Tutorial: Make a Greeting Card with Scrap Fabric Applique (and Buttons!)

Christmas Tree Card with Scrap FabricIf you have some ugly old Christmas cards on hand, it’s an awesome fix to make them over with fabric scraps.

Even if you don’t have card one, however, you can still send out a full roster of holiday greetings to your loved ones.

With some plain cardstock or other papers of similar weight (think glossy magazine pages, or the covers of thick catalogues or phone books, etc.), you can use your same pretty fabric scraps to make a completely new card that’s completely you.

And if you have something else awesome for embellishment–vintage buttons, leftover sequins, extra beads–even better!

Here’s how:

You will need:

  • plain cardstock-weight paper three times as wide as the finished width of your card and the same length as the finished length of your card
  • fabric scraps for the front of your card
  • self-healing cutting mat, X-acto knife, ruler
  • marker for drawing on fabric, fabric scissors
  • sewing machine with a sharp, heavy needle (a leather needle is a good choice) and a quilting/free-motion stitch presser foot
  • embellishments
  • matching thread and sharp, heavy hand-sewing needle
  • binder clips
  • glue stick and white glue

1. With the side of the cardstock that will be the inside of your card facing up, divide the width of the cardstock into thirds and, using the BACK of your x-acto knife, score the dividing lines. You should now have three equal panels, or a tri-fold card.

2. On a piece of scrap fabric, sketch a shape that will be no larger than one panel of your card. Some of my favorite choices are an evergreen tree, or a long and lean heart, or the initial of somebody’s name. Cut out this shape from the fabric.

3. On the side that will be the outside of your card, use the glue stick to glue your fabric applique to the center panel of your card.

4. Lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine, and with your freehand presser foot and a long and loose stitch, edge stitch the fabric applique to the center panel of your card. Provided you’ve chosen a sharp and heavy needle, you’ll have no problem stitching through both your fabric and paper.

5. If you’ve chosen embellishments, such as vintage button ornaments for your fabric evergreen, or leftover beads to sprinkle over a fabric heart or snowflake, hand stitch them on with a sharp and heavy hand-sewing needle.

HINT: If you’re trying to sew something that has a hole to plain cardstock, and you want to put that embellishment somewhere specific, hold (or lightly glue) the embellishment to the cardstock on the correct side, then, facing the back side towards you, hold the cardstock up to a light. You’ll be able to see and mark the hole in the embellishment where you should run your needle through.

6. With the inside of the card facing you, trim a very narrow piece from the width of the panel to the left of the center panel. This will allow the card to close completely and more easily when it’s finished.

7. Still with the inside of the card facing you, run a narrow bead of glue along the perimeter of that left panel, then fold it down over the center panel. Pin binder clips all around the perimeter to hold the card closed until the glue has dried. This will cover the raw stitching on the back of your card front, and will leave the inside of the card completely blank for you to write your personal greeting.

Written by Julie Finn

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.


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