Christmas Crafts – Recycle Christmas Cards into Handmade Gifts

Do you save Christmas cards every year because they’re just too pretty to throw away? How about recycling those cards into an arts and crafts project that will be useful every year? It’s fun and easy to turn a few Christmas cards and ribbon into a keepsake basket for gift giving – just the right size to hold a stocking hat or a pair of socks or gloves … or a package of homemade cookies, candies, caramel corn or other yummy treats.

This Christmas craft is fun for adults and children alike. Younger kids will need adult help for some of the steps.

Items Required for Crafting Your Christmas-Card Keepsake Basket

  • Paper for templates
  • Metal-edged ruler
  • Pencil
  • 6-inch diameter bowl or plate
  • Scissors
  • Single hole punch
  • Christmas cards
  • 5″ square of heavy poster board (optional)
  • A table knife
  • Four 24″ lengths of ribbon (1/8″ to 1/4″ wide)
  • Craft glue
  • Waxed paper
  • Removable tape

How to Make the Templates for Your Handmade Christmas-Card Keepsake Basket

To make the templates for your basket, you will need one 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, preferably heavyweight. Follow the instructions below and also refer to the illustrations following this article (click on an image to enlarge it).

Base Template:

  1. Draw a 5″ square at the upper left corner of the paper, using the top and side edges as two sides of the square.
  2. Measure 1/2″ from all sides inside the square and draw lines for folding.
  3. Cut out the 5″ square.
  4. Cut out the small squares formed by the inside lines at the corners.

Walls Template:

  1. Draw a 4 1/2″ square at the bottom left corner of the paper, using the bottom and side edges as two sides of the square.
  2. Mark dots 1/4″ from the left and right sides of the square at the bottom edge.
  3. Connect the dots in a slight diagonal to the top corners of the square.
  4. Position a 6″-diameter bowl or plate so that its arc meets the two right angles at the top of the square.
  5. Draw around the top portion of the bowl to form an arc at the top of the template.
  6. Cut along the diagonal lines and the arc.
  7. Draw lines 5/16″ from each diagonal line.
  8. Measure 1/2″ up from the bottom on each line and mark a dot; make 5 more dots on each line every 3/4″ toward the top of the template.
  9. Center the single hole punch over each hole and punch out a total of six holes on each side.

How to Cut and Assemble Your Handmade Christmas-Card Keepsake Basket

Use the colorful fronts of Christmas cards, as well as the greetings inside the cards, for the exterior and interior walls of your basket. If a greeting page has a sentiment written by the card’s sender, simply cut small designs from card scraps and glue them over the writing in a pretty design. You might also choose to use just the fronts of the cards if you have enough.

Instructions for making the base and wall sections:

  1. Using the base template, cut one piece from poster board or from card stock (see note).
  2. Place the metal-edged ruler along each fold line and score the lines by drawing the dull edge of the table knife against the ruler.
  3. Fold the poster board upwards along the score lines.
  4. Using the walls template, cut out eight wall sections from the Christmas cards.
  5. Glue wrong sides of the wall sections together, creating four glued sections. (The “wrong sides” are the parts that you don’t want to be seen.)
  6. Place the glued sections between sheets of waxed paper, lay a heavy book on top and let the sections dry for several hours or overnight.

Note: If using card stock for the base, reinforce it by gluing a 4″-square of card stock to the underside.

Instructions for assembling the basket:

  1. Position the walls template over one side of each glued wall section and mark a small dot in the center of each hole along the diagonal sides.
  2. Center the hole punch over each dot and punch holes out.
  3. Cut slanted ends on each ribbon.
  4. Starting on the outside of two wall sections, thread one end of a ribbon to the inside through the bottom hole in one section and the other end of the ribbon through the bottom hole in the other section.
  5. Adjust the ribbon so it’s equal length on both sides, then secure it on the outside with a piece of removable tape. Do not allow the sections to overlap. See illustration.
  6. From the inside, cross the ribbon in an “x” and thread the ends through the next set of holes.
  7. Repeat on the outside and continue lacing to the top, just as though you’re lacing a shoe.
  8. Tie a bow at the top.
  9. Repeat until all four sections are laced together.
  10. Remove the tape from the outside.
  11. Working over a piece of waxed paper, carefully spread a 1/2″ line of glue on the lower edges of the inside wall sections.
  12. Slide the base section inside the basket and press the folded edges against the glued edges.
  13. Let the basket dry for several hours or overnight.

Christmas Crafts – Creative Ways to Share the Joys of the Season

Enclose small gifts in your handmade basket fashioned from recycled Christmas cards. The basket is a gift in itself, one the recipient may choose to keep for a holiday decoration or one she may choose to pass on to another someone special.