Upcycling these days is huge — reusing everyday objects is a great way not only to keep your kids swimming with craft supplies on the cheap, the concept can also to add a touch of vintage chic to your décor without having to skew too old fashioned. Mason jars and old glass bottles are probably the most popular items being used in upcycle projects (take a quick look at Pinterest and you’re sure to find plenty of inspiration), but I tend to be most drawn to vintage paper ephemera. There is so much printed product that gets thrown out every day just begging to be turned into collages and other homespun objects of art.

Years ago I started this garland made of old Christmas cards and each year I add to it with cards that I receive from family and friends. If you happen upon a box of vintage cards at a yard sale or flea market you can start with that or you can just start collecting cards you receive (if you’re lucky enough to still get paper cards in the mail!). It’s easy to make and looks great on a tree with other old-fashioned decorations like strings of popcorn and tinsel.

You’ll need a stack of Christmas cards, a long length of string or ribbon, some cardstock in holiday colours, a hot glue gun and either a pair of good scissors or round paper punches in a couple of sizes (you can also experiment with other shapes). Start by punching (or cutting) circles out of the cards. Be strategic about where you punch — try to keep Santa or reindeer faces in tact. I find that if there’s some writing on the back of the piece you punch that it adds some extra charm, but you can avoid that if you prefer.

Once you’ve punched out a few dozen circles (it’s better to have too many rather than too few — you’ll need a long garland if you’re planning to wrap it around your tree), cut out an equal number of circles from the cardstock. The cardstock circles should be about half the size of the Christmas card circles. Cut a length of string or ribbon (it can be anywhere from 5-20 feet, depending on how long you want your garland to be) and sandwich the string between a card circle and a cardstock circle, securing it with a drop of hot glue. Continue along the length of the string, leaving a few inches between each circle. Be careful that you do not touch the hot glue when pressing the circles together (I learned this the hard way — ouch!).

And there you have it! Drape your garland over your mantle, a banister, or around your Christmas tree. Hopefully you’ll think of the warm Christmas wishes you’ve received from loved ones every time you look at it!

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