Used greeting cards provide a rich source of embellishments. Instead of throwing away used greeting cards why not take a look at them and see how they can be recycled into new projects. With a little creative thought even the most boring of commercially produced cards can provide a range of embellishments for your next card making project. This is a great way to save money as well providing a range of interesting embellishments for handmade cards. While you may want to keep some greeting cards because they hold special meaning or are of sentimental value, other cards that might otherwise end up in the waste bin are perfect for recycling.
The Best Types of Cards to Recycle
The best types of cards to recycle are those that have used top quality materials. This includes heavy weight card stock or quality embellishments. Some commercially produced cards are printed onto textured card stock which can add a decorative feature when recycled. Any type of greeting card can offer interesting recycling opportunities. Other cards are also perfect for recycling. Even promotional cards may have a blank surface which is ideal for stamping.
How to Recycle Greeting Cards to Make EmbellishmentsHere are a few ways to recycle greeting cards to make embellishments for new projects:
- Remove attached embellishments - attached embellishments such as ribbons, bows, buttons and brads are often easy to remove. These are simple to recycle into other projects. If they are firmly attached to the card then try to carefully snip around the elements with a pair of craft scissors. Decorative edge scissors will give a patterned effect which can be attractive.
- Card panels - attractive pieces of card can easily be recycled into card panels. Make card panels to form the backdrop to your rubber stamped decorations or card toppers. These are a good way to add focus to your work. Make a card panel so it is slightly larger than your rubber stamped image or design. For a dramatic effect that will give your card additional impact you could try making the card panel substantially bigger. Because card panels will be at least partially covered you can recycle cards with a central design or image as this will be hidden. Textured paper or cardstock will provide an attractive decorative feature.
- Shapes - use a hole punch to punch shapes from a used greeting card. These shapes can be added to new projects as embellishments. Use double sided tape or glue dots to add a three dimensional finish. If you don't have a shaped hole punch then try cutting simple shapes using a sharp pair of scissors or craft knife. Cards with strong colors or all over patterns are particularly good for this type of recycling project.
- Plain card for stamping - the back of a greeting card is often mainly blank and this can be an ideal surface for stamping. Cut plain panels from the card to use to stamp on and attach this to card blanks as a card topper to make quick cards. Commercially produced greeting cards are often created on gloss cards are often produced on gloss card stock. This offers a range of creative opportunities as some inks, such as alcohol ink, create interesting effects when used on a glossy surface. The inside of the card cover is also often blank and this is another plain surface that can be used for stamping.
- Gift tags - simple gift tags are easy to make from greeting cards. While these are commonly used to add to gifts and presents, gift tags are also a great embellishment for handmade cards and scrapbook pages. Cut simple gift tag shapes by hand or use a gift tag template.
How to Store Recycled Embellishments
If you are building a supply of recycled embellishments then it is important to store them well. This means that you will always be able to find the right embellishment for a project and will also ensure that they are kept in good condition. Here are some points to consider:
- Clear plastic envelopes are ideal for storing embellishments as they can easily be seen. These don't take up much room when stored and can be stored flat to ensure that the embellishments don't get bent or damaged.
- Remember that if you have removed items from cards that have been attached to the surface with adhesive, you may find that a sticky deposit remains. When storing these be careful that they do not stick to other items when stored.
- Glitter may rub off glittered items when stored so store glittered and unglittered embellishments together if you want to avoid glitter getting where it shouldn't.
- Store embellishments by type to make them easy to find. An alternative way to store embellishments is by color.