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Recycling Christmas cards ideas – 20 easy ways to reuse them

Try these easy, eco-friendly ways to reuse your old Christmas cards. Why throw away your old cards when you can give them a new lease of life by upcycling them?

DIY Christmas Card Puzzles

Whether you’re looking to live a waste-free life or just want to live a little greener in 2021, there’s no reason to chuck your used cards when you can refashion them! A staggering 200 million boxes of Christmas cards are brought in the UK every year, leaving many of us with the dilemma of how to clear up after Christmas without chucking things into landfill or our recycling bins. We’re here to give you some fun ideas for what to do with all that holiday cheer once you get to January (or on Boxing Day if you’re one of those types who take down Christmas  at the first opportunity!)

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Read on for 30 clever and ingenious ideas for recycling Christmas cards (primary) using your craft skills – though you don’t actually need craft skills to try most of the suggestions in this round up – we’ve picked them to be easy for anyone to try.

What can I make out of old Christmas cards?

  • Gift tags
  • Puzzles
  • 3D paper decorations
  • Bunting
  • Bookmarks
  • Paper wreath
  • Advent calendar
  • Desk storage pots
  • Make a mini paper village
  • Fold into gift boxes

Christmas card recycling crafts to try

1

Make Kraft gift wrap for next year

Reach for your scissors and snip up your cards to highlight your favourite Christmas artwork and designs, then layer these up with Kraft card to make simple gift boxes, cards and tags for next Christmas! Our guide to How to make a hexagon gift box shows you how.

Make a hexagonal gift box

2

Make Christmas coasters

Ooh yes why have we never thought of this? Thankfully Craftsy have – it’s one of 7 Fun Ways to upcycle your holiday cards that they’ve come up with. You just need some simple white tiles and a couple of store cupboard basics to make magic happen.

Recycled Christmas card coasters

3

Make fun Christmas card puzzles

This is such a sweet idea – thanks to Piglets Pen who shared this super cute make on Instagram. Stick your favourite cards on to lolly pop sticks (you can either recycle these too from your freezer or buy a pack of 200 for £2.99 over at Baker Ross). Now cut between the sticks and you have our very own mini puzzles! They’ll make cute Christmas cracker fillers or stocking fillers for the 2021 Holiday Season, not to mention fun games for kids to play over the Christmas holidays.

DIY Christmas Card Puzzles
© Piglets_Pen on Instgram
4

Super simple mini bunting idea

Looking for quick crafts to do over the Christmas holidays? Snip up your Christmas cards, then fold and string them up into sweet miniature bunting! In Habitat has the DIY for you.

Recycle Christmas cards into holiday garlands

5

Cut and fold them into geometric baubles

Christmas cards are a great source of decorative card to fold festive shapes out of.  We’ve got this Free geometric baubles template to get you started making your own gem-themed decorations.

Free geometric baubles templates

6

Make Cookie Cutter Tree Decorations

We discovered this lovely little upcycling idea over on the Blinds 2 Go blog. Use your old cards to dress up cookie cutters to make tree ornaments or stand alone decorations for your home. Head over to their blog to find the full tutorial for how to make upcycled cookie cutter decorations.

Cookie Cutter Recycled Christmas Card Tree Decorations

7

Transform them into a bowl

My So Called Crafty Life has come up with this really quite beautiful DIY Vintage Christmas Card Bowl  DIY and it works just as well with glorious vintage designs like the ones here or with your favourite 2020 card patterns too! Add blanket stitch detail to the edges for extra homespun vibes!

How to refashion Christmas cards vintage bowl

8

Turn them into paper pine cones

We cannot WAIT to get started transforming our cards into pretty papercrafted pine cone decorations to replace our Christmas decorations this January! Find out how to make paper pine cone decorations here.

How to make paper pine cone decorations

9

Make your own Christmas Card Note Pads

This is a lovely little idea for reusing all those beautiful Christmas cards which it’s a crying shame to throw in the bin. We’ve found this really lovely online tutorial for how to turn old Christmas cards into note pads, thanks to Jennifer at Hope Studios.

