Recycle Old Christmas Cards, Greetings Cards, Gift Tags & Wrapping Paper


There are many ways to recycle Christmas cards, greetings cards, gift tags, and other materials, which are often wasted after special occasions. With the crafts you create from them, you can raise funds to stop animal suffering.

This page shows you the kind of things you can create, and also tells you where you can sell them to raise the funds to help animals. The examples shown range from simple, to a little more ambitious.

Maybe you will come up with ideas combining some of the different methods used on this page. The ideas for greetings cards can also be applied to gift tags.

Remember to use both the inside and outside of the greetings cards. Printed text inside cards, and pictures inside, can be used as well as the designs on the outside. Other decals and embelishments you get with gifts and cards (such as ribbons, etc) can also be re-used.

Below: You can recycle your Christmas cards, other greetings cards, gift tags and wrapping paper by making them into a new creation, or taking them to an animal charity collecting them to be recycled.



What You Will Need

To re-create the examples of recycled Christmas cards, gift tags and wrapping paper on this page, you will need:

  • Old Christmas cards and/or greetings cards,
  • Wrapping paper
  • Gift tags


  • Blank card,
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel & cutting mat or guillotine
  • A ruler
  • Ribbon
  • Glue or  double sided sticky tape (or raised sticky pads
    if you want to create a raised 3D effect).

In addition, materials that can be used as templates are needed for you to draw around to get the shape you want. You could use household objects and draw around the bottom of them, pictures you have cut out from old cards, old gift tags, or pictures you have traced from magazines or from the web, and then transferred to card.

Image: Ways to reuse and up-cycle old greetings cards to help animals in need. 


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How To Fold Your Card Neatly

A neat way to fold your card in half by hand is to find a flat, clean surface that has a wall directly behind it, and a clean spoon.
Put the end of your card against the wall, then curve the other end of the card over, and make sure both ends of the card are right against the wall. Run the back of the spoon along where you want the fold to be, whilst making sure both ends of the card are right against the wall.

Alternatively, you can try scoring the card where you would like it to fold, and fold it along the score line. You can also buy ready folded card, or ask your local printers if they can use their folding machine to fold card for you.

Image: To fold greetings cards by hand, you need a metal spoon, and a flat surface with a wall behind it at 90 degrees.


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Recycle Christmas Cards Into Gift Tags

You can recycle Christmas cards or other greetings cards into gift tags very easily, with the help of:

  • A template (this could be an old gift tag)
  • A hole punch, some glue or double sided sticky tape
  • Some string, cord or ribbon (which you may have been able to
  • salvage from gift tags you have received).


  1.  Choose the shape, or shapes you wish to make your gift tags
  2.  If the shape is round, draw round the bottom of a tubular object, such as an aerosol can, or something smaller if you wish. For other shapes, you can either draw a template free hand if you are able, or trace a picture, which you can find on the internet or in a magazine.
  3. Place your template on the area of the greetings card you wish to cut out, and draw around the template.Make sure there is no print or writing on the back of the card where you are cutting the piece out.
  4. Cut out the shape carefully, then punch a hole at the top of your shape. Thread your string or ribbon through the hole, and tie.

Image: You can find silhouette pictures of gift tag shapes you can use as templates online, or you can use old gift tags, or draw round household objects. Source


The tag on the right of the picture is a little more complicated, in that the background is cut out of a card, then four smaller pictures of identical sizes have been stuck onto the background and a border has been drawn around each of them.

Below: Recycle Christmas cards and other greetings cards by making them into gift tags to sell to raise funds to stop animal suffering


Below shows another example of a gift tag made by using old wrapping paper or greetings cards, plus a ribbon, creating a neat edge.

Recycle Old Cards Into New Cards

You can recycle Christmas cards, other greetings cards and gift tags by designing and constructing new cards out of them. Help animals by selling them to raise funds.

The left example below, which looks like lots of presents in a pile, is simply different sized strips, or rectangles, cut out of different cards, then fixed above one another with a little gap in between them. Some of them have had a cross drawn on them to represent ribbon or string around the parcel, and there is a bow drawn on top of the top one. Ribbon could alternatively be used for these things. To make yours look as neat as this one, it would be best to use a template when drawing the shapes to cut out, or measure them out with a ruler.

The middle card, of a garland, has been made using circular punches. Circles have been punched out of different cards, with all the colours complimenting each other. A circular template will have been used to draw on a perfect circle, and the punched circles have been glued on top of it. It has been finished off with a ribbon in a bow glued to the top.
Although different sized circles have been used here, you can use any shapes.

