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
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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, some decorate gift bags and some made into mini gift boxes:

 ... 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.

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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 too much.

Here's an example.

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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 stick glue for securing these pieces down.

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I used a tiny foam pad to raise one of the trees and a 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.

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See how easy that was, and the new card looks completely different to the original. Plus I've still got enough trees to make another 2 of these.

Here's a more traditional looking card idea:

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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.

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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! 

gift tag 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.

making new cards from old cards

All I did here was attach the laser cut to the blank with foam pads and add the bow.

make new cards from old cards

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 you don’t want to crease the element you are trying to reuse.

Pull the card from the embellishment not the embellishment from the card. Let me show you what I mean:


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.

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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.

magazine cover

I'm quoted encouraging everyone to "Go green"! But sadly it doesn't really make clear that ALL the elements on this card were rescued from old cards.

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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.

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I’ll be sharing this project at these link ups