Recycled Christmas Card Note Pads tutorial

10

Make your own gift tags

A classic refashion idea – cut or punch your Christmas cards into tag shapes for next year’s Christmas gifts. You can create simple tag shapes by cutting a rectangle, then snipping triangles away from two corners and punching a hole in the top, or you can also get some pretty nifty Tag Paper Punch to make light work of it for you. Simply Living Green With Rebekah shows you how in more detail.

Upcycle Christmas cards into Gift tags

11

Cut into pieces to frame your favourite Christmas photos

If you weren’t able to spend Christmas with your family this year, or maybe you want to capture the year that we all had to bubble up over Christmas, print out a few snaps from Christmas day and decorate them with a frame decorated with festive elements, cut from your Christmas cards. His idea is from a round-up of Creative Ways to Reuse Christmas Cards by Sachse News.

How to refashion Christmas cards

12

Fold them into teeny tiny gift boxes for next year

Hallmark’s Think. Make.Share blog has got this really easy DIY for turning your old cards into teeny tiny gift boxes for next year, including a free template to give it a go.

Christmas Card Gift box DIY

13

Fold them into mini paper houses

Try our sweet DIY for how to make tea light houses out of card and use your Christmas cards as the basic card that you make them out of (use battery-powered tea lights inside for safe results!).  Whip up a batch of 24 houses this way and you’ll have a cute advent village for next year.

Halloween and Christmas house tealight holders

 

14

Upcycle them into clever bookmarks

Lori Miller Designs has come up with a handy template and tutorial for how to take used Christmas cards and turn them into sweet festive bookmarks! How to turn Christmas cards into bookmarks 

Upcycled Christmas Card Bookmarks

15

Make a poinsettia garland

Cut your cards into petals to make a papercraft garland to decorate your home next Christmas!  While our example is made from plain card we think this would look lovely cut out of assorted festive card with petals filled with Christmas motifs and prints! Free poinsettia garland templates.

Free poinsettia garland template

16

Turn them into 3D tree ornaments for next year

This neat idea ticks two of our favourite craft boxes – traditional feel and great to get kids involved with too! You simply cut up your cards into circles then do a few clever folds and glue together to form 3D paper baubles!  Find the full tutorial over at What’s Up Fagans?

Recycled christmas cards decorations

17

Snip them up into a star wreath

We love this tutorial from French blog and party store Fêtes vous meme – cut or punch shapes from your favourite cards and turn them into a papercrafted wreath! Quick warning though, if you don’t speak French then it’s best read in Google Chrome or another web browse that offers you translation into English!

Recycled Christmas cards wreath

18

Upcycle all that sparkle into clever origami stars

We found this idea for reusing your old cards and turning them into 3D stars on Salihan’s Flickr – see her Star Mediation blog at Salihan.com – this would work nicely with any origami projects that you fancy having a play around with over the Christmas period. For more ideas, try these Easy Origami Ideas for Beginners.

Recycled Christmas cards holiday star

19

Grow your own Christmas card trees!

Loving this cute idea from Better Homes and Gardens. Trim up your cards into a batch of circles and then layer them up for cute decorations for Christmas 2021!

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Recycled card christmas trees

20

Pick your top 24 to make an advent calendar

Crafty Nest is taking her Christmas card upcycling to the next level with this clever DIY Upcycled calendar tutorial.

Recycled Christmas card advent calendar
Image © Crafty Nest – head to www.craftynest.com for the full tutorial

Where can I recycle Christmas cards?

If you don’t think you’ll have time to try these upcycling ideas this year, fear not – Christmas cards and envelopes  are ripe for recycling too. While regional guidelines here in the UK do vary between counties, at their core Christmas cards are made of, well… card and paper. So with a bit of thought you should be able to recycle them via your green bin or local household recycling centre. Any embellishments, ribbon or glitter cannot be recycled though, so you’ll need to remove those first. Find more good advice for how to recycle your cards over at Recycle Now. Check your local council waste recycling guidelines and they should include guidance on what they will and won’t recycle under the category of “paper and cardboard”.