Monday, 5 December 2016

Turn Old Cards into New Cards

Save the Christmas cards you are sent and turn them into next year's cards to send.
Turn old cards into new cards

I've always loved cutting and sticking. When I was little I would sit for ages cutting up junk mail apparently! I also hate waste and like to recycle or reuse whenever I can.
Lots of people are now in two minds about Christmas cards these days. They are not very eco friendly but they are a lovely way to stay in touch with people. I love receiving cards, especially from people far away who I don't see often. I figure if I love to receive them maybe others do too, and if we don't send them no one will be receiving them. Do you see what I mean?
Every year we get some beautiful cards and once it's January I have a 'cutting them up' session. Some are turned into gift tags...
 ... the rest I take off all the cute bits I think I can reuse and the rest goes in the recycling. Then in November I have a box full of resources to make this years cards.
recycling old Christmas cards

This is not a precise tutorial kind of thing, what you can make will depend on what you have but here are a handful of my ideas, just in case you find they spark your imagination.
My master plan is to use new card blanks made from recycled card with all the embellishments coming from previous cards we've received. Occasional I supplement my reclaimed embellishment stash with craft papers but I try not to! 

Here's an example.
This card blank is a silvery grey. The old card I saved has cute modern Christmas trees which are very cut-outable. The used green envelope goes nicely with the trees, I thought the silver snowflake, saved from some Christmas crackers might go well too.
The envelope didn't have quite big enough bits with no writing or franking so I joined two bits and covered the join with a tree.
I used a tiny foam pad to raise one of the trees and the greeting just cut from the card. Turns out the snowflake was a bit too big in the end so I found this more delicate one in my stash.
Turn old cards into new cards
And I've still got enough trees to make another 2 of these.

Here's a more traditional looking card idea:
Here I had a tall think white card blank, a used red envelope, some shiny gold card from a lovely layered card, a wreath and a greeting.
Layer up a rectangle of the gold onto a slightly larger rectangle of red envelope and glue it onto the card blank. Add the wreath & message and it's done. If the wreath was plain I might have added a bow or jewels but this one was already blinged up so it was even easier.

These 3 are made with gift tags we received last year, no one is ever going to pull them off and see the writing on the back - I hope! 
Turn old cards into new cards
They just had a strip of patterned paper behind them, a bow of bakers twine and a sequin, gem or additional element added, all rescued from old cards. I stamped the greeting on these.  

Sometimes a card element is so lovely all you have to do is attach it to a new blank.
All I did here was attach the laser cut to the blank with foam pads and add the bow.

For these mini cards I just attached an embellishment pulled straight of an old card. The bauble just had a little bit of old sheet music underneath first.

If you are peeling off embellishments that are attached with foam pads, a word of warning. Do this carefully as if the card element you are keeping creases it will spoil.
Pull the card from the embellishment not the embellishment from the card.
Cut round it roughly first then lay it face down on your table. Peel the backing away carefully pressing the bit you are keeping down on the table.
I've ruined a few lovely bits that I had wonderful plans for by pulling them from the card :-(

About a million years ago, I had some of my card designs published in a couple of UK craft magazines now and again. I had made some with this same "new cards from old cards" theme then, one even made it to the front cover of a Christmas card supplement in 2007.
I'm quoted encouraging everyone to "Go green"! It doesn't really make clear though that all the elements on this card were recovered for old cards.
I actually still really like this wreath made from punched stars, it means you can use even the tiniest of scraps.

Would you consider making new cards from old ones or do you have any other great ideas for the cards you receive? I know here in the UK there are Charity collection points where they are recycled, I assume for craft project but I don't actually know. Anything to stop them just becoming landfill seems like a good idea to me.

Julie Nyanyo
Julie Nyanyo

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.

22 comments:

  1. Fantastic idea, must admit do cut Christmas cards into tags each year but never thought to make into new cards.

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    1. Thanks, gift tags are the obvious aren't they? We had that job when we were kids - ruined my mums pinking shears getting that fancy zig zag edging! It's just nice to to put everything in the bin and reuse whatever is possible first.

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  2. I don't really send Christmas cards as I tend to wish people the greetings of the season in person but for those that do send, upcycled really is a great way forward. Your cards are absolutely fabulous and will undoubtedly inspire lots to give it a go!

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    1. Thanks Josie. We are the same, I only really send cards to people we don't actually see. The people we do see get a hug which is MUCH more eco friendly!

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  3. So many creative ideas, Julie. I especially like the ones with last year's gift tags - simple, but oh, so effective. Ha, ha.. no one's going to look underneath. You've given me so many ideas. This is my first year making multiple tags and I've enjoyed the process. Next year it will be cards as well.

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    1. Thanks Pam. I am very hopeful that no one is going to peel off the embellishments and see the writing but if they did I hope they would just admire the recycling idea!
      Making cards this way is fun, but I tend to take ages as I sort through my stash looking for the perfect thing or combo of things!

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  4. I'd love you to add all your card and gift wrapping ideas to the Gift Wrapping linky.

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    1. Thanks for the invite Pam, I'll stop by now and link up.

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    2. Hi Julie, I've featured your old to new cards in a roundup of Christmas card and gift tag ideas...
      http://www.threadingmyway.com/2016/12/19-ideas-to-make-your-own-christmas.html

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    3. That's just lovely news, thanks Pam.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I hope to incorporate them into my Christmas cards.

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  6. I love doing this too! My favourite design is four squares on a square card with an embleishment in the middle. Great ideas to try. Jo x

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    1. It's great if you have a simple design that really works with whatever embellishments you have, then you can knock a load of lovely cards out pretty quickly. That sounds lovely.

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  7. Great idea. I tend to use my cards to make labels, but they are not as professional as yours look.

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    1. I know how artistic and talented you are, so I'm sure you are just being overly modest here!

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  8. I've been doing this for a couple years now and love to see the before and after. I have all my friends and family saving their cards for me!

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    1. It's great isn't it, when you get other people's too? Most of my friends and colleagues also give me their old cards and I have them well trained to let me have the whole thing rather than removing bits they think I might reuse, I used to get lovely embellishments which were removed and then creased and then I didn't like to use them :-(

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  9. This is a great idea. I've done it in the past, but my recycled cards never looked as good as yours! Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

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    1. Thank you Teresa, I'm sure your were lovely and you are just being super modest!

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  10. You have great ideas! Love the transformations. Thanks for sharing with us at #ccbg

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