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Ideas for Upcycled DIY Christmas Cards

DIY Christmas cards are the semi-homemade way to make great, personalized cards without all the muss and fuss of making them completely from scratch. Years past, I handmade all my Christmas cards (over 50!) with cardstock and scrapbooking materials. After kids? Ha! I usually send photo cards to friends and family these days. But sometimes I find myself needing a Christmas card without our family on it – for greetings to people like the mailman, newspaper delivery and more. Sometimes you just need a generic card, right?

Over the years, I’ve saved all the pretty Christmas cards I receive. The photo ones, I keep in a box to remember my friend’s kids, but if the card had no personal message in it, I stick them in my craft bin.

Create Your Own Upcycled DIY Christmas Cards

This year, I finally decided to make use of them. Instead of going to the store and buying a box of Christmas greeting cards, I made my own upcycled DIY Christmas cards with them!DIY Christmas cards on table

Of course, you can go incredibly basic and simply cut out the front of the Christmas card, and glue it onto a folded piece of cardstock for a brand new card. But there’s more ways to add a personalized touch to upcycled cards!

Amazon affiliate links have been used in this post.

What You’ll Need to Create Upcycled DIY Christmas Cards 

Stack of greeting cards on tableCards and various crafting materials on table

  • A large stack of old greeting cards
  • Package of blank cards and envelopes – I go for the larger 5 x 7″ size
  • Liquid glue stick
  • Fine point/detail scissors
  • Double-sided tape runner
  • Glue dots
  • Foam adhesive squares
  • Large paper punches
  • 12×12 paper cutter – trust me, you’ll want this!
  • Embellishments – ribbons, paperclips, buttons, glitter, brads, etc. I have loads of this stuff, so it’s getting put to good use this year!

Ways to Personalize Your DIY Upcycled Christmas Cards

X-Acto paper punchDIY Christmas card on paper cutterUpcycled Christmas card with ribbon on paper punch

Punch Circles

You can punch out the prettier sections of cards into circles to create ornaments, strings of lights, and more. Try using other shape punches and see what happens!Collage with stack of cards at top, cut paper pieces at center, and fnished card at bottom

Deconstructed Trees ‘n Things 

Many cards have great patterns or textures to them, on the back sometimes even. I slice these up into 1/4″ strips (or punch into circles – see above!) and then use them to build Christmas trees, ornament bulbs and the like! Top with a button star or draw one on!

Card with white paper and embellishments on matFinished card using embellishments and paper

Embellish with Trinkets

Sometimes it’s just as simple as cutting out the main image from a card and remounting it over a ribbon or piece of card stock. Then add brads or paper clip embellishments that match the design or color!

DIY Chirstmas card with ribbon embellishment

Laced Ribbon

For larger card fronts that you wish to keep intact, add interest by punching some holes along the entire outer edge. Then thread a thin ribbon through and either leave ends behind the card for a clean finish or tie into a bow at the top or bottom. Affix to a larger card with double-sided tape.

Bird card with box of glitter tubes on matBird card with added glitter and background card stock on mat

Sparkle Embellishment 

If you have a matte picture card, trace the main portions of the image with a liquid glue stick. Then sprinkle some sparkles or glitter over the glue tracings. Let it set for a minute, then shake off excess. Voila! You just prettified the picture! This bird card is my favorite because I happened to have that lovely tree paper to put behind it – it looks made for this card! Hope you can see a glimmer of the sparkle in that photo!

Now, these cards are a bit more plain, because I was trying to put them together quickly to show you some ideas. But I plan to go back and add on further to them.

Some Ideas for Adding More to These Card Creations

Stamping a large background texture stamp behind the image

Layering cardstock two or three levels to give a framed look

Using word stamps on the front of the cards – for instance, the string of Christmas ornaments or lights, I have a large “Celebrate” stamp that would fit across the entire blank space at the bottom.

Tying ribbon around the fold in the card – a simple way to add an embellishment to any card.

Affixing the images with brads or buttons

Using printed background papers that coordinate with the colors or imagery (see the sparkly bird card).

How Would You Upcycle Your DIY Christmas Cards?

If you have a craft post or tutorial that shows how to use old greeting cards, please share in the comments (I am trying to make a linky but it’s not working!)

DIY Christmas cards on table


Friday 26th of February 2021

I just love this! You wouldn't believe the stack of cards I have just waiting to be put to another good use. Thank you for this brilliant and creative idea.

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Thursday 18th of December 2014

I will have to hold onto the cards we get this year for next year. I love re-using items and those turned out so cute. I was trying to make my own cards this year and then my cutting machine had issues so I just bought some.