Turn Old Holiday Cards into Glittery Decor!

Christmas time is the perfect time of year to do messy, glittery projects around the house. You can always blame the lingering glitter on your aunt who sent you that glittery card, or whoever wrapped their gifts in glitter paper, haha!

It seems we all have just a little more time on our hands this year, thanks to Covid, so why not spend some time reducing holiday waste and making something sparkly out of all those holiday cards? I remember my mom making these decorative balls out of old Christmas cards, and had one of hers in my decorations, so I thought I’d deconstruct it and make a couple of my own with an old stack of cards from previous years! My soon-to-be teenager Sam even helped me out with cutting, scoring, folding and gluing. This is a great project to do with your kids at any age. Little ones can help cut or tear the fronts of the cards off and recycle the backs. They can also help with the tracing of the patterns, and if they’re good with scissors, cutting out circles! Here’s how to make them!

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Template (see next step!)
  • Pile of holiday cards – You’ll need to make 20 circles to create one ball.
  • Cardboard – any thick stock will do. You can even use a holiday card back, or a cereal box from your recycle bin!
  • Scissors
  • Ballpoint pen or nail – for scoring the cards to create crisp folds
  • Glue – Any ol’ white school glue works, though thicker tacky glue will drip less
  • String, yarn, etc to hang with
  • GLITTER! duh!!!

1. Make a template.

I’ve made this SUPER easy for you…simply download and print this template I’ve created for you, below!

Cut out the circle and the triangle, lay it on your piece of cardboard, and use them to trace a pattern on the cardboard. Cut those out so you have a cardboard circle and triangle, as shown in the photo above. This is scaled to create about a 7″ diameter ball. If you like, you can scale these up or down to change the size of your ball!

2.Cut circles out of holiday cards

Next, lay your cardboard circles on the front of your cards, trace them, and cut them out. You’ll need 20 circles to make one ball. This is a great place to involve kids. You can have them start by tearing the cards in half and saving the fronts. Photo cards don’t work well because of their glossy surface, so we only use the paper greeting cards for these!

3. Score the triangular folds

Take one of your card circles and flip it upside down. Now take your triangle template and position it so that all 3 points are touching the edge of the circle. Here’s where you’ll use the nail…but it doesn’t have to be a nail. A ballpoint pen works, a letter opener, a toothpick, a fork, whatever…just something strong and relatively pointy. What we’re doing here is scoring the card, so that you’ll get perfectly straight, crisp folds. Press and run your nail or whatever tool along the three edges of the triangle. Put a piece of cardboard or paper underneath so you don’t scratch or write on the table! This is my son doing this part…

4. Fold

Now, flip your circle back over and fold towards the printed sides. Notice how nice it folds after you’ve scored it!

5. Glue 5 Circles together to form the top.

Put some craft glue on one of the flaps.

Glue together 5 pieces to create a domed, round top for your ball. Clothespins or chip clips work great to hold the together while they dry! Before you totally glue them all together, loop a piece of string, yarn or ribbon through the center point to hang it with. You can tie a knot here to hold it in, or just use some glue and/or tape inside to hold your string.

6. Repeat to create the bottom, and make a strip for the middle.

Now that you have the top made, do the same thing again to create the bottom. You should have two domed pieces made of 5 cards each. Next, glue 10 more together in a straight row, as shown above. This will be the middle of your ball.

7. Assemble the Ball

Take your strip of 10 cards, shape it into a ring and glue as shown above. As you can see here, I am impatient so I used a little tape on the inside to hold these together while they dry!

Now, glue on your top (above) and your bottom (below)!

8. Add Glitter!

And now for the BEST PART….the GLITTER!! When I’m using loose glitter like this, I work over a folded piece of paper, poster board, etc. This project is small enough that a file folder worked great! That way, you can catch all the loose glitter in the folder or paper, and use the crease to dump it neatly back into your glitter jar, leaving not a speck to be found. Hehe…

Doing one seam at a time, apply glue to the edge. Here’s where a thicker tacky glue might be helpful as it will be less drippy. But, you’ll want to get your glue on, and then quickly pour glitter on it before it drips away on you, which is why I apply glue and then glitter to one “rib” at a time…

This part may require some breaks to let the glue dry. I start with the top ribs, then go around to the side strip. Then, I let it sit and dry before turning it over and doing the bottom ones.

Notice my orange file folder catching every single speck of glitter?! Amazing, huh? We don’t have ANY loose glitter specks around our house…nope, not a one! 😉

Done!

Once they dry, hang them wherever you wish! These are pretty and simple, a fun way to get your kids into recycling, and a great way to honor all those friends and family who have taken the time to send you cards. If you can find glue that will work well, you can even try making these with photo cards, and have all your friends and family’s faces on them! And, like I said, you can even shrink down the template to create smaller ornaments, which would also enable you to get several circles out of one card.

Published by Gretchen

Gretchen Fleener is an author, magazine editor, body painter, and entertainment agent based in Minnesota. She sells face & body art supplies via her online store Paintertainment.com, acts as an entertainer and agent at local events, publishes a body art magazine and teaches at workshops and conventions around the globe.

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