, so I had to figure out a way to recycle the old cards. I hope it helps!

    • profile image

      Turkic 6 years ago

      I want to tell you something! :) This is the smartest idea I have ever read about! And also your Hubs are incredible.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      PegCole, they really do make beautiful little boxes. The process is simple enough for a six year old to do (with some help and a demonstration), so I'm fairly sure anyone could do it!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      I'm glad the boys liked them, Hyphenbird! My six year old put some of his "gems" into one of the boxes he made - they're great for storing little boy treasures!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      What a great idea to reuse these beautiful cards. Your process is clearly explained and sounds easy to do. Thank you for sharing this useful tip. Peg

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      We did make these at Cub Scouts. The boys loved them and decided they would store Lego figures and other like treasures in these little boxes. Thank you for the great idea!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, randomcreative! I made several out of our old cards and will store them for use next Christmas. Nearly all of them will fit gift cards (we give those out as teacher gifts)!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love to save old card and should definitely start making something with them! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      I'm always late on the game (with regard to articles and seasons) - I wish I had published this two weeks ago! Oh, well - hopefully it will be helpful to people NEXT Christmas, and for other holidays, too (birthday cards also make excellent gift boxes)!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Darn for not having this hub three days ago, I just got rid of mine! What a great idea and I think that I will recycle all of my cards that way.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, Hyphenbird! They're fun to make, and easy enough for kids to do!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I love this idea to recycle and be creative. I will do this at Cub Scouts tonight. Thank you. I am in love with this idea!!!!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      RTalloni - it can be addictive! The boxes are really, really cute. The card paper is sturdy enough to make a really nice little box, and the pictures on some of our cards are really beautiful. I bought gift card boxes from the Dollar Tree this year, but I won't have to do that next year!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, frugalfamily! I've made several from old Christmas cards - they'll come in handy next year!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      What is it about little boxes... Something tells me this could become addictive. :) I can see making these up to put candies, or even cookies in.

      This project could be useful throughout the year. Voted up and bookmarked.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      What an awesome idea! bookmarking this one:)

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