Over the weekend, I got a little stir crazy from being both snowed in and sick.

Then, in a haze of cough syrup and chamomile tea, an idea struck me. Probably because I took down this year’s Christmas cards just a few weeks ago, and put them away in this plastic storage bin where I keep all of my cards. Some go way, way back, covering Christmases, graduations, birthdays – the whole shebang.

Anyway, I dreamed up all the things I could make with old greeting cards. There are a lot of possibilities. A card is essentially a piece of printed cardstock. Packs of cardstock tend to be spendy at the craft store, anyway, so why not use the free stuff when you have it?

Frame it

A lot of cards are the same dimensions as picture frames (4” by 6” or 5” by 7”). My favorite thing to do is simply cut out the front of an artsy card and frame it.

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My late Aunt Bea would send a card every year for my birthday. She always gave the best cards (like the one above) and little gifts from her world travels. Now that I’ve framed them, I have some of her sentiments on display rather than tucked away in a box.

To make a card front fit into a frame, you might have to trim it and/or layer it onto another card front:

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Bookmarks

Another simple craft is to make a bookmark. You’ll need an interesting center image to the card or a slim piece of the card you can cut out. Simply punch a hole in the left corner, and then tie a little piece of ribbon. (Now is a good time to use any ribbon scraps you might have.)

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Dot art

I also did this circle punch art, which I found the idea for on Pinterest. I used a 1” circle punch to punch out different colored holes from a bunch of cards. Then, I placed them on a 8 1/2” by 11” sheet of cardstock and glued them on. You can use a ruler to map them out, or style them any other way you like. I’ve also seen some circle artwork done in clusters or shapes (trees, hearts, etc.) and that would look nice as well.

circleart1 There’s a hilarious poem/story written by an old flame on the red birthday card (something about silverware running off together?)

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For me, it’s all about the different colors, prints and textures you find in greeting cards. To make sure you don’t get someone’s handwriting in the side you want to show, use the circle punch upside-down; that way you can see what you’re punching out. I did this very meticulously, so I could get every last circle out of the cards I liked!

Other ideas:

  • Gift tags: Just cut out a rectangle, punch a hole and tie a piece of ribbon around it (like the bookmark). Then, you can just tie it to a giftbag.
  • Paper garland: Get a long piece of string or ribbon. Using a stencil (you can make one out of cardstock or cardboard) trace a shape multiple times onto different cards. Then, glue one on each side of the string.
  • Scrap-booking: Cards are often filled with little shapes and images that could be decorations for a scrapbook (think hearts, flowers, suns, stars, etc.) You can just cut around these shapes and add them to your scrapbook whenever you need to.
  • Gift bags and boxes: This Christmas, I used an old card front and simply glued it to a paper gift bag, creating a holiday bag without spending any money. You could do this to a gift box as well to spruce it up.
  • Magnets: Put a clear, flat marble on top of a card and trace around it. Cut out the circle, then paint a layer of modge podge onto the marble. Press the cardstock onto it. After it dries, glue on a magnet with strong glue like E6000.
  • Confetti: For this, grab a hole puncher or circle puncher and go crazy! It’s actually kind of therapeutic punching out shapes for a long time. For this use, however, you will probably want the color/pattern to be the same on both sides. Otherwise, you might end up with barcode confetti.
  • Greeting cards: Make what’s old, new again!
  • Donate your card front to Saint Jude’s Ranch for Children. I’m sure other organizations would love to have them as well, so you might have to ask around.

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