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Cool Ways to Reuse Those Greeting Cards - Christmas, Valentine's, Mother's Day

Updated on September 8, 2014

What to Do With All Those Cards When The Holiday is Over!

Ah, the card tree (or ring or other display option). So lovely and appropriate during a holiday season like Christmas or Easter, but just a pile of paper once the next month hits. Is there life for the greeting card beyond Christmas or Valentine's Day or Mother's Day? You bet! Are those beautiful pieces of art destined to just become trash or shredded recycling? No, I say!

There are tons of crafts you can do that call for greeting cards and - hey! You just happen to have some now! None of these great ideas are unique to me. I've just collected some of the best ones I was able to find to help you out.

So crack out the glue and scissors and let's get started!

Small Gift Boxes & Containers Using Greeting Cards

Great for food, candles or other tiny gifts from holiday cards

Nice small gift boxes are a pain to find. But with these containers, you can make them to just the size you need and beautiful to boot. Perfect for little boxes of candy for teachers' gifts, homemade jewelry or other small item.

Gift Box

Directions from CraftyPod

Supplies: Cards, glue stick, paper to cover inside over writing, scissors (optional: paper cutter), ruler, double-stick tape

Tiny gift boxes

Directions from Scribbit

Supplies: One card, scissors, pencil, glue

Basket

Directions from AllFreeCrafts

Supplies: 14 used holiday or greeting cards, white glue, yarn in complementary colors, computer and printer with paper, printable pattern (found on directions page), scissors, yarn needle, small but sharp-pointed scissors, sharp awl or similar item to poke holes through two cards glued together, optional: crochet hook

I've seen baskets like this for sale on antique websites; the one to the right I found on eBay. Definitely not a new idea! Also don't be afraid to get creative with your size and shape as you cut the cards. I've seen curved ones, ones with lids, buttons added for decoration and more. Check out the vintage greeting card basket group on flickr for some inspiration.

Hexagon box with lid

Directions from JPFun Crochet Club

Supplies: 16 cards 4 1/2" x 6", stick glue or all purpose white glue, small amount glitter yarn, paper punch 1/4" round hole, scissors or cutting mat and rotary cutter, pencil or pen, size G/6 aluminum crochet hook, tapestry needle

Luminaries

Directions from Zakka Life

Supplies: Four holiday or greeting cards (try picking ones with similar colors or themes), small hole punch, embroidery thread (coordinate the color with your cards) , needle, pin



More on Making Gift Boxes - Should you need bigger boxes or further inspiration

Folded Paper Gift Boxes
Folded Paper Gift Boxes

Includes 13 original designs, as well as decorative pages for you to use to start making boxes right away.

 
Creating Books & Boxes: Fun and Unique Approaches to Handmade Structures (Paper Art Workbooks)
Creating Books & Boxes: Fun and Unique Approaches to Handmade Structures (Paper Art Workbooks)

Highly detailed instructions and a great source for all the supplies you'd need.

 

Ornaments & Decorations Using Greeting Cards

Ornaments are one of the more common ways people re-use greeting cards. So here are a few different styles to choose from. Go with a random mix of colors like in the pictures or sort your cards by color to create a more cohesive look. You could even use the written on parts as artistic look by adding more writing or cover it up with wrapping paper.

Ornaments

Directions from AllFreeCrafts

Supplies: used Christmas cards, pencil, scissors, tacky glue, gold cord or ribbon, round template or large coin as shown in directions, optional: glitter hot glue sticks, glitter or sequins

These might be for Christmas but think about other occasions when you make them. I've seen some especially lovely ones made from wedding cards.

Image by Quiet Here on flickr and used under CC license.

Star

Directions from Jenny Harada

Supplies: tons of cards, scissors, pen, ruler, cardstock to print pattern for body, glue

Angels

Directions from AllFreeCrafts

Supplies: one or two cards for each angel, wooden beads, doll hair or yarn, fine black permanent marker, gold or silver chenille stem or brass wire, glass, saucer or compass and pencil, acrylic flesh colored paint, glue, optional - stapler, optional - ribbon or cord if you wish to attach a hanger, optional - paint, sequins, glitter or additional decorations

Gifts to Make Using Holiday Cards

These are nice things to use just about any kind of greeting card for. Festive birthday cards, wedding wrapping paper - all make great options for making gifts later for others. The more special the occasion the card was for, the more special a handmade gift from it!

Sorry, I don't have pictures to go with most of these.

Journal

Directions from craftydaisies.com (which has apparently been infected with malware, so I don't have links to the directions anymore. The image to the right is from there also.)

I love this one because you can use your left-over wrapping paper as well.

