Upcycle Your Greeting Cards

Upcycle your greeting cards into gift tags

Have you ever wondered what to do with the pile of Christmas cards after the holiday is over?

This DIY upcycling project features some additional tips on how to upcycle your greeting cards – Christmas or any greeting card! In my previous blog post, Creative Ways to Save and Repurpose Your Christmas Cards, I highlighted 10 different ways to repurpose your greeting cards and make them into something new! 

This tutorial will show you how to make your own upcycled gift tags and bookmarks from greeting cards.


Before we begin, let’s start with a brief description of upcycling.

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other face of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality.

From Wikepdia, the free encyclopedia

Upcycling is green and makes a positive impact on the environment. Recycling takes energy; whereas upcycling just takes creativity, a little of your time, and maybe some elbow grease. Upcycling is not a new concept, but it has been climbing in popularity in recent years since we are all growing more aware and concerned about the health of our planet. Personally, I have been wanting to do more in my own home, change my personal habits, let go of harmful, toxic conveniences, and start teaching my children — the next generation — ways to start making a positive change for the benefit of our health and planet.


So with all that in mind, who has Christmas cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards, and other greeting cards in piles or in shoe boxes throughout their homes?

I know I do! I hate to throw them away or even recycle them. I feel that each card is special, because of the person who sent it.

Keep those memories going with these two simple ways to upcycle your greeting cards. Both ideas will work best with traditional folded greeting cards.

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

Gift Tags from Upcycled Greeting Cards

old greeting cards for upcycle DIY crafts

Supplies needed:

  • Greeting cards
  • Scissors
  • Tag punch
  • Ribbon or string

First, sort through your greeting cards and cut out the section of the card you plan to use for the gift tags. Remember to choose the sides of cards that are decorative on the front but blank on the backside so you can write the recipient’s name.

You can save the sides of the card that have writing on them for another upcoming project, and recycle the leftover pieces if they are not usable.

upcycle greeting cards

Then, using a tag-shaped punch, punch out the tags from the greeting cards. Feel free to use different size punches, as seen above, and try to maximize the number of tags you can make using each card. I was able to punch out 3 larger tags from a 4.25″ x 5.5″ thank you card.

upcycle greeting cards

Some punches like the blue one have a circle hole punch for punching the hole for the ribbon. If yours does not, you can use a separate small, circle hole punch to add a hole to the top of the tag.

I love my tag punch, but unfortunately, it’s no longer available. This is an alternative option that also includes an eyelet setter, and this is the smaller tag punch that I used also.

upcycle greeting cards

When you are ready to attach the tag to a gift, you can add a ribbon or decorative string, and you’re done! Using the Christmas cards from this year alone, I was able to make 38 gift tags, in 2 sizes, to use throughout the year.

Plus, I’m saving money by not needing to buy additional gift tags!

gift tags made from upcycled greeting cards

Bookmarks from Upcycled Greeting Cards

Making bookmarks is a quick and easy way to upcycle your greeting cards. You can choose to make them any size or shape you’d like!

DIY bookmark made from an upcycled greeting card

Supplies needed:

  • Greeting Cards
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Laminating machine (optional)

For this example, I made the bookmark the length of my Christmas card and cut off the text on the card. I was able to cut out a few from just one card.

Then, I chose to laminate it to make it more durable, but this is optional. It’s best to laminate them batches, so you can fit several bookmarks on each laminating sheet.

Want to remember this post? Pin it for later!

upcycle your greeting cards

Enjoy these simple ways to repurpose your greeting cards all year long! You can make gift tags and bookmarks from your old birthday, thank you and anniversary cards too!

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!



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