10 Crafts For Your Old Christmas Cards

10 craft projects using your old Christmas cards instead of throwing them away.

Don't you just hate throwing away those beautiful Christmas cards every year? Yet what else can you do with them? Well, start saving the cards and get out your scissors and glue. Here are ten fun and easy crafts you can make from those cards. Most of these can involve children, and many of them make delightful homemade gifts.

1. CHRISTMAS PLACE MATS. This is fun to do with the kids. Select your favorite cards and cut out the picture or card front. You may make a collage with the pictures or arrange the card fronts in rows. Glue the cards/pictures onto an 11x17 sheet of paper. You may cut down the paper ahead of time to make a smaller place mat, if desired. When finished, have the place mats laminated and you're set! Don't forget to write pertinent information on the back before you laminate, such as the year and names and ages of the kids who made them. These make great gifts.

2. CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS. There are numerous ways you can craft the Christmas pictures from your cards into tree ornaments. You can find books from the library or come up with ideas of your own. Here are a few to get you started:

-Select a picture you can cut out, such as a reindeer, angel or Santa. Glue the card closed and let dry. Cut out the picture, punch a hole near the top and thread with ribbon. Or, cut the card into an interesting shape around the picture, such as a diamond or teardrop or star.

-Cut out pictures from the cards. Glue them onto ornament shapes cut from construction paper, lace paper doilies, felt, painted cardboard, craft foam, etc. Punch a hole near the top and thread with ribbon or yarn.

-Ignoring the picture on the front of the card, cut a spiral, starting large and spiraling inward to the center of the card front. When finished, pull the spiral slightly so that it will hang three-dimensionally like a Christmas tree. Use a pin to poke a hole in the top center of the spiral and loop some thread to it for hanging.

3. DECOUPAGE. Decoupage is simple and fun. You can find books from the library describing the technique and ideas. Basically, you cut out the picture you like, use decoupage glue to adhere it to wood, glass, ceramics or cardboard and then seal it with the glue. You can decoupage furniture, glass plates or vases, homemade clocks, picture frames, serving trays, etc. The possibilities are endless. Make a special Christmas vase, or decoupage a Christmas stepladder for hanging ornaments on the tree. Decoupage a set of glass plates or a candy dish. Decoupage some sturdy cardboard boxes and re-use them every year for enclosing gifts. You can even decoupage some cardboard balls from the craft store to make detailed tree ornaments.

4. CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. This English tradition is fun and easy to make. Make a tube from your Christmas card, either using just the front part for a small cracker, or the whole card for a longer one. Tape the tube together. Fill the tube with tiny gifts and candy. Wrap the tube in brightly-colored tissue or wrapping paper, or with aluminum foil. Tie the ends with bright ribbon, leaving extra wrapping sticking out from each end. Present them as little gifts, use as stocking stuffers, party favors, put them in a care package, or save them for next Christmas""by then you'll have forgotten what you filled them with! To open, simply pull the two ends simultaneously until it pops open and the goodies spill out. Kids love this!

5. PHOTO FRAMES. Make simple photo frames to hang on the tree or place around the house. Measure the photo you want to frame, then cut out an oval, rectangle or other shape from the front of the card to go over the photo. Tape the photo to the inside of the card front. Open the card slightly to stand it up. Or, glue the card closed and punch a hole near the top, thread with ribbon and hang it on the tree.

6. HOMEMADE VALENTINES. There is a lot of red and white on Christmas cards, perfect colors for Valentine's Day! Cut the cards into hearts and craft homemade Valentines. Here are some suggestions:

-Cut out a large heart. Carefully cut out the inside. Then cut out a smaller heart, and a smaller and smaller one. Use a needle to poke holes in the center top of the hearts. Attach them together with thread, so that the smallest one hangs inside the next sized one, which hangs inside the next larger one, etc.

-Cut two large heart shapes from the front of two cards. Cut each heart into strips, horizontally or vertically, making sure they're all the same width (1/4", ½" or whatever you desire). Carefully weave the strips together, alternating hearts. Trim so that it's still heart-shaped, then glue onto paper or card stock. You can also try this with different-width strips for a more artsy look. Experiment with it.

-Use a heart punch to punch out lots of tiny hearts from the card. Send these in an envelope so when the recipient opens it, the hearts spill out. Or, glue them onto a homemade card into letter shapes, or framing your heartfelt message.

-Cut out a heart and glue it onto a paper doily for a lacy Valentine. You can write on the back of the doily.

7. BOOKMARKS. Isolate parts of the card front which could work as a bookmark. Measure the width of your bookmark and cut out. Punch a hole near the top and loop a ribbon to the top. Use as stocking stuffers, or place inside a book you are giving as a gift. Don't forget to write a message on the back for your loved one.

8. RECYCLE THEM. I think you need to have the right personality to get away with this, but my brother did it with great success and gave everyone a laugh. Simply cross out the name on the card and write your own name in. Then mail them to your friends and family next year! For an added touch, have an office store make a stamp for you that says "Recycled Card." Then you can stamp this on the back or on the envelope.

9. CHRISTMAS POSTCARDS. Use cards which haven't any writing on the inside front. Cut out the fronts of the cards, and you have a postcard! On the blank side, draw a line down the middle. Write your message on the left, add the recipient's address and a stamp on the right. These can be quick thank-you notes for the gifts you've received.

10. SHARE A RECIPE. Use cards which haven't any writing on the inside front. Cut out the fronts of the cards and write a favorite holiday recipe on the blank side. Enclose this with a letter, package, gift or card to your family and friends. A nice extra for your loved ones!

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