Repurpose Old Cards Into Something Great

Today’s guest post comes to us from VelociBadgerGirl, a great writer with a passion for green issues and overall awesome human being.

If you’re anything like me, every year at the end of the holiday season, you’re left with a pile of greeting cards from family and friends, and no idea what to do with them.

Some people throw them out or toss them in the recycling bin, but I always feel too guilty.

It’s a problem, I know, but in the meantime, I really don’t want to collect boxes upon boxes of used X-mas cards. Luckily, there are a few solutions for those of us too sentimental to throw our cards out, but too practical to store them in the attic.

1 ) Card boxes

My mom uses her leftover cards to make little custom gift boxes that she can use for small gifts the following year. Find a template for a box with a bottom and a lid, like this one.

Use a copy machine to shrink it down to size, or just copy it onto your own paper with a ruler. Be sure to make the lid a tiny bit larger than the bottom so that the lid will fit over the outside of the main part of the box. Cut the lid piece from the pretty front of the card, centering it on whatever part of the design you want to feature. Cut the bottom piece from the inside of the card. Mom usually put the inscription to the inside and the shiny back of the card to the outside, but it doesn’t really make a difference.

Use glue or tape to assemble your boxes, and voila!

Custom recycled gift boxes for use next year or through this one!

2 ) CD ornaments

My sister likes to make Christmas tree ornaments for her friends at college, since money is always tight. She came up with a really cute recycled card ornament idea. This one has the added benefit of recycling an old CD as well as an old greeting card.

You’ll need a pretty holiday card, an old CD or CD-Rom, some ribbon, a soft cloth or paper towel, a foam craft brush or other old paint brush, a hot glue gun, and a jar of Mod Podge adhesive. I prefer the matte finish, but that’s totally up to you!

Align the CD on the front of the card so that the part of the design you want to feature is centered. Most spindles of CD-Rs have a clear plastic disk exactly the size of a CD, which would be perfect to use as a pattern for this craft. Trace around the CD with a pen. Cut out the circle, making it a little smaller than the outline.

Brush Mod Podge onto the back of the card circle, and carefully place it glue-side down on the LABEL SIDE of the CD. Use the soft cloth or a paper towel to smooth out the bubbles. You should see a small border of the shiny CD around the card circle. (I’m guessing this would also work with scrapbooking spray adhesive, but I’ve never tried it.)

Once your ornament is COMPLETELY dry, brush a coat of Mod Podge onto the front of the ornament. This will seal it and make it shiny.

Finally, hot glue a loop of ribbon onto the back of the ornament.

If you don’t have a hot glue gun, experiment with sandwiching the ribbon between the card circle and the CD.

3 ) St. Jude’s Ranch

If you’re not crafty but you still want your cards to be re-used, you can send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a home for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. The residents of the Ranch recycle old greeting cards to make new custom cards, which they sell for pocket money. For more info about the program and the Ranch, visit their info page.

Cards are being accepted at the following address until February 28, 2009:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

4 ) POST-HOLIDAY RECYCLING BONUS: Recycle your broken Christmas lights!

Two strings of lights on my tree went dead this year, and as much as I hated to throw them out, I didn’t know what else to do with them. Then, a coworker sent me a link to a Christmas light recycling program.

According to Holiday LEDs’ website, the strands are amassed and then sent to a third party recycler, who runs them through a shredder and recycles what they can from the lights and wires (like glass, copper, and PVC).

As a bonus, they’ll send you a 15% off coupon good for anything on their site in exchange for your old lights!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. On any other day you can find VelociBadgerGirl at Pardon the Egg Salad, where you will laugh, might possibly cry, and will definitely be amazed at her reading list.

7 Responses to Repurpose Old Cards Into Something Great
  1. SimplyForties
    December 26, 2008 | 4:31 pm

    I use my old Christmas cards as gift tags for the next year. I also use them for various scrapbook projects.

  2. Kerri Anne (
    December 26, 2008 | 9:39 pm

    I love the scrapbooking and gift tag ideas, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Just this week I turned four old cards into two large postcards of sorts, making a collage out of bits and pieces of the cardstock and design. I really liked the way they turned out! As a bonus, every time you repurpose a card it becomes 100% original and, thus, doubly awesome.

  3. funfelt
    December 27, 2008 | 11:48 pm

    You can glue them onto cardstock or construction paper and make a little word book for preschoolers/kindergartners. Example: left side of page is a card with a snowman on it, right side says either the word Snowman or several words like Snow, Hat, Carrot etc. Or a sentence, I see one snowman. Or a question or word problem using the picture. Add it to your library or save it for next year!

  4. Kerri Anne (
    December 28, 2008 | 5:37 pm

    Those are such great ideas. Especially for anyone who is home-schooling their kiddos. Thanks so much!

  5. Craftzilla
    December 29, 2008 | 2:47 pm

    Wow, that recycling info is great! I also had a couple of stands go dead and am transitioning to LED lights. Thanks!

  6. Buy ambien.
    July 30, 2009 | 3:36 am

    Buy ambien….

    Buy ambien….

  7. Vantneejemo
    September 27, 2009 | 9:38 am

    Thank you for great post!