Anyone with a crafty gene will agree they have a hard time throwing out old Christmas cards. It seems like there could be some use for them besides sturdy recycling. After removing all of the family photos and stories I usually end up with a good stack of "potential" by the end of the season and for some reason stash them all in the Christmas bin as though I'll be inspired by the start of the next season. To kick-start that I've come up with Twelve crafty ideas to use those cards up in lots of clever ways.
1. Gather your supplies. You will need scissors, a hole punch, tape, a pen or marker, twine, jute or string, and Mod Podge (optional).
Idea 1: Cut small rectangles from the card fronts, punch a hole, and use as gift tags!
Idea 2: Cut strips of card fronts to make napkin rings.
Cut notches on opposing ends of the strip so that when made into a circle, the notches connect. Hide some tape on the inside of the circle and insert napkin!
Idea 3: Use those strips to make a paper garland instead! We love the homemade garland on our tree or you can use it to decorate the mantle. The Christmas card colors come together to make a festive garland!
Idea 4: Cookies Cutter crafts! Using a cookie cutter and pen (I used a marker so you could see my lines), arrange the cutter shape on a card front and cut out shapes. You can use anything really. I show little gingerbread girls. You can also use stars, trees, and circle shapes!
To make a garland punch a hole in the sides of each shape, connect with string and decorate with your new holiday bunting!
The shapes also make crafty ornaments that are kid friendly to create- just punch a hole in the top of your shape. Kids can decorate the backs or you can use these for gift tags as well.
Idea 5: If you have holiday travel coming up- here is a neat take-along craft that works in doctor's offices, restaurants or in the car (we take along a piece of press board the kids use for a lap desk). Plus if they lose the pieces- you can always make another... Using your marker- make some puzzle shapes. You can make as many pieces as you think area needed for your child's ability level.
Idea 6: Use card fronts that are blank on the back for pocket envelopes. Simply cut off the front of the cards, fold in half and secure. I fold it to that I have a little closing tab over the top.
Pocket ideas: We use our festive card pockets to carry around our fancy puzzles. You can also use them as gift card holders! Another idea would be to fill with holiday potpourri. Punch a hole in the top and string the pouch to the tree or hang the mini sachets from doorknobs to scent your home for the holidays.
Idea 7: Make a miniature scene (a craft for the older kids!) We had lots of fun finding cards that had animals, people, plants, and other objects. We carefully cut around the items we wanted and created a fun holiday scene. Make sure you cut enough extra on the bottom of your shape to fold back into a stand. These little Christmas trees are now decorating the dollhouse. We made other miniatures for the dollhouse include portraits, floor rugs, and mini holiday placements for the mini people and their mini holiday feast! Surprisingly this is also a good activity at family gatherings, requires little planning, and engages the kids for way longer than 10 minutes as they create a little play world.
Need more ideas? Here are a few other resources and ideas you can use to make your own Christmas card holiday crafts:
Idea 8: Cut out a doughnut ring from a large piece of cardboard. Cut out holly leaves and other holiday shapes from your Christmas cards and affix to the cardboard ring to make a fun and festive holiday wreath!
Idea 9: Find a clever paper craft box pattern, trace onto a card front, and craft away. Makes a clever gift box for those tiny things or adorable and traditional boxes you can hang on the tree and hide little goodies inside for Christmas morning! (http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/paper_box)
Idea 10: Using a coaster, trace the shape on a card front. Cut out and coat both sides with Mod Podge. The crafty glue gives the cardstock enough protection that they can be used as coasters! I've also placed them under candles to catch the drips!
Idea 11: My ultra thrifty aunt reuses birthday and Christmas cards in this way: 1.) Find a card front that is blank on the back. 2.) Cut it off with regular or craft scissors with the fancy edging design. 3.) Fold a blank sheet of cardstock or construction paper in half. 4.) Affix the card front to the front of the folded paper.
5.) Voila- a brand new card you can decorate with scrapbooking supplies, ribbon, or glitter glue. (Just try not to re-card to the person who originally sent the card. It's almost as bad as re-gifting)
Idea 12 + (Additional resources):
We love using the Canon Creative Park card craft ideas. Their Christmas craft link is here: http://cp.c-ij.com/en/contents/3159/list_15_2.html . They have lots of neat papercrafting ideas, templates, and printable projects.
Search on Pinterest for loads of creative ideas in using up cardstock. Don't limit yourself to searching for Christmas cards- open it up to cardstock and paper crafts.