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Recycled Christmas Cards: Friends and Family Tree Garland

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Now that Labor Day has officially come and gone and the Summer of 2010 is officially over, I can get into full fall mode YAY! without anyone giving me a hard time, like I am trying to rush the season. I am looking forward to oranges, browns, reds and all the lovely warm fall colors and putting some fall touches throughout the house. The project I created for today’s post goes beyond Fall… I used recycled Christmas cards to make a Christmas tree garland that takes some time to put together so I wanted to post it now to give you ample time to gather all the materials so you can create your own.

Recycling ideas for Christmas Cards and Christmas Craft Ideas

I have been saving all the Christmas cards I have received for many years and have quite a collection.  I love to find ways to re-use them (here is another way I have recycled Christmas cards). I have been working on this Friends and Family Christmas Tree Garland for a while now and happy to say, it is done.  My plan was to make use of all the photo cards I have gotten since I am not a scrapbooker.  I thought how nice it would be to wrap my tree with all the friends and family who live far away and that we won’t see during the holidays.  Decoratively displaying the garland will bring them a little bit closer at least in spirit.

Now I can use it to decorate my home for Christmas and add to it every year. If you have all the materials gathered you could get this done in a day – I just took the long way around.

Christmas Card recycling ideas

The recycled christmas card garland is quite easy to make.   First you need to figure out how long a garland you want.  Estimate how many cards, sequins, beads, and jump rings you will need, then begin creating it in stages.  1.  Cut the cards.  2.  Punch holes in sequins and put on jump rings.  3.  Make wire loops for the beads   4. Assemble it. 

supplies needed:

  • 24 gauge wire
  • 1/8″ hole punch
  • Fast Grab Tacky Glue
  • Deckle Edge Ruler
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Jewelry making pliers
  • Large jump rings
  • Christmas Cards – traditional and photo cards
  • Variety of beads
  • Scissors

Christmas Tree Garland Ideas

Gather your Recycled Christmas Cards

1.  Cut greetings and images from the front of cards until you have enough to make a garland the length you need.  Cut the images out in all different shapes for more interest.  I chose to make my garland red, green, and white and only used cards in those colors.

How to make a Christmas Tree Garland using old Christmas cards

2. Punch a hole in each side of every cut-out.

Christmas Garland Making Ideas

3.  Cut a variety of greetings from the front of cards and keep in a separate pile.

Christmas Craft Ideas

Since I wanted all white greetings, I used the inside message for my garland, but you can use the front greetings as pictured above also.

Decorating Ideas for Christmas

4. I used a deckle edge ruler to give my cut out greetings a decorative edge.  You could also use pinking or scalloped scissors.  Punch a hole in each side of the cut-out.

Christmas Crafts ideas for trees

5. Cut out the photos of your friends and family from all the photo cards you receive.

How to reuse Christmas Cards

and punch a hole in each side.

Christmas Card recycling ideas


This step is optional, but I wanted to add a little glitz. I layered a green sequin onto a red one and used Fast Grab Tacky Glue to adhere quickly.

Decorating Craft Ideas for Christmas

Christmas Craft Ideas

Then I used a hole punch to make the center hole bigger for a jump ring to go through.

Christmas Craft Ideas

Add a large jump ring to each sequin.

Christmas Card recycling ideas


Create the beads with wire loops to connect the cards.  Thread wire through bead –

Christmas Craft Ideas

and then make a wrapped loop. For more detailed directions on how to make a wrapped loop with wire,  go here

Make a wire loop for a bead to dangle

Repeat on other side so that when you are done your bead looks like this.  Repeat on all your beads.

Christmas Garland Making Ideas

Assemble Your Christmas Card Garland

Attach the beads to the jump rings and close with needle-nose pliers.

Christmas Card recycling ideas

I used pearls and a variety of different styles of red and green beads.

Christmas Card recycling ideas

Christmas Card recycling ideas


Over doors, windows, mantels…

Christmas Card recycling ideas


Christmas Card recycling ideas

and your Christmas tree.

Christmas Card recycling ideas

Christmas Card recycling ideas

Christmas Card recycling ideas

Christmas Card recycling ideas

Christmas Garland Making Ideas

Christmas Garland Making Ideas

 Recycling ideas for old Christmas cards

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  1. Hi Diane,
    I have boxes of Christmas cards, one of the few things I can’t toss:). A few years ago I made swags for our dining room chair backs, kind of cute but of course, not as detailed as yours. I just cut out the pictures, punched holes on each side, threaded wide ribbon through and tied to chair backs.

    1. Hi Chris-
      What a great idea. You could do this with any kind of greeting card for different occasions also. Birthday cards for a B-day party. Easter cards for an Easter dinner etc. Thanks for sharing your idea.
      My best-

  2. I LOVE this idea! I never know what to do with the cards we receive (though we get less of them each year *sniff*). What a great memory maker….

    I added some links from last year’s Christmas projects to your on-going link-up(s). It’s been fun to go back and see what all I accomplished in the crafting/decorating department thanks to blogging :)

    I’ll look forward to visiting the links often as the fall gets underway as I hope to do my Christmas crafting BEFORE the season starts this year :)

    blessings and peace,

    1. Hi Cindy-

      I, too seem to get less and less cards each year. I noticed though over the past few years how many “photo” cards we get. I hate throwing them away since they have smiling faces on them of my friends and family. This garland was one way I have come up with so far on how to re-use them. Thanks for linking up to the On-Going Holiday Project link up.
      My best- Diane

  3. HI Diane,
    This is such a fabulous idea. I love it. In fact, since we celebrate Chanukah, a lot of our family and friends do either Chanukah or new year’s cards and then we also get some Christmas ones. It’d be fun to mix all of the seasonal words and colors and keep it out all season long and add to it, even yearly add to it – then you can see all the changes in the pictures too. Thanks for sharing this.
    And thanks for all your kind words on my scrapbook. It’s so therapeutic for me!
    – Sydney