How to Recycle and Reuse Holiday Cards

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Many holiday cards lend themselves to second uses, especially in cut and layered projects and folded paper crafts. Extend the joy received with the original card to others by recycling it into an imaginative new form.

The original holiday cards.
The original holiday cards. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Christmas Tree Ornament

The poinsettia ornament, ready to hang on the tree.
The poinsettia ornament, ready to hang on the tree. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Step 1:

Lift the entire poinsettia bloom from the card using a utility knife.

Step 2:

Punch a small hole through a top leaf of the bloom. Loop a narrow green ribbon through the punched hole from the back and tie a knot at the back.

Step 3:

Cut a circle of red cardstock and glue it to the back of the ornament to provide an attractive finishing touch on the reverse side.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife 
  • Hole punch or awl
  • Green ribbon
  • Red cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Gift Wrapping Topper

The silhouetted poinsettia bloom as a package topper.
The silhouetted poinsettia bloom as a package topper. (Image: Lesle Carola)

Step 1:

Scan the image on the card, silhouette it in Photoshop, size it as you wish, print it on cardstock, and then cut out the printed image using a utility knife.

Step 2:

Wrap a small package with a light-colored paper. Wrap a narrow green ribbon around the package and adhere the silhouetted poinsettia flower at the center, over the ribbon.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer/scanner
  • Photo editing software
  • Cardstock
  • Utility knife
  • Green ribbon
  • Light-colored wrapping paper
  • Glue

Printed Wrapping Paper

Patterned wrapping paper create with the silhouetted poinsettia.
Patterned wrapping paper create with the silhouetted poinsettia. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Step 1:

Scan the image and then size and silhouette it in PhotoShop.

Step 2:

Create a new file in Photoshop, and then create boxes that are 1.25 inches square, leaving a .25-inch space between each one. Paste the scanned image into each box to create an overall pattern for the paper.

Step 3:

Add a 2-point dark green frame to each box and center the silhouetted poinsettia in each box as well. Save the file.

Step 4:

Print the file. You might want to experiment with different paper weights.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer/scanner
  • Photo editing software
  • Paper 

Snowflower Package Decorations

Silhouetted snowflower on red background.
Silhouetted snowflower on red background. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Option 1:

The elegant snowflower is strong and sophisticated as a package topper at full size. Simply lift the element off the card with a utility knife, back it with a square of cardstock to smooth the reverse side and adhere it to the package with tape or glue.

Bookmark with silhouetted snowflower.
Bookmark with silhouetted snowflower. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Option 2:

The snowflower image works beautifully in smaller sizes as well. Create a picture box in PhotoShop that is 2 by 2 inches and a picture box that is 3/4 inches by 3/4 inches. (You can make the picture box any size you wish.) Scan the image on the card, drag and drop it into the picture box and size it appropriately. Print the file on cardstock or special coated paper and cut out.

Option 3:

To make stickers, attach a double-sided adhesive sheet to the back of the printed file from option 2.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Cardstock or coated paper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Printer/scanner
  • Photo editing software
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided adhesive sheet

Snowflower Bookmark

Bookmark with silhouetted snowflower.
Bookmark with silhouetted snowflower. (Image: Leslie Carola)

Step 1:

Using PhotoShop, create a new image file that is 2 by 5 1/2 inches with any background color.

Step 2:

Create a picture box at the top of the image that is 2 by 1 3/4 inches. (This measurement is included in the full 5 1/2-inch height.) Add a .5-point red frame around the picture box and a 1-point rule below the picture box.

Step 3:

Scan the image from the card, move the image to the picture box and size the image to fit. Add a 1-point white rule 1/4 inch in from the three edges of the large panel.

Step 4:

Print the image on cardstock and cut out.

Things You'll Need

  • Photo editing software
  • Printer
  • Cardstock 
  • Scissors

Snowflower Placecards

(Image: Leslie Carola)

Step 1:

Cut a 3-by-3-inch panel from silver or gray cardstock for each placecard. Fold it in half to 3 by 1 1/2 inches so that it can sit as a tent on the table.

Step 2:

Create a 1 3/4-inch picture box in PhotoShop.

Step 3:

Scan and size the image from the card and silhouette it in Photoshop. Center the image in the picture box. Print it on white cardstock and cut the cardstock to a 1 3/4-inch square. Cut a 2-inch square from red cardstock to make a mat for the image. Center the image on the red mat and glue it in place. Attach the matted panel to the front center of the folded placecard so that about 2/3 of it is above the fold line of the card.

Step 4:

Write the guest's name on the place card.

Things You'll Need

  • White, gray/silver and red cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Photo editing software
  • Printer/scanner
  • Glue
  • Pen
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