Recycling those holiday cards

December 29, 2006 at 2:52 pm | Posted in recycling | 8 Comments

Whatever holiday you celebrate, you probably got cards. These could come from anyone, including, but not limited to, family and your insurance agent. I have always just put them into the recycling bin at the end of the season, but this year I did something different. I looked around on the net and compiled some ideas for how to re-use them. This is a fun project for kids of all ages, a way to start pulling down the decorations, and a way to get a head start on your holidays next year!You take your cards and carefully remove the front from the back. gift-labels.jpgWhat we did is take Christmas and Yule shaped cookie cutters, or you could use Chanukah cutters, and if nothing else, jar lids, and then traced the shape around the inside saying. This was then cut out and decorated, if desired. We used some gold and silver glitter, and then hole punched it so that ribbon can be pulled through. Do not put the ribbon through now because these can be used for gift tags next year and your gift may already have wrapping (free wrapping) and you don’t want a smashed bow. All you will have to do is write names on it and attach. Then you have a sparkly and themed gift tag to brighten up even the most mundane present! If the shape is a long one, consider making it into a book mark. bookmarks.jpg Next, some of the more “plain” cards, we cut around the front image and again decorated them some if desired. If a person has written on the back side of the front of the card, gluing a piece of colored construction paper will cover it nicely. backs-of-cards.jpg

Now that you have this lovely card all ready, what to do, right? Well, you can use them to send as holiday postcards (we don’t do this cause we don’t send cards) or you can use them as recipe cards. So, when you make that batch of homemade play dough, or a loaf of bread, you can write, or print off on computer and paste, the recipe on the back side of the card and attach to the gift.This not only dresses up the present, but it also allows them to be able to re-create the gift for themselves. If you are a person who uses gift bags, you can even glue the card to the front of a plain paper bag to dress the bag up for the holidays.rec-cards.jpg

Finally, for the really pretty and ornate cards, we again used the front image, dressed it up if desired, and then we recycled scrap fabric by gluing it on the back side of the card.


You can also add that extra ribbon you didn’t use, or that came on a present, on the edge, or even crochet around the edges ( a great way to practice different edging techniques for those later projects). Anything to make it look super fancy. You now have a one-of-a-kind ornament. Again, this can supplement a gift, or you can give it as a gift itself.


We used mostly Freecycled paint, and cotton crochet thread to continue with the frugal theme. However, most of the craft stores have their Christmas and Chanukah item up to 70% off so you can purchase if you want without breaking the bank! To add to the fun, my kids enjoyed using the scraps of paper left over from all the cutting to make geometric (geometry lesson) pictures they glued onto (Freecycled) construction paper. Even our scraps didn’t go to waste! shape-cards.jpg

This project (or projects) can easily be broken down to child size time bits as you often must wait (dreaded four letter word to kids!) for paint and glue to dry. Doing this project also includes some of our home schooling lessons. While doing this we talk about recycling, consumerism, history (paper ornaments, ribbons, crochet), counting, and they also get some science in with viscosity of paints, and art in the color application and mixing. It also works on their fine motor skills and concentration abilities. I plan to put all of these in a small storage box so that if I find something I want to add to them during the year, I can. I also plan to start doing this with birthday and anniversary cards. So, I hope that this gave you a few ideas for things you can do with your cards. There are tons more ideas out there on the net, just look it up! If you want more details, let me know, I am full stuff ; )



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  1. Kamrin,

    Please come to my home immediately and organize my office and clean all the paperwork and junk off of my dining room table. After you finish that, you may go through my clothes and throw out those things that are just not me anymore, don’t fit, or just plain need to get out of my house. And last but not least, you have the authority to clean the bad-thoughts-junk out of my head.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Thanks for all the great ideas. I was happy to get caught up with your family and know that you all are doing well.

    Have a Happy, Happy new year!!!

  3. Ah again I was completely inspired. Must.Seek.Out.All.Old.Cards….

  4. I adore fun crafts like this!
    We’re big on re-using stuff too:)

  5. Great idea, thank you for sharing. They are very pretty.

  6. Great ideas! You rock.

    And hey, one more idea:
    Many of the cards have fancy colored frames around the main image. You can cut out the center image and use the frame as a matte for photos. Most cards are standard 4×6, 5×7 or 3.5×5. You can get frames in those sizes. Put the cards inside the frame and add the smaller photo behind that. That’s a really cool way to use your existing frames for wallet-sizes. I know I have WAY more 4×6 and 5×7 frames than I do those teeny tiny wallet-sized ones. So that way, just add the matte and you can use them for your smaller pictures.

  7. Great ideas! I think the kids will work on this one.

  8. […] Recycling those holiday cards […]

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