Christmas Card Projects: Decorative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards

charger made from Christmas Cards
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.

Christmas Card Trees

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 3/16-inch 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 1/8-inch 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.

Christmas Card Blocks

Spell out your holiday greetings with festive Christmas card blocks. Spray paint 1-1/2-inch wooden blocks with antique white spray paint. Cut 1-3/8-inch squares from six holiday cards so each side features a background from a different card. Use a die-cutting tool or stickers to make 1-inch tall letters. Glue the paper squares and letters to the blocks with a decoupage medium.

Editor's Tip: Great words for this project include "joy," "peace," "merry," "Santa," "Xmas," or "jolly."

Christmas Card Pinecone Ornament

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 1-7/8x2-1/2-inch Styrofoam egg and hot glue petals on in rows, overlapping as you move up.

Editor's Tip: Don't sweat it if the hot-glue melts the foam a bit. It will give the pinecone a natural uneven texture.

Framed Christmas Card Silhouettes

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. 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.

Editor's Tip: Check Christmas card backs for small images for this project. If you want a monochrome Christmas image, cut your image from a solid color piece of cardstock.

Christmas Card Bird Decoration

A bird crafted from an old Christmas card adds handcrafted elegance to a basic gift bag. Find a bird silhouette clipart image (many options are available online), enlarge or reduce to desired size, and cut out. Use your stencil to cut a bird from a pretty Christmas card and another from a solid piece of cardstock.

String a few beads onto craft wire, and tape the wire to the backside of the Christmas card bird so the beads hang below the bird. Use photo tape to secure the cardstock bird to the Christmas card bird. String more beads on the wire above the birds, knot in place, and hang from the handle of Christmas gift bag.

Editor's Tip: For extra pizzazz, hot-glue a gemstone eye to the bird.

Miniature Christmas Card Village

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.

3-D Christmas Card Ornament

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.

Wine Gift Label

Make a wine gift label feel more personal by adding a handmade gift tag made from recycled Christmas cards. Cut a 2-3/4x6-3/4-inch rectangle from red cardstock. Score the card 2-1/2 inches from the top, and use a 1-1/4-inch hole punch to create an opening for the neck of the wine bottle in the center of the upper section. Punch a 1-1/4-inch hole in gold cardstock; punch around the hole with a 1-1/2-inch hole punch, creating a ring. Glue the ring around the hole in the red backing. Cut a 2-5/8x3-1/4-inch rectangle from a Christmas card, and glue to the bottom section of the red backing.

Canning Lid Christmas Card Ornaments

Create a charming snow globe-like ornament with simple canning materials and old Christmas cards. To form the background, trace around a 2-3/4-inch 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.

Flip the canning lid over onto acetate sheet. Hot-glue around the rim on the acetate, and let dry. Place on a self-healing cutting board, and trim excess acetate and hot glue. Use photo tape to add leftover cutouts to the clear acetate.

Editor's Tip: Add a snowy, sparkly outline to your ornament by trimming the edge of the rim with glitter.

Christmas Card Poinsettia

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-, 3-1/2-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 1/2-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.

Christmas Card Place Card

Add a personalized touch to your holiday table with this recycled Christmas card craft. Place markers made from Christmas cards make great holiday keepsakes for guests. Cut a 2x3-inch piece of cardstock paper that complements your dinnerware; fold in half. Add a polka dot ribbon for trim, a printed piece of paper with your guest's name, and a thin red ribbon for where the polka dot ribbon and the name tag meet. Cut a Christmas tree from a Christmas card, and use a foam adhesive to mount on card. Tuck a die-cut photo ornament behind the polka dot ribbon as shown. Finish with a bow.

Christmas Card Ornament Art

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.

Christmas Card Gift Tags

Why purchase gift tags when you can whip up fancy economical versions in no time? The bird motif is recycled from a greeting card and fussed up with a scalloped circle mat and adhesive gems. Using a 1-1/2-inch-diameter circle punch, punch out a decorative portion from the greeting card and a plain circle from the back of the card. Punch a scalloped circle from red cardstock. Glue decorative circle to center of scalloped circle. Add a clear gemstone to center of each scallop on red cardstock circle. Fold an edge of the plain circle to create a narrow flap (flap should be about 1/4-inch at widest point). Glue flap to back of scalloped shape.

Christmas Card Photo Trim Ornaments

Trim the tree with personalized ornaments made from old Christmas cards. For each trim, cut a 2-inch ornament shape from olive cardstock. Using a 1-1/2-diameter circle punch, cut photo from greeting card. Using 1-3/4-inch-diameter circle punch, cut a circle from silver or white cardstock. Glue photo to silver or white cardstock circle; glue silver or white circle to olive ornament. Thread ribbon through hole in ornament and tie in a bow for hanging loop. Add a small bow at base of ornament cap if desired.

Christmas Card Banner

Hold on to too-pretty-to-toss Christmas cards for a fabric and ribbon banner. Maximize your favorite greetings by alternating triangle-cut illustrations with handwritten and printed sentiments.

Christmas Card Candleholders

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

Christmas Card Charger

Cut and paste old photo greetings to the rim of a plastic charger and enjoy smiles all around while you eat. A napkin cinched with a paper bow adds a festive "ring" to the setting.

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