Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Making Holiday Gift Boxes from Reused Cards

Ever wonder what to do with your greeting cards once the holiday is over?

By guest blogger Andrea Edmundson, Co-Founder, Upcycle Tucson

Upcycle Tucson is the new ‘creative reuse arts center’ on the west side of town, just across the street from Habistore. Our mission is to keep materials out of the landfill and to educate the public about ‘upcycling’ or creative reuse. We do this by selling inexpensive and gently used arts & crafts materials, offering classes on upcycled art, and selling gifts and upcycled art in the Artists’ Marketplace. ​Right now, we have great deals on new and gently used holiday items like lights, fabric, ornaments, and ready-to-make crafts. But, what we really love is to encourage people to practice creative reuse.
We have weekly demos on how to creatively reuse the materials we sell. Some of our favorite simple projects use holiday cards to make place-mats and gift tags! So many people buy new gifts this time of year. At Upcycle Tucson, we challenge people to use their creative skills to make not only gifts – functional and artistic ones - but to even make the containers in which they are presented. Here’s how to make small gift boxes from recycled holiday cards – perfect for gift certificates, jewelry, and other little gifts.
Follow the directions over each image. We think you’ll be pleased with the result.

1.  Cut the greeting card in half.

 2.  Trim about 1/8 inch off two sides of the plain half of the card.  This is so the bottom of the finished box will be slightly smaller than the top.

3.  Draw two lines from corner to corner to create an “X” in the middle.

4.  Fold & crease both short ends of the card to the middle of the “X” and then unfold them.


5.   Fold & crease both long ends of the card to the middle of the “X” and then unfold them.


6.  Now, make 4 cuts along the creases as shown (I inked them in so you can see better).  You should have a box now that looks like this.


7. Now fold the flaps on each end together and fold the long piece over the end.  You will have some extra, so fold this piece over the top. 

8.  You can glue, tape, or staple the flaps in place.  You now have a box BOTTOM.

9.  Repeat the steps with the pretty side of the card EXCEPT do not trim the two edges like we did with the bottom of the box…this ensures a better fitting box since the lid will be slightly bigger than the bottom.

10.  To finish, line the box with a small piece of fabric and insert your gift!

This is a great way to make a personalized gift but also to reuse those cards that you hate to throw away. The cards will serve at least one more use before they need to be recycled and that is part of what Upcycle Tucson is all about – keeping materials out of landfills and educating people about the benefits and ways of upcycling. To make it fun and a bit freaky, you can even send the new gift box BACK to the same person who sent the original card to you!

We hope you have a happy and restful holiday season. Being creative through arts and crafts is one of the best ways to unwind while being ‘productive’ at the same time. We sell all types of materials, from traditional arts and crafts supplies to quirky things like fake femur bones, rusty horseshoes, vintage Smoky the Bear posters, and more. No matter if you are a metal artist, collage lover, weaver, or painter, we have something for you. We also sell finished art by local artists and offer classes on how to make artistic, crafty, or functional items from upcycled materials. We look forward to helping you have a stimulating holiday season and beyond!

Don't let the Grinch take your holiday trash to the landfill. 

Wasn't that fun! Wanna take it even farther? Check out Alex Kosmider's (from Zero Waste Tucson) ideas on how to  "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot" 


  1. Andrea, thanks for the instructions on this fun upcycling project! Dan successfully followed the directions and made a Santa gift box for his office gift exchange! (He printed out the gift on the 3D printer too!)

  2. Hah, you need to post a picture of the one from the 3-D printer...I want to learn to use one! Thanks, Andrea