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Recycle Old Christmas Cards: How to Make Little Gift Boxes to Fill With Special Treats

Published by Rosalind Luaces

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Christmas crafts are a perennial favorite this time of year. What better way to reuse all of the beautiful cards you receive, than to turn them into 1 3/4″ square by 7/8″ deep boxes? Small is beautiful and popular, and so many things can fill these card boxes. How about a stack of inchie quilts for a quilting friend? Make 24 Christmas card boxes for a unique Advent calendar, or just one for a special piece of jewelry. Bet you can’t make just one!

Materials and Supplies Needed to Make Christmas Card Boxes

  • cardboard or heavy paper for templates, You will need 2 templates, one for the box bottom and one for the top.
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • bone folder or other tool for scoring and folding
  • old Christmas cards

Make the Templates

  1. With a ruler and pencil, draw a 5″ square in the center of one piece of cardboard. Mark the cardboard “box top”.
  2. Draw a 4 7/8″ square in the middle of a second piece of cardboard. Mark the cardboard “box bottom”
  3. Mark each side of the box top in 1 1/4″ intervals. Cut out the center of the square and throw away or recycle for another use. You will have a square frame with 3 marks on each side. Click the template picture below to see better.
  4. For the box bottom, cut the square out of the center of the template. Use the template to draw the square onto a sheet of paper. Cut the square out of the paper, and fold the square in half, then half again to divide into quarters. Use the fold lines to mark each side of the bottom template. Both templates will look the same, but the 1/8″ difference assures they will fit together smoothly.

Make the Boxes

The top and bottom of the box are both made the same. If the card is big enough, you can make both from one card. For small cards, the box bottom can be made out of colored card stock. When cutting the box top, it’s okay if it extends past the fold, onto the back. Only the center and sides, outlined in red in the “what will show” picture below needs to be on the front of the card.


  1. Place the template on the inside of the card. Trace around the opening and make all 3 marks on each side of the square.
  2. Cut the square out of the card and place so the inside of the card is up.
  3. Using the edge of a ruler, and your scoring tool, score diagonally across each corner, 3 times, using the marks as a guide. Fold the corner edges upward as you go. Click the “Folding and Cutting Diagram” picture below to see the fold lines which are marked for visibility.
  4. Cut along the folding lines indicated, a total of 8 cuts. Note nothing is cut away, you are still working with a square.
  5. Fold the 2 corners marked “A” up on the fold line near the center. Fold the 4 tabs marked “tab 1” in. It will now look like figure 1 in the “Finishing the Box” picture. If you prefer, you can secure the tabs with tape for easier handling.
  6. Fold the “A” corners into the box, the triangle pieces will be along the sides and bottom. See figure 2.
  7. Fold the “B” corners into the box, figure 3.

Some Suggestions for Filling Christmas Card Boxes

  • Homemade fudge squares
  • small creche figures
  • jewelry
  • miniature works of art
  • kid’s small rubber toys
  • Miniature Christmas scene
  • a key to something larger
  • potpourri

Have fun, be creative, and recycle at the same time. You may also be interested in “Use Your Fabric Stash to Make Easy Gift Boxes” and “Use Your Fabric Stash for Scrapbook Pages”. May all your Christmases be blessed.

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