15 Decorative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards

whimsical holiday greeting card ornaments
Photo: Carson Downing

If Christmas cards are piling up and you're running out of ways to display them, start crafting! These creative Christmas card projects are easy-to-make and will put holiday greetings to good use.

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Christmas Card Ornament

whimsical holiday greeting card ornaments
Carson Downing

Rather than throwing this year's Christmas cards away, repurpose them into an ornament you can hang on your tree year after year. This DIY recycled Christmas card ornament is easy to make and will help you preserve your holiday memories for years to come.

02 of 15

Christmas Card Pinecone Ornament

Christmas Card Pinecone Ornament
Jason Donnelly

You'd never guess these chic ornaments started as old Christmas cards. Use a flower punch to punch flowers from Christmas cards of coordinating colors (we looked for browns, creams, golds, oranges, and reds). Trim the punched-out flowers in half, and then in half again so you're left with individual petals. Start at the bottom of a small Styrofoam egg and hot glue petals on in rows, overlapping as you move up.

03 of 15

Christmas Tags

fun modern holiday gift wrap

Decorate your wrapped gifts with pretty tags and toppers made from recycled cards. Since the inside flap of a greeting card is usually blank, you can cut a piece of the front and write your recipient's name on the blank side.

04 of 15

Canning Lid Christmas Card Ornaments

Canning Lid Christmas Card Ornaments
Jason Donnelly

Create a charming snow globe-like ornament with simple canning materials and old Christmas cards. To form the background, trace around a metal canning lid on a pretty Christmas card; cut out. Cut out individual figures from the cards, such as snowflakes, angels, and trees. Glue the background to the canning lid, and use foam stickers to mount some cutouts to the background paper. Add a snowy, sparkly outline to your ornament by trimming the edge of the rim with glitter.

05 of 15

DIY Advent Calendar

Create your own DIY Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar.
Alice & Lois

Cut up colorful cards to make next year's DIY Advent calendar. To make it, cut squares of some of your favorite Christmas cards and use number stickers ($4, Target) and cardstock circles to number each one. Write a family activity or an act of service on the back of each one for your family to complete every day of the month.

06 of 15

Christmas Card Gift Tags

black gift wrap and modern tags

Why purchase gift tags when you can whip up fancy economical versions in no time? Use a circular paper punch ($9, Michaels) to cut out phrases or images from pretty greeting cards, then use a hole punch ($2, Target) to turn them into pretty gift tags.

07 of 15

Christmas Card Blocks

Christmas Card Blocks
Jason Donnelly

Spell out your holiday greetings with festive Christmas card blocks. Spray paint wooden blocks with white spray paint ($6, Target), then cut squares from six holiday cards so each side features a background from a different card. Use a die-cutting tool or stickers to add letters, then glue the paper squares and letters to the blocks with a decoupage medium.

08 of 15

Christmas Card Trees

Christmas Card Trees
Jason Donnelly

These free-standing paper Christmas trees add colorful, country charm to your Christmas decor. Cut various size circles out of Christmas cards, scalloping the edges of some. From the center of each circle cut out a small pie-shaped wedge. Curl the circle into a cone shape (pattern side up), overlap the ends, and tape the back.

To make the base, cut a 2-inch foam ball in half and a thin dowel to desired height. Place the foam ball flat side down, add a drop of hot glue to an end of the dowel, and push the dowel through the foam ball until it stops. Slide the largest cone shape down the dowel, and then twist a small rubber band around the dowel; continue alternating progressively smaller cone shapes with rubber bands. Top the paper Christmas tree with the smallest cone shape and a ribbon.

09 of 15

Miniature Christmas Card Village

Miniature Christmas Card Village
Jason Donnelly

Decorate small spaces with an easy-to-make miniature village crafted from Christmas cards. Cut various house shapes out of similarly colored Christmas cards (we used a blue-and-white color scheme). Leftover pieces can be used to create roofs, doors, and windows. Secure pieces with photo tape, and attach the roof by taping the inside. Use our free printable pattern to get the dimensions of each house just right.

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Framed Christmas Card Silhouettes

Framed Christmas Card Silhouettes
Jason Donnelly

Some Christmas cards are cute enough they deserve to be framed. Cut a small reindeer or Christmas tree image from a Christmas card with a sharp X-acto knife ($6, Target). Remove the oval inserts from wallet-size oval picture frames, and use them as a guide to find parts of Christmas cards that would make nice backgrounds. When you find a background you like, trace around the oval insert and cut out. Tape the reindeer and Christmas tree images to their respective backgrounds, insert into frames, and hot-glue ribbons to the back of frames for hanging

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3-D Christmas Card Ornament

3-D Christmas Card Ornament
Jason Donnelly

Holiday greetings gain new life when you turn old Christmas cards into 3-D ornaments. Choose several coordinating Christmas cards, vellums, and cardstock or scrapbook papers. Make a simple, symmetrical stencil by folding a piece of cardstock in half and drawing one side of what you want your ornament to look like; unfold.

Find the area on each Christmas card where you want to place your stencil, lightly score the area in half, and fold. Lay your folded stencil so both sets of folded edges match up; trace. Cut out 5 to 6 shapes. Arrange cutouts in the order you want them to appear, and punch a small hole at the top of the cutout you plan to have in the middle. Line up 2 cutout shapes at the fold, and machine-stitch up the middle; repeat for the other 3 to 4 shapes. Place the sewn halves together with the halves facing in opposite directions, and hand-sew together. Thread a ribbon through the hole at the top of the ornament for hanging.

12 of 15

Wine Gift Label

Wine Gift Label
Jason Donnelly

Make a wine gift label feel more personal by adding a handmade gift tag made from recycled Christmas cards. Cut a rectangle from red cardstock and score the card a few inches from the top. Then, use a circular hole punch to create an opening for the neck of the wine bottle in the center of the upper section. Cut a smaller rectangle from a Christmas card and glue to the bottom section of the red backing, then hang the tag on the wine bottle.

13 of 15

Christmas Card Poinsettia

Christmas Card Poinsettia
Jason Donnelly

Show your loved ones how much you care by topping their Christmas presents with pretty paper poinsettias handmade from recycled Christmas cards. Create 3-inch-, 3½-inch-, and 4-inch-long petal stencils. Trace the stencils on Christmas cards, and cut out (You'll need 5 each of the small and medium petals cut from red cards and 2 of the large petals cut from green cards).

Punch a small flower to use in the center, and poke holes through the center of the flower and on the inside tips of each petal. Push the punched flower onto a small white brad, add the small red petals, and then the larger red petals; fold over the ends of the brad, and arrange. Push the two green leaves about ½-inch from the bottom of a green pipe cleaner, twist a circle below the leaves (so they won't slide down), and make a decorative curl with the remaining portion. Hot-glue the pipe cleaner to the bottom of the poinsettia.

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Christmas Card Ornament Art

Christmas Card Ornament Art
Jay Wilde

Repurpose last year's cards as Christmas art. Inexpensive to craft, the ornamental design gets even thriftier when you size it to fit a frame you already own.

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Christmas Card Candleholders

Christmas Card Candle holders
Jay Wilde

A pair of red and green candles looks festive during Christmas season. Craft this jolly candleholder duo from your favorite parts of holiday cards.

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