Supplies: paper (of all kinds), ruler, yarn, embroidery thread, sewing and embroidery needles, a Popsicle stick, heavy books, buttons, other random crafty bits

Bookmarks

Directions from Family Crafts

Supplies: Used greeting cards, posterboard or cardboard, crayons, markers, or paint, glue

Scented sachets

Supplies: Holiday or greeting card, glue, potpourri or essential oils, hole punch, ribbon

There are several ways you could go about this one. But basically, you're making a little pocket with the card(s). Do it with one single card - giving the pocket a plain back - or put two fronts together for more color. Glue the cards or lace them together. Then just put the potpourri or cotton ball with essential oils down inside. Close up the top with glue, lacing or just add a couple of holes to thread some ribbon. Then you can use the ribbon to hang the sachets around the house.

Postcards

An obvious idea using just the front of the card, which can be cut down to the required size for a postcard. You know what the other side of a postcard is supposed to look like, so draw your line down the middle and you're done. Great way to send thank-yous or even as your holiday cards next year.

Recipe cards

Another great way to use the blank side of the front. Save up the cards, then use them to put special recipes on the back side. Add them into a card, gift or package as a little bonus gift. Love this as an idea for a wedding or baby shower gift add on. (Obviously not for a Christmas card, but probably a good way to reuse a birthday card.)

Watch Other Crafty Card Users & Makers

 

Other Simple, Quick & Easy Ideas Using Greeting Cards

Card Puppets

Directions from AllFreeCrafts

Supplies: old holiday or greeting cards, popsicle sticks, craft sticks or even plastic straws, white glue, kid-safe scissors, bowl or vase, filler weight for the vase (rice, beans, sand etc.) to support the puppets, Optional: white silk poinsettia flower,

Placemats

Supplies: Cards, 11x17 paper, scissors, glue, lamination supplies (clear contact paper will do)

This is actually a fun thing to do with your kids. Again, you can pick cards that are kind of random, have a theme or blend together by colors. Nice way to make a holiday tradition. Make new ones every year with cards from the previous year.

Just make a collage with your favorite pictures - random or rows or however you want to arrange them. Glue them to the paper, then laminate them. The weight of the heavier paper of the cards will give it substance, and the contact paper will keep the paper perfect over the years.

Image by atibens on flickr and used under CC license.
Image by atibens on flickr and used under CC license. | Source

Confetti

Another fun thing to do with the kids. And pretty self-explanatory. Make the confetti with a regular old hole punch or some special Christmas punches of various sizes. The mix would actually be nice; the round punches look like ornaments, then mix them with tree shapes and nice look. Given how long it would take to do the punching, you could keep your kids occupied for hours.

Puzzles

Directions at Making Friends

Supplies: Greeting cards, tacky glue, jumbo craft sticks, scissors, Exacto-Knife with sharp blade, tape

Check Out This System for Reusing Cards

ReGreet Greeting Card Organizer

$20 at UncommonGoods

Thanks for stopping by!

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i think turning these cards into journals is the best way and presentable. Thanks, voted up

    • Pipa-bipa profile image

      Pipa-bipa 3 years ago

      Loved these ideas, definitely need to try origami (or whatever it is shown on the video). Going now to check my cards stock!..

    • profile image

      poutine 4 years ago

      Fun and creative ideas for reusing cards

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens. Love the great pictured crafts.

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 4 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Great ideas for upcycling holiday cards... thanks Susan! My mother used to reuse them on present wrappings the following year. We had to make sure we weren't giving back the same card to the people who gave it to us... but the gifts were beautiful with the old Christmas cards included in the wrapping. Pretty, pretty! Mom was a very talented crafter, and I think I would be too if it were not for the computer!!! I spend more time computing than crafting. But I can dream.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: yes use your old cards to make coasters,use tile 4x4,deccoupage,glue and card..cut card smaller than tile,put deccoupage on top of tile then place card,then spray sealer on card.Then put stickey felt on back of tile.I did not mean too call sealer glue..this is awesome..

    • school cards profile image

      school cards 5 years ago

      Some good suggestions here. My parents used to get their old greetings cards, cut the front out with crimped scissors and use them as gift tags for the next year. I can always remember helping them do this in January and then storing them away for next year. Probably long before self adhesive tags became so cheap and readily available!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Lee Hansen: I LOVE THSES KIND OF CRAFTS TOO.. CAN YOU SHARE WIYH ME WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED..? THANK-YOU

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I LOVE CUTTING OLD PICTURES OF THOMAS KINCADE PICTURES... CHRISTMAS .AND SNOW PICTURES ..OUT AND FRAMEING THEM I PUT A THIN RIBBON ON THEM TO LOOK FRAMED.AND CARDBORD ON THE BACK TO MAKE THEM STIFF... BUT..!!! NOW I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM..DOES ANY ONE HAVE ANY IDEAS...?...ALSO ANY TIPS FOR OLD CHRISTMAS CARD PROJECTS THINGS TO MAKE WITH THEM..[HOMEBODY@COMCAST.NET]

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      GREAT ideas! I am currently cleaning out, sorting through, and otherwise organizing old Christmas/Holiday Cards that my late mother (Jan 2010) had. A way to remember her, and put many beautiful cradfs to GOOD use! ALSO, I had a thought of creating a Christmas Tree from old Cards: Organize, attach the cards into the form of a tree. Cut the outside cards in the form of a tree (like a big triangle).