The card on the right uses similar principles as the pile of presents card on the left, except instead of a gap being left, the rectangular strips of card have been slightly overlapped. The sections of card have been cut from two colour co-ordinating cards, or from different sections of the same card. They are equal height, but the widths get narrower to create a tree shape.
A star cut out from an old card has been placed at the top, over-shooting the edge of the card, and buttons have been stuck on as baubles.
Stitching appears to have been used as tinsel on the tree, but if you are not good at sewing, either a pen could be used, narrow ribbon, or it could be left off completely.
A “Merry Christmas” cut out from an old card, or two different old cards, finishes the design off.

Below: Recycle Christmas cards, other cards & gift tags into attractive new cards, such as these.


For the example below, you need a star shaped template, which you can find for free in an internet search. Using a charity search engine for your web searches means you can raise money for animals while seraching on the net.
Draw around the star shaped template on the back of the old greetings card design you want to use. Carefully cut out the shape and stick it on your new card. Embellish it as you wish. If you want to, you can use wrapping paper to cover the star shape. You can experiment with how you do this, using some of the methods suggested on this page.  You don’t have to use a star, you can use whatever shaped template you would like.

Use Strips Of Old Cards To Make New Designs

You can easily recycle Christmas cards and other old cards and create the designs below, by cutting them into strips. In addition to two of the designs in the section above, here are more ways you can use strips of old greetings cards to create new ones. Selling your creations can help raise money to help animals in need.

You must make sure that the colours you use in your creations compliment each other so the card looks attractive.

The design top left in the image has long slim strips cut out to look like candles. They have purposely been hand cut with scissors, without the use of a template or measuring, so they do not look perfect. They have been placed in a slightly wonky way that is not parallel to each other. Paper or card has been used to create the flames, and embelishments such as buttons, small hearts, flowers and ribbons have been place on the candles.
The Happy Birthday looks like silver adhesive writing, but you can use the Happy Birthday greeting cut out from an old card.

The example shown top right of the picture below, is of another Christmas tree, but is slightly more complex.
Strips of different widths and heights have been cut and criss-crossed over each other. The strips get narrower the further up the tree.
The colours used are colours found in nature and all compliment each other, giving the card a woody feel.
Again,a square of an old greetings card has been used for the tree trunk, and a star cut from an old card tops the tree.

The design bottom left has five strips of card, cut at the ends to look like they are pieces of ribbon. Three are placed equally spaced apart on top of the bottom layer, which is a faintly striped piece of card or paper. The remaining two strips of card are placed in the spaces, overlapping the three.
The Happy Birthday is a strip cut out of another old card, and there are embelishments such as a party hat and two dots.

The bottom right example has been done by cutting four equal sized strips from a red card, then looping them over to create half a heart, and fixing them at the bottom. Two of them have been fixed together to create a heart, then they have been fixed to the card. A green pen has been drawn against a ruler to create a stalk, then a simple looped leaf has been drawn on the stalk.

Below: Use strips of old greetings cards to create new ones to raise funds to help animals.


The design below shows how old greetings cards or wrapping paper can be used as a background.


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Simple Bunting Card and Gift Tag Designs

You can create a simple bunting design card by cutting triangles out of old greetings cards, all the same size, and stick them onto a card  in the shape of bunting.

This design has stuck on natural brown string for the bunting to “hang” from. You can stick a greetings message you have cut out of another card, or use stick-on letters.


In this design, adhesive sparkly plastic jewells have been stuck on between the bunting to represent the string. You can stick on any other embelishments you have kept fom other cards, such as butterflies like in the design below. Writing and numbers from other cards can be stuck on.


As with many of the ideas on this page, you can use this bunting idea to recycle greetings cards into new gift tags, like the exampe below.



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Create Multi-Layered Cards

Recycle Christmas cards and other greetings cards, wrapping paper and gift tags and make them into multi layered examples such as the ones shown below.

These designs are all about colour co-ordination, an attractive layout, and the building up of layers.

For example, with the bottom left design, the colour of the red background card has been matched to the colour of the reindeer in the layer that has been stuck on top of it.
The light green colour in the foliage pattern, on the same layer, has been matched to the border of the layer on top of that.
The very top layer has writing on it that matches the light green of the layer underneath, which, because it is bigger than the top layer, looks like a border.
Notice also, that the darker green colour on the foliage pattern has been matched to the ribbon at the side.

