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Recycled and Reused Christmas Card Crafts

Sometimes I’m really good at decluttering! At other times articles just spark my creativity, and I have a hard time parting with them. This explains my large stock pile of acquired Christmas cards from years past. The age of sending Christmas cards is waning which makes each card that arrives an even greater treasure. Here are a few ways I’ve found to incorporate these beautiful snippets of Christmases past into reused Christmas card crafts.

A Little History on Christmas Cards

Have you ever had an overwhelm from text messages that needed your attention? Nineteenth century Henry Cole experienced the same overwhelm from the collection of holiday well-wishes that demanded his response! I remember reading de Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’, and being slightly amused that she spent her mornings answering correspondences with her personalized stationary! But it demonstrates the expectations of English society in the cultural time period. In an effort to batch the replies, Henry Cole had a friend create an artistic triptych that he sent to a London printer. Each card also carried a generic holiday greeting. Henry was able to simply add a name to each and mail them away. Thus the first Christmas card. Not sure what they did to upcycle those. Check out the Smithsonian Magazine’s article for more of the story.

Framed Christmas Cards

Two side by side framed Christmas cards. One is a nativity framed in green and the other is a Christmas tree framed in mustard.

Greeting cards come in all shapes and sizes, but standard 4×6″ or 5×7″ cards are simple to frame! They’re an easy way to add holiday cheer to every room by tucking them into shelves and corners. I like to add framed cards to my bathrooms on the counter and sometimes surround them with tinsel, greenery or candles. Although it may be a stretch to call this a DIY craft, it’s a wonderful way to reuse those Christmas cards.

Framed Christmas card on a bathroom vanity surrounded by greenery, ornaments and a candle.

At a crafting event, we went a step further by pin pricking holes in the card design and then taping battery operated lights behind for a beautiful effect! That would be a legitimate reused Christmas card craft.

Christmas Card Gift Tags

Another beautiful and simple upcycle idea is to trim around a Christmas card design and use it as a gift tag! I love beautiful gift tags, and it’s fun to match the card design to a wrapping design.

For another fun gift wrapping idea, check out my DIY bottle carrier post.

Christmas Card Paper Chain

The traditional ringed paper chain is another reused Christmas card craft! You may remember making red and green paper garlands as a child. I experimented with the same idea to create a Christmas card paper chain. I love all the glossy rich colors of the printed cards! If the image, size or design won’t lend itself to gift tags or framed art, it may do well as part of this child’s craft.

For this reused Christmas card craft, cut the cards into your pre-determined strip size (I cut mine 1/2 inch by 7 inches). These look best with the color showing on both the inside and the outside so you will need to glue two strips back to back before forming them into a loop. I used glue stick for my paper card chain. Once you have the two-sided strip created, you will need to form it into a ring while your glue is still tacky. I glued the loop closed and held it for a minute until it stayed. It would also be fairly easy to hold the loop with a paper clip or clothespin while it dries and hardens.

Obvious note: You will need to connect the loops as you are creating them. You can’t make a pile of separate loops and then expect to be able to link them together!

Christmas Card Origami Star

And then there’s the Origami Star. This recycled Christmas card craft makes little stars that I tuck into the branches of my Christmas tree. You could also string them and hang them from the branches if you like.

A folded origami star tucked into a Christmas tree beside Christmas balls.

To make the five-pointed star, use a star-shaped cookie cutter to trace onto your card. Then with a ruler as your straight edge, fold from the center of each point to its opposite side indentation. Once you have all five fold lines created, rework the folds so that each point-to-center line pops up and each indent-to-center line folds down. You just created an origami star! It’s so easy.

A white paper star with a ruler laid across it from tip to opposite indentation.

If you don’t have a cookie-cutter, you can sign up for my montly email newsletter and have the star template sent immediately to your inbox.

Paper with printed star template beside cut Origami Star.

Other Reused Christmas Card Crafts

I haven’t tried this yet, but you could also cut equally-sized circles or square shapes from several cards to make coasters. You could decoupage these into a firmer form. Or use a tiny hole punch around the edges of two stacked shapes and hem stitch the edges together.

And you can always repurpose your cards into new Christmas cards! Print your own inside message onto cardstock and trim an old card to become the new cover!

What other ideas do you have? Be sure to share with all of us in the comments below.

Christmas tree shown with paper garland and origami star.

Hold onto those cards

If you’ve been sending me lovely snail-mail Christmas cards, I hope you’ll be pleased to discover that I’ve kept each one for years! I hope I’ve inspired you to hold onto your own Christmas cards and give them new purpose as reused Christmas card crafts either this year or next!

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