Every year post offices around the world deliver over a billion Christmas cards. During the holidays, they make nice decor, but what should you do with them afterward? Craft them into something new, of course!
Before you throw those Christmas cards you got in the mail this year away, consider upcycling them. You can make some cute decorations for next Christmas or even come up with some fun holiday gifts.
Make Magical Christmas Magnets
When you look at a Christmas card and see designs on it you like—maybe a cute reindeer or a beautiful Christmas tree—you may be thinking of ways you can save that particular element. A great way to save it, and ditch the rest of the card, is to make that portion into a magnet.
Cut out the parts you like and stick a magnet to the back of them. You can make sturdier magnets using cardboard and resin if you want something a little more challenging to craft. This video gives you some basic instructions for making resin magnets.
Amazing Clear Cast Epoxy Resin Kit Deep Pour Epoxy Resin by Alumilite, 20x Disposable Plastic Resin Mixing Cups, Pixiss Mixing Sticks Bundle
This resin kit comes with everything you need to get started on sealing your paper ornaments.
Make a Unique Christmas Tree Ornament
Even the parts of your Christmas cards you don’t want to keep for other crafty projects may leave you with enough pieces to use to make this clever and cute little Christmas tree ornament. You’ll definitely want to invest in a paper cutter for this one, so you can get those straight and even lines.
Create Colorful Orb Ornaments
If you want to make a colorful ornament that needs a little less measuring, this orb ornament just needs a larger circle hole punch, some scissors, and some glue. You can use multiple cards to make something really fun and colorful.
This video walks you through the project step-by-step and includes a bonus tutorial on making fun ornaments using scrapbooking paper.
Put Together a Decorative Garland
You can use that circle punch from your previous ornament making, or if you’re not worried about perfect circles, cut out circles from old Christmas cards and turn them into a decorative garland. This is such a simple project.
As the video shows, you can use a pretty sparkly sticker on the backs of each card circle to affix your cord, or you can glue another card circle on the other side if you can’t find stickers that bring you joy.
Design an Upcycled Wreath
This clever wreath uses your old Christmas cards cut up in the shape of holy-style leaves. You’ll cut out a leaf template, then use that to draw out the rest for cutting. The finished leaves are then attached to toothpicks and stabbed strategically into a styrofoam wreath.
Fold Little Vintage Christmas Houses
Little “putz” houses have been a holiday staple in many homes for many decades. The term “putz” is derived from the German word “putzen” or “to decorate or adorn.” The putz houses are descended from traditions found in various Central European cultures focused on crafting small but elaborate Christmas scenes with sticks, moss, upcycled paper, bits of fabric, and so on.
Today, they are traditionally made with cardboard and craft supplies. While they can be made from cardboard (which is in no short supply around the holidays!), you can easily recycle some of your old Christmas cards to make wonderfully colorful little homes to build yourself a Christmas village. By using cards the walls of the little houses are already pre-decorated and all you need is a little glitter and fake snow and you’re in business!
Make Your Old Cards into New Christmas Cards
Instead of buying Christmas cards each year, reuse the ones you got in the mail the previous year. No, you’re not going to white-out the greetings, you’re going to use the best parts of the cards to make your own. The following video shows how simple it is, but you can also add sayings from old cards inside, add glitter ribbon, or any other scrapbook type materials to come up with unique cards.
Cut Up Gift Tags for Next Year
While you can simply cut out tag shapes from your old Christmas cards, there are crafty punches in all sorts of tag shapes, from round to rectangle. A craft punch will make making tags a lot easier on your hands and isn’t super expensive.
This video shows how easy it is to turn old cards into next year’s gift tags with a round punch. Make the hole for your string with a basic hole punch.
UCEC 2 Inch Paper Punch, DIY Handmade Craft Punch Shape Circle Punch Great for Crafting Scrapbooking Cards Arts Fun Projects
Make punching out tags easier with a craft punch that works.
Delightfully Decoupage a Box
Decoupage is such a fun and easy craft to do. All you really need is something to glue on something else and the glue. In this video, you’ll learn how to decoupage a box using an old Christmas card, but you can use your Christmas cards to make beautifully decoupaged wall hangings, vases, and more.
Create Some One-of-a-Kind Jewelry
Whether you like earrings or necklaces, you can create fantastic paper jewelry with old Christmas cards, glue, and the right jewelry making equipment. You can also use the tricks you learned in the magnet making video above to encase your favorite card parts in resin for rings, bracelets, and other cool jewelry pieces.
This paper earring instructional video combines paper with some cute charms for something a little extra.
Piece Together Some Holiday Placemats
Decorate your table every Christmas with your favorite old Christmas cards by turning the cards into placements. This is a fairly easy craft to do, and it makes those old cards get a second life. You can do this with other holiday cards, including birthdays—then every time it’s someone’s birthday in your home they get a special placemat.
We have two tutorials for you. The first one is from Aesthetic Nest and is a wee bit trickier because you need a circle punch and a template to cute larger circles—but the end result, seen above, is really eye-catching! If you’d like a design that takes advantage of the natural rectangular shape of the cards though, you can use this tutorial from Life of a Homebody.
Turn Them Into Bookmarks
You’ll never need to buy a bookmark again once you read the tutorial on how to turn all of your greeting cards into book placeholders. You can do it with Christmas cards, or any other cards you have lying around. Start gifting a homemade card anytime you give someone the gift of books.
Here’s a rundown on the project courtesy of The Frugal Girls.
Stitch Up a Cute Basket
These little trinket baskets are absolutely adorable. Gift them, use them to hold your ornaments hooks, or put some of your favorite Christmas candies in them. While they require some sewing, they’re still pretty easy to make.
There are so many great things you can do with old greeting cards, including Christmas cards. Get crafty and keep some of those cards out of the landfills!