Upcycle old Christmas Cards into New Gift Tags

This might seem a teensie bit unseasonal at first glance - making Christmas Gift tags in January but bear with me, there is method in my madness!

Are you de-Christmassing your house about now? If so, this is when you need to be making next years gift tags.

Gift tags for free
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When I was a kid we always made gift tags from last years cards. To be honest I thought everyone did, I must have been about 10 before I realised you could actually pay money for gift tags in the shops!

Making new gift tags from old greeting cards

Back in the day my mum would give us her old pinking shears, a pile of last years cards and let us get on with it. So our gift tags would look like this:

old style.jpg

Perfectly serviceable but these days with all the lovely papercraft equipment available I think we can do a little better than that!

free gift tags

As you take down your cards look for suitable ones for repurposing. It's a bit sad but even as cards arrive in our house I am eyeing them up to see how I can reuse them later. 

These are the ones we had this year that I thought had most potential.

old Christmas cards

Using a corner punch

This is a really simple concept, we are just going to cut up the cards to make gift tags. What will elevate your gift tags into something lovely, which many people will never realise are a simple reuse of last years cards, is how you choose which bits of the cards to use and how you position the elements of the card’s design.

The easiest kind to upcycle are the modern looking "all over design" style cards like this one.

all over design.jpg

All this needs is cutting into 4. A small guillotine or paper trimmer is really helpful to make this easy but you can use a ruler and scissors if you don’t have one. I have a lovely little corner rounder punch which adds a nice professional finish. Then just punch a hole in the corner for ribbon with your normal, bog standard hole punch.

all over design gift tags.jpg

This type of card with a simple design or two is also ideal.

tall card.jpg

Just chop it in half, trim it so the images are more central and round the corners if you can.

round corners.jpg

Do watch the back of the cards, check them first before you get too far. I thought this mini card was ideal just as it was...

small square card.jpg

...until I saw the sellotape marks on the inside!

marks inside.jpg

And this beautiful card with the stag was going great...

stag card.jpg

until I saw the print inside...

writing on the back.jpg

This one was ok in the end, just a slightly smaller tag than I had originally planned! Just check the back and cut around any writing, marks or logos.

I made 18 tags from 8 cards in the end, completely free and taking only about 15 minutes of my time.

gift tags for free
gift tags for free

I used to keep the whole card and make tags every December but it's actually much easier to make them now and just pop them in an envelope with any left over wrapping paper. They take up very little space, just don't forget you have them next December!

easy free gift tags

When you are wrapping gifts next Christmas it’s easy to rummage through your gift tags and find a tag that matches nicely with your wrapping paper.  

easy gift tags for free

Using a tag punch

Update: I still do this every year, make my own gift tags from old cards, I’ve not bought a gift tag in over 10 years now! Last year we had a slight upgrade, I’ve used a tag punch to give my gift tags a slightly different shape.


I rounded the bottom corners on some and left others square, just to show the difference. I think I still prefer a rounded corner myself.

make gift tags from old cards

If you can centralise images from the old cards them the gift tags look even more professional.

Do you reuse old cards for anything? There are lots of ways to save them from just going straight into the rubbish bin or recycling.

If you don’t want to use them for gift tags you can always use them to make next years cards, or even little gift boxes instead.


I'll be linking up this project at all these lovely link parties, pop over for a look at loads of projects from other blogs