So, I had this idea to try out different Christmas crafting ideas throughout the year, so that when December 2013 rolls around, I won't find myself in the same position: looking at dozens of projects that I would like to do, but simply don't have the time for. To that end, I am planning a "Christmas in [Insert Month Here]" series. Each month, even in the high heat of the summertime, I am hoping to do a Christmas project that I have bookmarked and wanted to try.
For Christmas in January, I played around with a bunch of different ways to recycle the Christmas cards we received. I had so much fun with this, and am really excited about the results.
Top 10 Ways to Use Your Old Christmas Cards
1. Gift tags.This is, perhaps, the "no brainer" idea; I've been doing this for years. All you have to do is cut out a cute part of any card. Cutting it into the shape of a tag and punching a hole in it for ribbon are purely optional. You write your To and From on the front if there is room, or on the back if there is not. Simple, simple.
2. Bookmarks.This is the first time I have tried this, and I am so happy with the results. Bookmarks can come in any number of sizes, so cut any long, narrow portion of a card that looks nice. Punch a hole in the top for a ribbon or some other kind of fiber. (I've had these braided cords sitting in a drawer, unused, for years.)
April Cole, and had a Santa image raised up on foam from another Santa image, so I got two-for-one!
3. PostcardsOne of my mail art friends sent me a postcard made from the front cover of a Christmas card, and it was a total, "Why didn't I think of that?!" moment.
4. New CardsSometimes it's fun to re-envision a card and make it into something new. I took this beautiful photograph of a vintage Santa ornament from the front of a Christmas card, and cut it into several small squares, which I arranged on the back of another (hot pink) Christmas card we received. By mounting it on a kraft paper card, I created a whole new card! (The original photo, by the way, was taken by Lisa Leitch of Montana Trails Photo, which she co-owns with Randy Updegrove, my husband's cousin.)
5. GarlandsEveryone is rather garland-crazy these days, and I've been wanting to see how it works to sew paper shapes together, leaving spaces in between. (I couldn't really get my head around that until I tried it!)
6. Christmas OrnamentThere are all kinds of papercraft ornaments that you can make from your old Christmas cards; the Internet abounds with them, and you can also look in various books that talk about projects you can do with old book pages. Here is a very simple ornament design: a Christmas ball.
7. ConfettiHere's another fun and simple use for your old cards: confetti!
8. MatchboxesOkay, there is a steep learning curve for this project, and I don't quite have it mastered yet. For someone who loves to work with paper as much as I do, it's amazing what a clutz I am when it comes to folding it into any recognizable form. (Origami Master, I am NOT!)
template by Rachel Johnson, which you can find on the Swapbot blog. Take my advice: don't try making the matchbox for the very first time using your "very favorite, absolutely perfect for this project" Christmas card! I messed up my first attempt, folding in the wrong places, and got two unsightly folds on the adorable photo of the child catching snowflakes on her tongue (many thanks to Mary for that sweet card!) I totally flubbed up the little box that slides inside, too, and wouldn't you know that I used up my most wonderfully simple, Christmas-y snowflake card in the process. I made a slight error in attempt #2, the teddy bear matchbox, but you can't see it unless you turn it over. I am definitely going to master this paper-folding challenge! Just not today...
9. Journal/NotebookPerhaps my all-time favorite project: turning an old Christmas card into a stitched notebook.
10. PlacematAnd here is one final idea. I haven't actually done it myself yet, but I'm including it because I have all the supplies out and ready to go, and I want a nice round 10 ideas to share with you!
I am going to take the family photo cards I received, and glue them down to a large, sturdy piece of paper. Then I am going to put laminating paper on the front and back of it (you could use clear contact paper, as well). This will create a placemat that we can use, enjoying the photos of our friends and family as we eat throughout the year! So many people send photo cards now instead of more traditional Christmas cards, that I could probably get four placemats' worth of pictures. At least I'll make two with photos on the front and back for my children to enjoy.
So, it looks like I spent a ton of time re-purposing all my old Christmas cards, doesn't it? In reality, I made all of these things (#1-9) in a few hours over the course of two days. They are so simple, straight-forward, and fun, and I feel like I got a little more life out of my cards. It's so much nicer than tossing them in the recycling bin!
************************That's my taste of Christmas in January! We'll see what Christmas project February will bring!