Craft Ideas for Recycling your Birthday Cards

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I don’t consider myself to be a pack rat because I don’t like clutter, but recently I decided to clear out a couple of “junk drawers” and a closet. I finally got rid of the magazines and newspaper clippings with recipes, especially holiday or birthday recipes (that I never cooked) and craft ideas (that I never made). I also tied up the four years of National Geographic magazines that my kids never used for reference for school reports. Duh! When was the internet invented?

As I came across the next hurdle, I knew I wouldn’t part with it. It was my box of personalized birthday cards. I save greeting cards that I receive from friends and relatives. You know the ones with the beautiful wrapped presents on them and the ones with balloons and cakes and candles. I like to recycle things and also love crafting. If I like the design on the front of the card or the greeting on the inside, I just throw the card in a drawer, thinking one day I’ll do something with it. Well, with the drawers and closet overflowing, I had to act. Here are some ideas I came up with:

Idea #1 – Instead of buying expensive wrapping paper, collect all the birthday cards that you’ve received, especially the ones with beautifully wrapped presents on them. Wrap your gift either in brown or white craft paper (I’ve even used aluminum foil in a pinch) or a put it in a plain box or gift bag. You can cut the pictures and words off the cards and paste them randomly on the package. You can even use the inside greeting or verse words. If you have enough birthday cards you can cut out each letter individually to spell “Happy Birthday” or the recipient’s name. I like to use craft scissors with different edges to vary the finish. Your gift will be unique!

Idea #2 – Cut the pictures off the front of the birthday cards and make gift tags by punching a hole in the top of each image and pulling ribbon through it. Tie a bow and tape it to your gift.

Idea #3 – Use birthday cards for your scrapbooking projects. When filling a page with pictures from a birthday, cut the words, pictures, and greetings off the cards. Arrange them around the pictures to add descriptive memories of the special event. Finish the page by adding bows, ribbons, or fabric swatches to add texture. Although I never seem to get the time to do my own scrapbook, I have made pages for my niece to add to her book with pictures I have taken at her special events such as her Baptism, first day of school, and a Disney vacation.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Clara March 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I love these ideas. I always feel bad when I have to throw away old cards, now maybe I won’t have to.

MaryAnn Tobias September 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

These are awesome ideas. I actually have a scrapbook with different parts of cards in it. I put the names of who gave them to me on the back.

Walter August 6, 2015 at 9:58 am

This is really smart! I usually save cards for sentimental value, but every so often I come across that one card that just stands out. I’ve never known what to do with those cards, but you’ve given me some great ideas

bentley t November 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I love these ideas — I have had old shoeboxes and plain craft or photo boxes and decorated them with cards. So many great things to do with cards. You could cut out the fronts of most of the Gallery collection cards and pop a whole in the top and make ornaments. They are so pretty.

Bev J. September 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Wow, recycling birthday cards as gift tags. Now that’s a unique idea!

Dawn September 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

when the kids were little and in a pinch I would use whatever paper I had around – wrap the gift using the white side of the wrapping paper. Then I would have the kids decorate the wrapped package. Was great for grandparents. But I love this idea and will keep it in mind next time I’m in a pinch to wrap a gift. And trust me it will happen.

Melly September 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Wow I’m never throwing away a card again. There’s so many different things you can do with them. I especially like the gift wrapping idea . Who knew how far aluminum foil, some old cards and a little imagination could go.

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