The snowman design has used a red and white stripy background with a white layer on top of that, that matches the white in the striped background. This white layer has a thin green line around the edge.
For the next layer, a red strip from a card has been used that matches the red in the striped background.
A rectangle of card, the same shade of green as the thin line border on the white layer, has been placed on top of the red layer, meaning only the top and bottom of the red layer can be seen.
This green layer has been decorated with three smaller pictures cut out of old cards, creating a scene of a snowman, a Christmas tree and a red snowing sky behind them.
Finally, a ribbon bow, that matches the red and white striped background has been fixed to the corner of the white layer.

The middle left picture shows co-ordinating pieces of card that have been cut out and collected together into four different designs, ready to put onto new cards.

The bottom left card is a white card with a long blue rectangle of card put down the left side, and the same cut into a square and put on the right side of the card.
A narrower rectangle of silver card with a baubles design has been placed on top of the blue one at the left side, so that the blue layer can be seen at both sides. The silver matches the areas of silver that can be picked out in the darker blue layer.
On top of the square blue layer on the right, a smaller square of complimentary blue has been placed, so the darker blue square underneath looks like a border. The blue layer on top matches the lighter blue shades of the darker blue layer underneath, and the snowflakes on that layer match the white of the background card.
On top of the lighter blue layer on the right, is placed a silver Christmas tree. The silver on that matches the silver on the darker blue first layer.
Finally, a silver strip saying “Merry Christmas!” is placed partially over the layers on the left, but also filling the blank space on the right.

Below: The top two pictures show pictures and words cut out from old cards. The middle left picture shows cut out pieces sorted into four designs ready to fix to card. The remaining pictures show Christmas cards recycled into new multi-layered card designs.


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Use Collage To Recycle Old Cards & Wrapping Paper Into New Cards

You can recycle Christmas cards, other greetings cards, and wrapping paper to produce collage cards. Below are just a few ideas, but you can use your imagination, and get inspiration from other designs on the web, to create your own, unique, designs.


The heart designs (top left and top right), and the tree design (top middle), have been made by ripping (top left heart example) or cutting up wrapping paper into small sections.
Different shades of red have been used for the heart (top left), different shades of green for the tree (top middle), and shades of white, pink, red, and yellow for the raised heart, (top right).
They have then been fixed onto a section of old greetings card, big enough to cut a heart or tree shape out of.

To get the shape you want, use a template (see the “What You Will Need” section of this page). Choose the area of the collage you have done and put your template over it and draw around it.
Carefully cut out your shape and fix it to the card.
For the raised heart (top right), raised sticky pads have been used so it is not sitting flat on the card and creates a 3D effect.
For the baubles on the Christmas tree, a round hole punch has been used to punch perfect circles in wrapping paper or card, and the circles have been stuck to the card.

Image: Recycle Christmas cards, other greetings cards, gift tags & wrapping paper into beautiful but simple collage cards.


The collage cards below are a little more complex.
The whole of the front of the card is covered in layers of wrapping paper that has been ripped or cut, and topped off with pictures cut out of old cards, as well as ribbon and buttons. Pictures cut out of magazines and newspapers can also be used.

As with all designs, colour co-ordination is important, and only colours that compliment each other should be used together on a card.

You can use whatever shape you like to cover, and you can choose whether to rip the pieces of wrapping paper in to small bits, cut them into strips or squares, or just cover the shape in one piece of wrapping paper.

You can also decide to make the background a collage. The examples shown top and bottom right have a vintage feel.

Image: Recycle Christmas cards, other greetings cards, gift tags and wrapping paper, into new collage cards like these.


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You Can Use Wrapping Paper Or Newspaper To make Cards

You can use old wrapping paper, or old newspaper, as in the design below, to create new designs. You can use the wrapping paper in the background of the card, or to make flowers. To make the individual flowers, you need to have a long piece of newspaper and roll it into a small tube, so it is about the size of a straw. Slightly flatten the tube, and spread glue or double sided sticky tape along one side of it. Then roll it up from one end and hold in place until the glue dries.

Fabric has been used for the leaves in this design, but you could use green coloured greetings cards to create them.


Below is another design where you could use old wrapping paper where they have used newspaper. Or use old newspaper if you wish.

If you want to, cut out a piece of wrapping paper or card to use as a background. If you do, make sure the background looks good along side the paper you choose to use for the dresss.

Get a template of a dress shape you like from the internet. Draw round it in pencil onto an old greetings card. It doesn’t matter what the old  greetings card looks like, as it will be completely covered. Cut out the shape.