    • littlelotus profile image

      littlelotus 5 years ago

      creative craft ideas....... thanks for sharing... good for kids and adult... :D I think I might try one or more

    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 6 years ago

      There are some great ideas here! Definitely something to look forward to doing with the kiddies when they're older :-)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I love saving old Christmas cards to use for crafts. You've gathered together a wonderful collection here Susan. This could be the basis for a book ... thanks for sharing!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Really awesome suggestions and instructions!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This year I tried several projects to use greeting cards to make ornaments. My favourite is a birdhouse ornament. The tutorial and printable pdf patterns are on this blog page,

      http://pinwheelponders.blogspot.com/2011/01/birdho...

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 6 years ago from USA

      Wonderful uses for my stacks of too-beautiful-to-throw-away cards. Blessed by a Squid Angel ~

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      Brilliant ideas!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great ideas, very clever. I use recycled Christmas cards instead of buying gift tags, you know those boring tags with to: and from: on them. Instead I cut out parts of cards I like and write on them before attaching them to a gift. Quick and easy, and makes the gift very attractive.

    • LemonTreeDesigns profile image

      LemonTreeDesigns 6 years ago

      What fun ideas !!

    • Sarah Switalski profile image

      Sarah Switalski 6 years ago from Iowa

      These are some really neat ideas! I always save cards because I can't stand to throw them away but then I never know what to do with them! I think the kids at my next story telling event will be making some ornaments from some of my old cards :) You have been blessed and added to my angel lens.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Lots of great ideas here. I'm lensrolling to my Create Homemade Christmas Cards lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      You have so many lovely ideals but I want to a church bazaar once and this little senior lady had recycle the card into a hole new card. It was so unique.I was looking for something along

      this line.But I guess she isn't letting her secret out or something.I will keep trying, thank you for all your wonderful ideals though.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      This is an awesome lens. You can bet I will be trying some of those gift box thingies. Five stars and a lensroll

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @verymary: why

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 7 years ago

      These are wonderful ideas! I especially liked the luminaries and journals. This is now a featured lens on Wrapsacks Reusable Greeting Cards.

    • minkyz profile image

      minkyz 8 years ago

      Really enjoyed perusing this lens.

      Regards Minky

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Nice work! 5***** and lensrolled to squidoo.com/lovestamps

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 8 years ago

      These are excellent ideas, very creative! I gave it a lensroll to my 50 things you can reuse lens.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      I wanted to welcome you to Reuse it all! group! I'm so glad you joined with this great lens and help spread a word about all the ways stuff could be reused! Thank you!

    • profile image

      beachbum_gabby 8 years ago

      pretty cool idea and recycling tips. 5* for you!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Hey Susan! I've lensrolled, rated and favorited this great lens of yours! Only thing left is to ask you join Reuse it all! group! :)

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 8 years ago

      I was just thinking about this not long ago. I remember people making baskets out of greeting cards like you show above when I was a kid in the 1960s. 5*

    • Mortira profile image

      Mortira 8 years ago

      The only thing better than making something is recycling while you do it! Thanks for the great lens. 5 stars!

    • profile image

      chrgr 9 years ago

      Great lens - so many creative ideas !!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Ooh, great ideas! I keep cards - can't bear to throw them away, so I have plenty of materials for these projects. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 9 years ago from Vermont

      Susan, great creative ideas to reuse holiday cards! Lensrolled to my related lenses including Instant Gift Wrap.

    • profile image

      chloecavanaugh 9 years ago

      I love it!

      *****

    • profile image

      flaminglacer 9 years ago

      Excellent lens - Squid Angel Blessing!

    • profile image

      gods_grace_notes 9 years ago

      OOoooo, I LOVE the little gift boxes! Very clever, not to mention homemade pizza; a personal favorite! Great selection of crafty "stuff". Nice job, Welcome to

      Connie's Craftaholics Club! 5 stars & 2 thumbs up!

      Connie...aka Squid Angel

    • profile image

      MuddyLaBoue 9 years ago

      Very cool!