Card-Crafting 101

Don't discard those old greeting cards — pass them on!

Statistically speaking, in lean times, holiday cards are one of the first fripperies to get the axe. Suddenly the expense of a few dollars a pop seems to add up much faster than in years of relative prosperity. We’re all for a trend that cuts down on the consumption of new goods, but because we still like the underlying intention behind card exchange, we often wind up making our own. Here’re some of our favorite methods.


Recycled Cards Those cards you received last year and stuck away in a drawer somewhere? Nine times out of ten the front half hasn’t been written on, so you can just cut that off the backing and reuse as a new card. Easy!

Gallery/Show Postcards Those great postcards you get for free at galleries or shows printed with someone’s art make good postcards to send to friends on holidays, or for any occasion. It’s a cinch to cover the gallery info on the back with blank paper for message and address purposes, and it doesn’t hurt that sending a postcard is both cheaper ($0.27) and less wasteful (no envelope).

Collage Cards I like to squirrel away the aforementioned free postcards and mine them later on for images to juxtapose onto cardstock, recycled manila, wallpaper samples, or even plain old typing paper folded into quarters. With a little bit of time and a good glue stick, you can create completely personalized, one-of-a-kind greeting cards for any occasion. Hearkening back to your elementary school years, you’ll find that stickers, ribbons, wrapping paper, dried flowers and leaves, colorful beans and seeds, origami paper, magazine clippings, old photographs, costume jewelry, rhinestones and lace trim also make good fodder for the card-crafting mill.

Holding a craft night with friends is a fun way to get inspired and to set aside the time necessary to create what you need. And that’s fewer people you’ll need to send cards to when you’re done! 

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