Reusable Upcycled Christmas Cards - a tutorial

Last week I wrote about Christmas Cards and the mixed feelings I have about them since they are 'single use' items and although I do like sending and receiving them, they are, I feel, quite wasteful! 

So I've been thinking of a way to make a more eco-friendly version of a Christmas card and this is what I've come up with.

No longer a 'single use' card - this is the 'reusable and resendable' handmade card! Designed to last for years to come and bring greetings and messages to countless people.

Made with upcycled materials and fabric scraps, the cards have a clear pocket on the inside in which you can slide your own greeting,

 and then replace it with another to re-send the card again next year, and so on!
I even printed an 'instruction label' for the back of the card!

I used denim scraps from jeans, card from a cereal box and fabric scraps to make these cards. The clear plastic pocket was a piece cut from the packaging a bed sheet set came in!

I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and will certainly be making more to send this year and hopefully the years to come too. Who knows, maybe someone will send theirs back to me next year when they reuse it!

So here is how to make your very own reusable and resendable Christmas (or any other occasion) card.

Please note, the measurements are just what I used (my finished cards are approximately 11 x 15 cm (4.5 x 6")). But cards come in all kinds of sizes, so you can make your card bigger or smaller to suit your needs.

Gather your supplies - Fabric scraps (I chose denim for the main card fabric , mainly because I love working with it but it's also looks better with age and frayed edges, so the cards should age well too!) ; card - I used a cereal box, clear plastic - from some kind of packaging like bed sheets; embellishments for the card front.

First cut your card. I cut a piece 22 x 15 cm (8.5 x 6").
Then cut two pieces of your main fabric just slightly larger than the card.

Take one piece of fabric, fold in half and on the right hand side, which will be the front of your card, decorate with fabric scraps, ribbon, buttons, whatever you choose to design your card. 

I used ribbons for the bauble strings which I stitched in place first.

Then I added the baubles which were just scraps of fabric cut into circles and small squares at the top of each bauble. I have a bag of scraps from other appliqué projects

 - scraps which have fusible webbing on the back, so they are great for small projects like this. They are ready to cut and iron into place.

I appliqué stitched (tight zig zag) around each piece too. This is also where I added my own label to what will be the back of the card. I printed this onto fabric and appliqué stitched it to the fabric.

For the inside of the card, all you need to add is the clear plastic pocket. I cut mine 8 x 10 cm (3 x 4").
Place this centrally on the right half of the other main fabric piece. Pin into place then appliqué (tight zig zag) stitch around the side and bottom edges.

Now you're ready to put your card together.

Place the front of your card face down, then the card on top of that, 

then the inner fabric piece face up on the top. I used a little glue stick on both sides of the card just to hold the 3 layers in place while stitching.

Stitch around all 4 edges of the card. I keep old needles for stitching through card and other non-fabric things I experiment with!
Finally, cut the edges with pinking shears. This gives a nice finish and will help stop too much fraying.

Fold your card in half.

And you're done!!
Now all I need is some reusable fabric envelopes to send them in!

Update: These are all the Reusable Upcycled Cards I made this year (2015).

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial.
To see what else I've been making for Christmas this year, things that are both eco and budget friendly, go here.

For even more Christmas crafting inspiration, take a look at our 

Please feel free to ask for an invite to be a contributor to this board and share your finds and projects too. The more the merrier!


  1. Now that's thinking outside the square. So, so creative, Jill.

    1. Thanks Pam - I think I will be making lots more of these!

    2. Hi Jill, I've featured your ever so creative cards in a roundup of Christmas cards and gift tags today...

    3. Thanks so much Pam! Popping over to have a look now!

  2. Jill! Utterly and completely brilliant! This is my favorite idea yet.

  3. I love this idea!!! I've just posted a link on Craft Gossip to your tutorial: --Anne

  4. You wonderful, clever, clever person! That is ingenious!!!x

  5. This is brilliant. I have been covering boxes for years with fabric to make them reusable for Christmas gifts. I have even made reusable gift bags, but could never come up with a reusable card. I sometimes use fabric that can be used for other gifts not, just Christmas.

    1. Thanks Linda. I want to build up a collection of fabric cards and gift wrapping for all occasions too - not just Christmas!

  6. What a fun idea! Love the denim! Have a great week :)

  7. Love your idea Jill! Thanks for sharing it.

    Cindy @ Upcycled Design Lab

    1. Thanks Cindy! I'm really pleased with this idea - and am already making more!

  8. Hi Jill,
    I love these cards you made using fabric!
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Have a nice weekend and we hope to see you again.
    Julie xo

  9. I pinned this! I love the idea!!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  10. This looks absolutely amazing! Pinned and tweeted. You always bring the most amazing creations to our party. Thank you! I hope to see you again, this Monday at 7 pm. It wouldn’t be a party without you! Lou Lou Girls

  11. Jill you are so clever, wherever do you get the ideas from? This is so inspired and really lovely to send and receive. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea and tutorial on how to make them with me on #Trash2Treasure.

  12. Fantastic idea! I feel like buying cards is such a waste of money, since most people throw them away. Definitely, going to make some- good for the pocketbook and the environment!

  13. Thanks Susan! I feel much happier giving these cards at Christmas than bought card ones that get thrown away! Would love to see if you make some yourself!

  14. Do you mail these denim cards or give them in person? I have a stash of different sized envelopes and can size my cards to fit a envelope but postage would be more than a paper card. LOVE this idea for Christmas as well as other holidays and just to say 'Hi, I'm thinking of you!"

    1. Hi Linda, Yes I do aail these cards and they do cost a little more to send than a paper card - and I have to complete a customs declaration for them too! But since they are more than just 'a card' I don't really mind. And yes, they'd be great to make for any occasion!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.