Holiday Crafts

Published on December 10th, 2009 | by Julie Finn


Tutorial: A Simple Recycled Paper Greeting Card

Greeting Cards from Recycled PapersWhether you are a hoarder of pretty papers or you take your art materials at random from the recycling bin, the holidays are an excellent time to use up the little bits and scraps of paper that tend to otherwise get lost or discarded.

At our house, our holidays are primarily handmade (except for Santa, of course–Santa’s been shopping the deals all year long), and I try not to buy any new materials when making my gifts and other projects, either.

AND I do almost all of my crafting with two little kids either actively helping, or at least in tow, so my stuff can’t be super-complicated or destroyed by the input of a five-year-old.

Hence the introduction of these fun little scrap paper cards, which are easy and satisfying AND just about free to make.

You will need:

  • blank greeting card (or follow the instructions in my collage window card tutorial to construct your own tri-fold card out of any cardstock-weight paper)
  • template for a simple shape, no larger than the front of your card (or feel free to freehand it)
  • pretty recycled papers–I use everything from leftover scrapbook paper to old book pages, glossy magazine pages, newspaper, and my students’ old homework papers
  • scissors for paper
  • white glue
  • big hardback book to use as a weight

1. Cut out a simple design from pretty recycled paper. Your paper, especially if it’s taken from something like a comic book or a foreign-language newspaper, is likely to be pretty busy on its own, so the simpler the shape, the better.

2. Using an extremely judicious amount of glue, glue the paper shape to the front of your greeting card.

I’ve found that glue actually gets a pretty bad rap among the paper crafting community–adhesive dots are the big deal now, apparently. But I find that glue, although you do have to think a little and be pretty careful if you want a picture-perfect result with no bubbling or excess or smears, works absolutely fine, is strong and invisible, has less packaging and landfill waste associated with it, and is WAY cheaper. For me, case closed.

3. Press your card under a heavy weight until your glue has set, perhaps as little as an hour or as long as a day, depending on the size of your card, the type of glue you’ve used, and the qualities of your papers.

If you’d like, you can embellish your card with buttons, sequins, beads, ribbons, watch parts–any random bits and bobs that you happen to have on hand.

I admit, however, that I happen to find just the simple shape of a simple card quite appealing on its own.

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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.

10 Responses to Tutorial: A Simple Recycled Paper Greeting Card

  1. These are nice.

    My family makes their own Christmas cards everyyear out of whatever scraps and craft supplies we have on hand.

  2. Great idea. It’s also nice to cut out shapes of scraps of fabric like felt.

  3. This is a great idea. My kids have been making holiday cards for their friends. Maybe adding some leftover fabric to the cards would be fun for them.

  4. Pingback: Tutorial: A Simple Recycled Paper Greeting Card

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  8. Julie Finn says:

    This card project also worked for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Independence Day. Hmmm…is Labor Day a card-giving occasion?

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