Holidays Projects

A Valentine Banner made from Christmas Cards

I know that Valentine’s Day is still a long way off, but since the calendar has now rolled over to January and people are starting to take down their Christmas decorations, I wanted to show you one of my favorite projects of all time that solves that age-old problem: what to do with old Christmas cards.

Any time I share this in February, I get a whole slew of messages from people saying things like, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t already recycled all my old Christmas cards!”

So tuck this idea in your back pocket, stash your Christmas cards away for a few more weeks and when February rolls around, you’ll have the perfect project for a chilly day all ready to go.

Still have those Christmas cards hanging around? Turn them into a cute Valentine's decoration.

I can’t imagine that I’m alone in my Christmas card angst.

It pains me to toss pictures of people I love (pictures they’ve spent money to send to me) in the recycling bin trash can.

But, I also am not really interested in keeping stacks of dusty cards for years. My clutter-phobic self can’t quite allow it.

About seven years ago, though, I stumbled on a solution that has brought me a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

I put the cards on top of the fridge after Christmas, where I couldn’t see them and they weren’t in the way.

And then one long afternoon in early February when Ella and I were home alone, we made a Valentine banner with those old Christmas cards.

creative ideas for old christmas cards

I love this project because it spotlights many friends and family that I love, it uses up materials I already had, most of which were already full of cheerful patterns and on nice paper, and it makes our house feel festive and happy.

Behold: The Valentine Banner.

valentine banner

To make your own Valentine Banner, you’ll need:

  • Christmas cards
  • Scissors
  • A heart template
  • Twine or string or ribbon
  • Tape
  • Small paper hearts (optional)

How to make your your Valentine banner

This was an easy little project. I printed out a heart template (because the colors and designs of the cards were so varied, I chose to go with a single pattern. But I think it’d look fun too with multiple heart shapes). I traced the heart onto the cards, and then cut them out.

I used a couple of wedding announcements in addition to the Christmas cards and on some cards I cut out two hearts if space allowed, which resulted in a total of 40 hearts. In some cases, I just had to let some people’s heads get cut off because of the placement on the card. I hope my nephew forgives me for only including part of his lower right cheek in his family’s card.

what to do with old christmas cards

After they were all cut out, I laid them out in a single row so that I was happy with the arrangement of colors and designs (I wasn’t very picky, but I didn’t want it to be ten non-photos in a row at one end) and then alternating with small red paper hearts between the photos.

Still have those Christmas cards hanging around? Turn them into a cute Valentine's decoration.

Then I taped twine to the back of each heart. I did the twine about 3/4 of the way up and also taped them horizontally so that they wouldn’t spin on the twine too much (I originally did it vertically and they were spinning all over the place).  Also, I left about 6 inches of extra twine on each end.

And then I wrapped the twine around some tacks, and tacked both strands on the wall. I used a little bit of photo tack under about six photos to keep it laying flat against the wall. I trimmed off the extra twine so it wasn’t distracting and voila!

Virtually free holiday decoration! And then, after Valentine’s, I think I’ll have no problem tossing the whole thing in the trash.

uses for old christmas cards

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  • Reply Carly February 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I LOVE it! I love a valentine banner… and can't image one better than with all the lovely faces of those you love. It's perfect!

  • Reply Erica February 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Pure genius.

  • Reply RA February 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Is it sad that I scrutinized the pictures to see if we made the cut? AND WE DID! This makes me indescribably pleased. 🙂

  • Reply preethi February 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I totally feel you on hating to throw away Christmas card but hating to keep them. Cute idea!

  • Reply Creole Wisdom February 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    That is a wonderful idea. I don't get tons of cards, but I do feel bad recycling them :/

  • Reply NGS February 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Very clever!! I have a stack of holiday cards, too, and I think this is a great solution!

  • Reply Jodi February 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    That is a cute idea. What I've done (and I think I got the idea from Jenae??) is put all the wedding invites/christmas cards at the back of the yearly photo album. I like to see friends who've come and gone, and to see how they change over the years. I too hate to just throw them out!

  • Reply Deanna February 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    So cute! Now I am wishing I hadn't gone ahead and tossed our Christmas cards. I will try to remember this for next year!

  • Reply G February 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    If RA's search for her own photo was sad, then I'm sad too 😉 I enjoyed seeing our little photo and what a great idea!

  • Reply Kayla February 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    So cute and creative! I never would have thought about doing that, but I have the same guilt at tossing them all in the trash. Good idea!

  • Reply kristen February 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    hey! we made the cut (yes that was intended)! I was surprised to see my face at the top of your blog this morning! cute idea… I have the same problem. my stack is still sitting in my office, I just can't throw their faces away!

  • Reply Elsha February 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Very cute!

  • Reply Melinda February 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Awesome idea!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply The Apron Gal February 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    super cute idea!

  • Reply Merrick February 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Very cute! And I'm totally with you — my cards are still on the back of the pantry door…I just can't take them down and throw them away!

  • Reply Katie February 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I love this idea! I've already thrown out all our christmas cards, but I do have a bin of birthday cards that need to be taken care of. I think I might just make myself one of these.

  • Reply Rachel February 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    That is brilliant, what a cute and meaningful banner.

  • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April February 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I wish we had actually sent a card so we could have been included. Maybe next year…

  • Reply This Confetti Life February 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm


  • Reply Becca February 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Ingenius. Our Christmas cards are still taped into the form of a Christmas tree on our bedroom door because I can't bear to throw them away. I'll be doing this tonight! Thanks!

  • Reply Emily Kate February 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I feel exactly the same was as you. I have a stack of cards just sitting in a drawer because I don't know what to do with them! Don't really want to make a book of them and have to keep them every year but feel bad tossing them. Maybe I'll make one of these!

  • Reply Karissa February 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    That is amazing! So cute and simple. I want to try this!

  • Reply Abby February 8, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Love this idea! Thanks, Janssen!

  • Reply megan February 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Very cute, even if you did sacrifice my family's photo with only a cheek left to show for it! Don't worry, I am not bitter, and I won't tell that particular nephew. I know you love other people more 🙂 Maybe I'll copy you–except my cards are still up with Merry Christmas showing everywhere. Your idea is fantastic.

  • Reply Allison February 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, it looks great! That's a great idea.

    (I'm saving all our Christmas cards to someday make Christmas placemats — my grandmother did that with us when we were kids. Glue the fronts to big sheets of construction paper and then laminate.)

  • Reply Natalie February 9, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I used to have that angst, but I've turned into a cruel January-1st-Christmas-card-throw-away-er. I adore this idea! So are you going to throw it away after Valentine's or add to it every year? 😉

  • Reply KKortney44 February 10, 2012 at 4:00 am

    This is awesome…such a good idea. I might just have to steal it! 😉

  • Reply Kimberly January 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Janssen,

    I remembered this project from a while ago, and dug up the post today when I decided to do some valentine's decorating. I can't get over how much I love this craft! It is a much better use of holiday cards than my usual MO (lament taking off the fridge, stash for a few months, eventually throw out in cleaning frenzy). Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Reply Karen January 4, 2019 at 7:25 am

    I’ve been doing this for at least 3-4 years now, thanks to you! It’s so cheery and fun for one of my favorite holidays.

  • Reply Power of Moms Pick: A Valentine Banner Made from Christmas Cards | Support for Moms - Power of Moms January 10, 2019 at 9:14 am

    […] news is, we don’t have to just throw them out! I came upon this great, step-by-step post for making a super simple craft to turn those Christmas cards into a sweet Valentine’s Day […]

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