Roll tubes of the wrapping paper the length you want the skirt of the dress to be, making them wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. Slightly flatten the tubes, maybe a bit more than for the card above.  This is one pleat for the skirt, so you will need to keep making more until the template shape is filled in the skirt area. The design below needed it done five times, and they overlap at the top. Experiment with how you overlap them and go with what looks most natural for how a skirt would lie. Once you are happy, stick it on. Don’t worry if the top of your pleated skirt looks messy, as a band of paper will be used as the waist band of the dress to hide it.

Cover the top of the dress with the same wrapping paper used for the skirt. You can cut additional strips to make a collar, as below. Cover the waist band area with with a section of wrapping paper, with the pattern running a different way to the skirt and top part. This will cover the messy bits of tube at the top of the skirt.

Stick the finished dress onto your card and draw in a coat hanger. Do it lightly in pencil first so you can rub it out easily if it goes wrong. Look up pictures online to copy. When you are happy with it, go over it in a black fine line pen. The design below has also drawn a black border around the shape of the dress.

You can add a flower or any other embelishments you like, and use printed greetings cut out of old greetings cards.

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The cards below have used a similar dress theme, except they have used whole flat pieces of wrapping paper to cover the template shape.

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Make Animal Design Greetingss Cards

Card designs with animals on usually go down well with animal lovers, so should sell well at animal rescue fundraising events.

Animal shaped templates are freely available online. Unless you are confident in cutting out animal shapes freehand, you will need animal templates, like the ones below.


You can create something similar to the robin design below, by using a template shape of a robin. Draw around the template onto the back of the card you choose. Then stick on to a new card. Cut othe shape of a wing out of another card that has a complimenting colour and pattern. Do the same with the shape fr the Christmas hat. Cut out a strip from a white area of an old card (this might be the inside of the card), to make the hat rim, and a round shape for the bobble at the top of the hat. The final pieces you need to cut out are to make an eye and a beak. Then draw some simple stick legs.  The one below has stitching on, which if you are not confident doing, you can draw a broken line in instead, or leave it out completely.


A card similar to the deer design below can be easily achieved by using a template of a deer (found online). Draw the shape of the template onto the back of the card you choose to cut it out from, then cut out the shape. Stick it onto a card, with or without a background – it’s your choice. Then cut out pieces from another old greetings card to form the shape of the scarf, and embelish with a button. If you wish, you can add hand drawn dashes around the edge of the robins body to emulate stitching.


Another option is that you can cut the shape of a template out of an old greetings card, and then use pieces of wrapping paper to collage on top of it, or just cover in one whole piece of wrapping paper. When it is finished, stick it onto your new card and embelish how you wish. You can create a silver background by spray painting the card.

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Using used gift tags to make new greetings cards

Save all the gift tags you receive if you think they would look good incorporated into a greetings card design.

The examples below show various ways they can be included in the design of a greetings card.



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Decorations And Other Items You Can Recycle Christmas Cards & Wrapping Paper Into

You can recycle Christmas cards into a whole range of things, not just new cards and tags.

The picture below shows a number of decorations and other items, such as photograph frames, bookmarks and a range of Christmas decorations.

You can find many more ideas, AND help stop animal suffering at the same time, by searching for other designs you can create, using Charity Search Engines.

Image: Decorations and other items you can recycle Christmas cards, birthday and other greetings cards, gift tags and wrapping paper into.


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Where Can I Donate & Sell My Creations To Help Animals?

You can donate recycled Christmas card creations (or anything you have to offer) to numerous animal rescue organisations who hold auctions, sales, raffles and other fund raising contests to help stop animal suffering all over the world. They advertise their events in this Facebook group, and are grateful of any items people would like to donate to help the animals they save from suffering.

Just click the “Join” button at the top left of the Facebook group page you are taken to, under the banner picture. You have to have a Facebook account to join groups on Facebook.

It is a wonderful community of compassionate, like-minded animal lovers to get involved with.


Another group on Facebook you may like to get involved with is the I Love Crafting Supporters Group. It is a group of people who enjoy crafting and donating their items to animal rescue fundraising events so they help animals.

If you are like minded, you are very welcome to join the group.


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The Many Other Ways To help Stop Animal Cruelty

On this site there are many varied ways you can help stop animal cruelty, and there are ways  that will suit everyone, no matter what their personality.

If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at the Types Of Animal Cruelty section of this site. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.

Sadly, what you will find is only the tip of the iceberg, but do not worry, because in the Help Stop Animal Cruelty section of this site, you can find a large and varied choice of ways that you can help stop the suffering. Have a look and see what ways would most suit you.

Help animals further by sharing the ways to stop animal cruelty you learn with other people. Doing this could mean more people help stop the cruelty, and therefore you are responsible for more animals being saved from suffering.

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