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Recycle Old Christmas Cards: Craft Ideas and More

Updated on September 10, 2016
randomcreative profile image

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

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Do you have a hard time throwing out old Christmas cards? Instead of letting them sit around your home in boxes, recycle them into craft projects. There are several fun ways to preserve them as well as a number of methods for re-purposing them into brand new items. With projects ranging from wreaths to gift boxes to kid games, there is something here for everyone. Many of these projects are suitable for both kids and adults. Happy crafting!

What can you make with old Christmas cards?

Ideas for Recycled Christmas Cards
Card Books
Ornaments
Garlands and Pendants
Gift Tags
Wreaths
Canning Jar Toppers
Kid Games
Gift Boxes
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Card Books

I saved Christmas cards for five years before I finally stumbled on a project that I loved. I fall into the category of people who don't want to throw away their cards and loved the idea of turning them into little coffee table books. You can pick up binder rings at any office supply store. In the first post that I link below, I detail a number of tips for including different items in your books, such as Christmas letters and photos.

Christmas Ornaments

There are a number of tutorials out there specifically for Christmas card ornaments, but you can customize many different types of tutorials for paper ornaments. As long as the design will work with a thicker paper, it should be just fine for a Christmas card. Many people opt to make 3D ornaments that each feature multiple cards, but of course you don't have to feel limited to this.

Garlands and Pendants

Most of the tutorials that you find for Christmas card garlands are garlands designed to display your Christmas cards. While there are some fabulous display garlands, there are some great recycled Christmas card garlands out there as well.

Gift Tags

In my quest to eliminate expenses for wrapping Christmas presents, I have started to keep my eye open for creative recycled gift tags. Christmas card gift tags are a great option. All you need is a paper punch or pair of scissors, a hole punch, and some ribbon or string. Of course you can have fun decorating your cards, too.

Holiday Crafts from Recycled Paper and Greeting Cards: Gift Tags, Square Quilted Card, Crazy Quilt Bookmarks

Wreaths

Jump on the wreath trend and fashion your old Christmas cards into a new holiday decoration. You'll enjoy getting to re-visit your favorite cards each year when you get it out again. Similar to the garlands, there are a number of tutorials out there for wreaths designed to display Christmas cards. However, there are also a few tutorials for recycled cards.

Canning Jar Toppers

Are you planning to give Christmas gifts in canning jars? For example, many people opt to gift cookie and other cooking mixes and baking mixes in canning jars. Why not decorate the jar tops with recycled Christmas cards?

Kid Games

Kid Games

This idea never would have occurred to me, but it is brilliant. The tutorial below details how to create jigsaw puzzles and memory games out of old Christmas cards. Like many of the tutorials in this article, you can customize this concept with any kind of greeting card. Kids may not want to play with Christmas puzzles all year round, but you can create additional games out of birthday cards and much more.

Gift Boxes

Christmas cards can be transformed into sweet little gift boxes for numerous different kinds of small gifts. They are so pretty that the recipients won't want to throw them away. You never know when you'll see one pop up under the tree again next year.

Recycle Christmas Cards: Mini Boxes

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    • Mario Johns profile image

      Mario Johns 

      5 years ago from United States

      cool

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      No worries!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Oops, I just noticed I wrote "car" instead of "card". At least you knew what I meant!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, Kathryn! Best of luck with your card projects. :)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Great ideas. I have a few years worth of Christmas cards, and I have plans to make a car scrapbook with them. But I really like the card books. I'll definitely refer back to this article when I have spare cards to use. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. I like to recycle and reuse when I can.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Torri! Have fun with these new ideas.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      Randomcreative,

      Really great idea to recycle christmas

      Cards, i would have never thought of that

      Thanks for the new idea will be using in

      The future. Thanks and voted up .

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Love this! Wonderful ideas and I'm sitting here wondering what I did with all my Christmas cards. Hehe. I think I want to try out the wreath idea. :D

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great. I agree that the card books are so cool! Sometimes my family tears off the front of a card to use it to decorate a package. We started doing that when we were traveling with packages and didn't want smashed bows. I stopped buying bows after that.

      Cool hub. Voted up and more!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Jamie! I am so happy with my Christmas card books and have gotten a number of compliments on them. You're right about the possibilities for cards as altered art books/book components of sorts. There are so many options.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Rose- I love the card books with the binder rings! HOW CUTE! I think it's such a great idea... If someone has saved a lot of cards and didn't mind parting with them, the cards themselves would be a great base for pages of a journal and kind of turn it into a photo or art journal, maybe tie some ribbons around the binder rings to jazz it up. Hope that made sense! Anyway, love this hub.. there is so many different things that can be done with Christmas cards received over the years and you have shared LOTS of great ideas here :)

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Purl, I'm glad that you got some new ideas here!

      Carol, old cards are perfect for decoupage. It's always exciting when you can reuse materials.

      Yvonne, thanks! You'll have to bookmark this and make a wreath next year.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      5 years ago from UK

      There's some great ideas here. We've done the gift tag one many times and made other cards from bits of cards, but I'd never have thought of making a wreath. Sadly, this year our cards have gone off to be recycled, so I'll have to wait another year to try these out!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I used some old cards in a decoupage project. I love using old things and getting a second go around. Great ideas here. Voting Up and pinning...

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is a great hub. I've used cards as garland, but you've shared some other great ideas. Love it!!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Rosie! I'm the same way. Cutting cards up into bookmarks is a great idea.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      These are great ideas. I can never throw away Christmas cards or any other kind of card for that matter. They end up in boxes in the attic. I have cut them into wide strips and given them to students to use as bookmarks. Voted up and useful.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Natasha! That's great. Post card books are a neat idea, too.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      I really like the mini gift box idea! That's cool. I've turned old cards into tags in the past, and I know someone who makes postcard books, but I'd never thought to make boxes.

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