How to Recycle Old Holiday Cards into Garland

comments (5) December 19th, 2008     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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This garland couldnt be simpler to make or prettier on your tree. Dig out your old greeting cards, and you wont spend a dime on materials.
If you dont have a tree, you can festoon this garland on a wreath, window, or doorway.
Punching card circles gets pretty addictive . . .
This garland couldnt be simpler to make or prettier on your tree. Dig out your old greeting cards, and you wont spend a dime on materials.

This garland couldn't be simpler to make or prettier on your tree. Dig out your old greeting cards, and you won't spend a dime on materials.

Photo: Diane Gilleland

Instead of throwing out old holiday cards, turn them into this pretty garland. It's simple enough to get the kids involved, too.

What you'll need:

  • Assorted old greeting cards
  • Circle craft punches (I'm using 1-inch and 1-1/4-inch sizes)
  • Narrow satin ribbon
  • Craft glue

A note on quantities: The number of cards and amount of ribbon you'll need will vary according to how much garland you'd like to make. By way of a gauge, I've made 6 yards of garland here, which required about 15 cards.

...And a note on punches:
I'm using circles here, but the world is full of interesting punches! Imagine this garland made with leaf shapes, snowflakes, or flowers.


Begin by punching circles from your old cards.

The first step in this project is punching a whole lot of circles. Depending on the greeting cards you're using, you may be able to get lots of circles, as with this allover pattern card . . .


Some cards won't yield as many pretty circles, so punch carefully.

. . . Or, as with this illustrated card, you may only be able to get a few good circles. (You can always turn your circle punch upside down to get a better look at the area you're punching.)


Cut away the punched edge to create a fresh edge for more punches.

Here's a little trick: After you've punched your way across a card, you can cut the punched edge away with scissors. Now, you have a fresh edge to continue punching.


Lay out four or five circles face down. Glue ribbon to the circles.

Once you have a lot of circles, it's time to assemble the garland. Place four or five circles face down on your work surface. Put a medium spot of craft glue on each circle. Then, place a ribbon over the glue, spacing the circles fairly evenly. (Make sure some glue oozes out from each side of the ribbon.)


Glue more circles on top of the ribbon.

Then, place more circles face up on top of the ribbon. That oozing glue will hold the circles and ribbon together. (You may need to press them together with your fingers for a few seconds so they lie flat.)


Leave about 6 inches of ribbon uncovered at each end of the garland.

By the way, be sure to leave about 6 inches of uncovered ribbon at each end of your garland, in case you need to tie it to anything.

Continue this process, adding four or five circles at a time. It goes very quickly, and you can assembly-line things if you have a group. Some people can punch the circles, and some can glue them. Let the glue dry thoroughly before you use the garland.


Shorter pieces of ribbon will create pretty window dangles.

If you have some leftover circles, you can make some pretty icicle-style dangles to dress up a window.

posted in: paper, houseware, seasonal

Comments (5)

koolmomvb writes: Love, love this! I think I have enough mismatched Christmas cards, you know...the ones you mess up when writing inside of them, or you run out of envelopes, etc. Betcha'I could make enough garland to decorate two trees, haha!
And birthday cards too! they'd make cute party garland punched with flowers & heart punches.
Thanks for the great idea!
Posted: 1:31 am on April 13th
sllvncookie writes: I haven't started this but it looks easy even for me.lol,lol, Simple enough.Thanks!! Cards are cheap now buy a box of assorted ones,pick some out of those,,,Thanks for all your ideas,,,Cookie"
Posted: 11:36 am on January 3rd
ohnoshesews writes: Was doing some after-Christmas cleaning just today and decided to save that stack of this year's Christmas cards.. Now I have the perfect way to use them! Thanks for the really cool idea!!!
Posted: 9:16 pm on December 31st
prpldy writes: What an awesome idea for up-cycling greeting cards. I will be making some of these for my tree next year. Thanks for the wonderful idea!
Posted: 12:04 pm on December 30th
kreativelady writes: wow!! Thank you Diane for another super idea to decorate my Christmas Recycled ornaments with my left over christmas cards - adding more flavor and beauty with my crochet paper-felt-beaded- ribbons-hand crochet ornaments from another member. Now for the tree topper, and I am ready for my guests. Kreativelady.

Posted: 2:56 pm on December 23rd
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