Published on June 12th, 2012 | by Julie Finn


How-to: Recycled Paper and Scrap Fabric Business Cards

business cards made from fabric scraps and recycled paper

Making your own business cards allows you to completely customize them towards your personal career path. Graphic designers have long known how a well-designed business card features their particular skills, but custom handmade business cards could also highlight the skills of a variety of indie crafters and artists–think handmade paper, scrapbooking details, custom stamp work, or decorative stitching.

These sewn business cards, which utilize two layers of scrap fabric, a recycled paper base, and your complete business information, are a little more work than your ordinary business card, but they’re beautiful, eco-friendly, quite thrifty, and they’ll certainly stand out in a crowd. Here’s how to make them:

stitch all the layers of the business card together

Like the stitched recycled paper business cards, you’ll need to gather together a few layers of materials for your cards:

  1. cardstock-weight paper for the center of the card: You can find cardstock-weight paper in cardboard food packaging, record album covers, paperback book covers, some kinds of junk mail, greeting cards, cardboard CD or software sleeves, photographs, or other business cards.
  2. scrap fabric for the front and back of the card: Any scrap fabric of the appropriate size will work for this project. I often find myself using a very luxurious fabric, something that I haven’t wanted to throw away even smaller scraps of,  for the front of the business card, and a plainer fabric for the back, so as not to visually distract from my business information.
  3. blank or lightly printed paper for the business card’s back: You’ll need to be able to stamp or print and read your business information on this paper, so stick to the blank sides of printer paper, or unused sections of notebook paper.

Cut all the layers to size, using an existing business card as a template. Cut accurately, since many people own business card holders that won’t work for cards of non-standard sizes. For extra interest, you can cut your fabric using pinking shears. I like to stamp or print my business information onto the blank paper before cutting it, then trim it down until it just contains the information–that way the backing fabric works as a nice border to the business information.

To sew the card together, first use a glue stick to adhere the backing fabric to the cardstock middle, then also glue the paper with the business card information in its place on the back of the card. Using a sharp, sturdy needle in your sewing machine, just sew the paper with the business card information onto the card, which will also, of course, stitch that backing fabric to the card in that spot.

Next, remove the card from your sewing machine, and glue the front fabric to the card using a glue stick. Using any stitch that you like, sew around the perimeter of the card to attach all the layers. The stitching that you used to attach the business card information will be covered on its back side, which gives the business card a cleaner look.

While you likely will not want to go to the trouble to make enough of these business cards to hand out to every single person, it’s nice to have a stash of extra-special business cards at the ready to give out when you want to make a great first impression.

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

7 Responses to How-to: Recycled Paper and Scrap Fabric Business Cards

  1. Pingback: Business Cards » How-to: Recycled Paper and Scrap Fabric Business Cards | Crafting a Green World

  2. Donna says:

    You can also use recycled cards, use Wonder Under or another adhesive for fabric to attach fabric to the card on the design side of the card, cut into business card shape, and use the blank side for your text. You can play around with styles and shapes. I did something like this for gift tags – http://www.scrapstitching.com/projects/2002_05_GiftTags/gifttags.htm

    I love recycling fabrics and supplies.

  3. Amanda says:

    I really like this idea! I actually think I would like to make a whole ton of these once my busy summer craft fair season is over.

    • Julie Finn says:

      It’s surprisingly pleasant busywork since they come together so quickly. I make my regular, every day business cards out of cardboard record album covers, but these actually don’t take that much more time to make, and people are THRILLED to get them because they’re clearly so purposefully and thoughtfully made. I feel like the extra impact of handing out handmade cards is way worth the extra effort of putting them together instead of always buying mass-printed ones.

      • Plus, I think folks probably value your handmade cards more than mass-produced ones. Maybe it keeps some waste out of the landfill? I’d have a harder time tossing these cards than something printed on cardstock.

        • Donna says:

          I agree! That’s why I use recycled greeting cards. I really don’t like throwing those away and usually the front is totally reusable.

  4. Simmy says:

    Thanks for the ideas! I have posted a link to your blog at my blog, http://18chuppahs.blogspot.com/

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