Creative Projects Using Birthday Cards and All Occasion Greeting Cards

by Henry L. on January 8, 2008

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Well hello there! For all of you environmentally conscious people out there, here are some great ideas on what to do with all the beautiful birthday cards and all occasion greeting cards you and your family receive all year long. Yes, I know they are all too pretty to throw away, or you love the sayings on the insides, or the ones the kids got you are too cute to throw out, but what do you do with all of them?

Well here’s the first of many ideas. You must have a large wide candle in the house, don’t you? If not, then purchase an inexpensive one in any desired color. Get white glue or a decoupage glue/finish such as Mod Podge and an X-Acto knife or a sharp little scissor. Find the prettiest part of the birthday card or the words “happy birthday” or some flowers on the card (whatever the art is on the card) and cut it out very carefully keeping close to the outline of the art. Put some glue on the back of the art and glue it carefully to the candle. You can put the art randomly around the candle or the words happy birthday straight up and down or around the base. If you are using Mod Podge, after the first coat that you used to glue the art to the candle is dry, you can give it another coat to seal it. If you want to, you can use some glitter or some beads or sparkling jewels for added embellishments. And there you have it…a keepsake candle to bring out for every family birthday!

Ah…and how about a handmade beautiful birthday or anniversary decoupage cake plate? What a great item to keep or to make for a gift! Purchase a clear glass plate large enough for a cake. A platter would work as well. For this project you will need to use the Mod Podge glue because it works well for decoupaging. You can purchase it at your local craft store, such as Michaels or A.C. Moore. Find the beautiful parts of the art on your greeting cards and again, carefully cut them out. Turn the clear glass dish or platter over and glue the front of the art to the underside of the plate so that when you look at the top of the plate you see all the beautiful cut outs. You may place the art randomly around the plate or completely cover every inch for an overall effect.

If you only want to use a few pieces of art on the plate, a good idea is to purchase colored tissue paper or a beautiful patterned tissue paper and cut a piece out the size of the plate or platter. After you have glued down all the art you want to use and if there is still clear glass showing, cover the complete bottom of the plate with a piece of the tissue paper. Glue down the tissue and then cover the entire bottom of the plate with Mod Podge for a sealed finish. I would give it two coats of the Mod Podge, letting it dry in between coats. If you do not want to use the tissue paper, you may also use paint to finish off the clear spaces. A metallic gold or silver looks beautiful as a finish. Just make sure the art is coated with a sealed coat of the Mod Podge before you apply any paint. And also make sure that the paint is non-toxic and can be used on surfaces to serve food. After the paint is dry apply another coat of Mod Podge for a sealed finish, which will water-proof the surface as well.

Another great use for your birthday cards, anniversary cards, get well cards, or holiday cards is to make handmade gift wrap. To start, purchase a solid color or a striped pattern wrapping paper. Or you could use plain brown wrapping paper, which works beautifully! For a small package, you could even use a plain brown bag that you get from the food store. I would wrap the package first before adding any art. Then carefully add the cut outs from your greeting cards and glue them on to the wrapped gift, either in a pattern or randomly scatter them all over the package. You can also use one of the cut outs as the greeting card enclosure. And there you have it…your own customized gift wrap.

One last quick idea for your greeting cards…a beautiful garland. Again carefully cut around the art on your cards. Using a hole punch, place a hole on the cut outs large enough for a narrow satin or wired ribbon to fit through, and thread the ribbon through the holes spacing the cut outs a few inches from each other to make a ribbon garland. If the ribbon is wide enough, your art will stay in place a few inches from each other. Otherwise, put a small knot on either side of the cut outs to manually hold them still. Depending on how many pieces of art you want to use, cut the ribbon long enough to suit your needs. You can place your garland around the house for a birthday or a holiday appropriate for the cut outs you used.

I hope these ideas are helpful for you to start creating beautiful works of art with all of your greeting cards. Start creating and have fun!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

sandrar September 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

luckysmom September 27, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Wow, you’re a regular Martha Stewart. How do you come up with these ideas? I like the idea of using birthday and holiday greeting cards to decorate candles and make your own garland and wrapping paper as they seem simple enough. But you lost me on decorating the plate using mod podge and tissue paper. I can just see myself having glue and tissue paper stuck to me. Isn’t it hard to keep the paper from ripping? I can’t really imagine how it would look either. Maybe you can post pictures for the non-crafty people? 

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