Playing Card Ornament Upcycle


Last year, I joined an ornament swap. The participants were divided into groups of 12, so for every group you signed up for, you were supposed to create 12 identical (or at least close) ornaments, and then you would get 12 different handmade ornaments in return. It was pretty cool.

I knew these women were pretty crafty, so I wanted to make sure I did something unique and beautiful, without spending much money on supplies. I also knew that most of these women were environmentally conscious, so anything I could recycle/upcycle would be appreciated.

I had this old deck of playing cards called “The Date Deck” that I had picked up at a garage sale. The idea was that you’d play the game and get to know your partner better, but the cards were pretty awful with questions like, “Are you a heartbreaker or heartbroken?” and “Do you hate your boss? Why or why not?” I wanted to throw out the set for years, but couldn’t bring myself to, ’cause they were kind of pretty, and I thought maybe I could use them for a craft some day.

I found a website that actually still sells them. Click the picture to go there.

Since the back was red, which is a Christmas color, and the size was perfect, I decided to use them as the base of my ornament.

I started by gluing a piece of cardstock to the front of the card, covering up the questions.

Then, I drew a snowman on a piece of paper, cut it out, and traced it onto the back of a complementing piece of cardstock.

Next, I used my snowflake punch to cut out little snowflakes from the same card stock I used for the snowmen.

I glued both to the front of the card, and applied three layers of glossy Mod Podge over the top, letting it dry completely in between. I used a sealer after the last coat so they wouldn’t be sticky. Then, I punched a hole and applied a snowflake eyelet to finish the hole.

I threaded some red ribbon through the eyelet to finish it off. As you can see below, I left the back of the card as-is. I wanted it to be obvious that this was an upcycle project.

And here’s what the finished product looked like:

I did a few extras for trading. My favorite Christmas movie growing up was the claymation Rudolph with Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman, so I thought it would be fun to do some of those.

I actually covered the back on this one to make it double-sided with Sam the Snowman on one side, and the old Rudoph movie poster on the other. (Lindsay made some Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life ornaments that turned out amazing. Maybe she’ll some pics here.)

I had a few more cards in the deck, so I played around with different papers and designs.

I’m hoping this whole “Christmas in July” thing will motivate me to start working on holiday projects early this year. When I made these ornaments, I was literally up all night the night before the swap. This year, I’d love to get a head start! Hopefully we can inspire some of you fellow DIY’ers with procrastination tendencies to do the same.

Happy Holidays! (You know, in advance.)

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3 thoughts on “Playing Card Ornament Upcycle

  1. Super cute! And, you know, I liked those date cards, they made me laugh. I made a ‘date’ thingy once – it was based on those origami folding things that kids put numbers and colours on, and… ok, I put questions under the flaps, but they were funny questions. Maybe I’m just too weird for this comment section today :D
    Ooh procrastination. Thats me. I have plans this year… and thats as far as its gone… :D

    • Unfortunately, I can’t really answer that. I belonged to a parenting group that does it every year. I have since moved, but they are still doing it. I bet you could find one online, and if not, then you could always try starting one if you belong to a group of some sort, or a church, or a community center, or something.

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