4 creative ideas for recycling and reusing Christmas cards
Waste not, want not!
The wind and rain may have kept us indoors today but we have had a lovely afternoon recycling and reusing Christmas cards and paper. We gained a bit of confidence by making some simple gift tags and bookmarks and then advanced to making some of the lovely gift boxes that Grandma Spikes suggested. It ended up being a fun and thrifty afternoon…’The rain never bothered us anyway…’
Equipment: scissors, ruler, pencil, glue, credit card/membership card, thin ribbon, (a hole punch, cutting mat and rotary cutter are also useful but not essential).
1. Gift tags.
Yes, I know these are simple and not the most inventive of recycling ideas but I had forgotten how beautiful and unique every tag can be if you have a nice pile of good quality Christmas cards and a bit of imagination when it comes to choosing the right elements of the cards for tags.
First of all, choose a Christmas card with a design that would make a nice tag. Then you need a template to draw around. I find that an old credit card or membership card makes a perfect gift tag template.
Place your template over the image you want to use for your gift tag and lightly mark around it with a pencil. I use my rotary cutter and metal ruler to cut out the tag shape but if you don’t have these marvelous little items then simply cut along the pencil lines with a pair of scissors. I am so tempted to tell you all to ‘get your mum or dad to help you or use safety scissors’…I feel like I’m on Blue Peter!
Once you’ve cut out your tag, make a hole, either at a corner or in the middle of the shortest edge, depending on your design. Then thread ribbon or decorative thread through to complete your little gift tag. Simples!
Now repeat the steps until you have enough tags for all of your 2016 Christmas pressies (or you lose the will to live).
Miss B made a lovely reindeer one!
Now, if you are anything like me you will have received some of those ‘skinny’ Christmas cards this year. They are great cards for bookmarks. I didn’t even need a template for this example and just needed to cut around the main image and ‘Ta da!’
I prefer rounded corners for my tags and bookmarks rather than sharp pointy ones but maybe it’s just me being all ‘health and safety’ again. I don’t want you poking your eye out with a bookmark: this is supposed to be therapeutic.
3. Rectangular gift box/tree ornament/favours box
My mum loves crafts and sent me two ideas for making small gift boxes from recycled cards. The first is a rectangular design which is perfect for hanging on a tree or for popping a posh truffle or chocolate inside as a treat. For this project you need a card that has a usable width of at least 17cm. The height of the card should be a minimum of 13cm, (like the card I chose here), although taller cards would be even more suited to this style of gift box.
Score the card every 4cm leaving 1cm at the end as shown in the photograph below.
Score 4cm up from the bottom edge of the card, across the entire width of the card.
With your scissors, cut up the vertical score lines to meet the 4cm line and remove the 1cm piece at the end as shown below.
If you have a card that is very tall, you can always trim the height as required.
Then, fold along the score lines and glue the 1cm edge and fold the base flaps in and glue to make up the open-ended box as shown.
Fill it with sweets, chocolates or small gifts, as required. If you are giving it as a gift you can clip it at the top with a decorative clip or pinch the two opposite sides together and punch a hole through before threading though some ribbon and tying a bow. Using ribbon gives you the option of hanging it on the Christmas tree next year. In this example, I even added a bit of ‘bling’ with a sparkly gift tag!
4. Triangular gift box/tree decoration/favours box.
This is another of Grandma Spikes’ suggestions. You can see where I get my ‘creative genes’ from! Now you may find that you don’t have many cards that are big enough for this project. This is where you can recycle some high quality gift wrap. In the end Miss B, who made the box in this example, used some posh wallpaper that I had lurking around in the loft. I didn’t have any large Christmas cards and I tend to use cheap wrapping paper, (the horror!). Whatever you decide to use, you need to be able to cut a 28cm x 10cm rectangle.
Fold the longest length in half and place it pattern side down on the table/cutting mat. Make a mark halfway (5cm) along each short side and then using a ruler, draw lines from the middle and edge of the fold to the 5cm mark as shown (you may want to make very light pencil marks that are easy to rub out when you make your own box!)
Score along the four long sides of the triangles.
Use a hole punch or make a hole with scissors halfway (ish!) along the top edge of each flap as shown.
Finally, fill the box with small goodies and then bring the box flaps together and thread the ribbon through. Miss B added a gift tag as well. Didn’t she do well?
They really do make lovely little gift boxes and would make a nice hanging decoration for next year’s Christmas tree too.
So, why not have a go? We had lots of fun, enjoyed each other’s company, and now we have plenty of tags and gift boxes for next year. Miss E came up with her own idea..Gift tag bunting!
Look at our little pile of recycled Christmas card goodies.
Go on! Have a go! I would love to see some of your creations!