Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.
Recycled Greeting Cards for Holiday Crafts
I love making holiday craft projects from recycled greeting cards. These cards come in a variety of designs and feature the festive colors of the holiday season. This treetop star is the perfect project to reuse some of your favorite Christmas cards to make a treasured holiday ornament for your tree.
This tutorial includes directions for two different types of tree top stars. I have an artificial tree that has a long central spike on the top. I've found that using a ornament with a ring on the back that can slide down on this central spike works best for my tree. The other option is a star with a cone-like base that can sit on top of the tree. This type of tree topper might work better for real trees. I've included directions for both tree top stars in the tutorial below.
- three to six Christmas cards (colors of your choice)
- a piece of poster board in coordinating color (should be stiff but bendable)
- three or four cotton balls
- rubber cement or modge podge
- glitter glue, sequins, washi tape and other decorations for your star
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
- scissors, pencil and ruler
For a ring-backed star, you will also need a cardboard ring that is big enough to fit over the spike at the top of your tree. I cut a piece from a round mailing tube to use for my star.
For the cone base star, you will also need some sturdy, but bendable wire to make the base. I used 16 gauge wire, but you could also used floral wire if you can find it in a roll.
Directions for a Ring-Backed Star
1. Copy the star template above and print it out to be about 7 inches across from left point to right point (or the size of your choice).
2. Trace your star on to your poster board, including the tabs on all the points. Cut out your star.
3. Take your template and cut off all the tabs. Trace it again on your poster board and cut it out so that you have another star with just the five points. This will be the backing to your finished star. Put this star and the template to the side.
4. Working with the star with tabs and using a ruler, draw a line from each point to the V between the opposite two points (see photo above).
5. Using a ruler, fold down each of your tabs.
6. Then fold your star (both back and forth) along each of drawn lines. Use your ruler to create a crisp edge on each of these folds.
7. Fold and position your star so that the ridge on each point sits up and the valley between each point folds back (see photo above). The center should rise up and your star should look like a starfish.
8. Take your greeting cards and arrange them in the order of colors you want to use on your star.
9. Using your star template, cut out two of the triangles that make up a point. You should have a left triangle and a right triangle. You might want to label the left and right triangle to keep them separate.
10. Using your triangle templates, trace and cut out five left triangles and five right triangles from your greeting cards. Save your greeting card scraps and put them to the side.
11. Arrange your triangles in the order you want to use them on your star.
12. Glue your triangle pieces onto your poster board star using rubber cement or modge podge. Don't worry too much if your triangles don't fit perfectly. You can cover up any issues in the next step.
13. Use glitter glue, sequins, washi tape, and other decorations to enhance your star design. I cut strips and punched dots out of my card scraps and used them to scatter over my star.
14. Refold your star along all the creases. Fold down your tabs. You may have to trim the edges of your tabs to make sure they fit behind each point (see photo above).
15. Put the three of four cotton balls in the center of your backing star. Fold back the tabs on your decorated star and place it over your backing star to see how they fit together. The cotton balls should add some filling to the center of your star Your backing star might be a bit bigger than your front star. You can trim your backing at a later step.
16. Once you know how your star will fit together, put some rubber cement or modge podge on each of your star's tabs. Carefully glue your front star to your backing, keeping the cotton balls in between your two pieces. Glue together one point at a time. You can use binder clips to hold together your pieces as they dry.
17. Once your star is dry completely, you can trim any of the backing that shows from the front of your star. You may choose to leave this backing as a frame around your star.
18. You can also use glitter glue to cover any of the seams between your triangle pieces if your poster board shows at the folds. This will also add a little sparkle to your star.
19. Cut a ring of cardboard from a paper towel roll or some other item to use as the ring on the back of your star. Make sure this ring will fit over the central spike of your tree. I cut a ring from a cardboard mailing tube.
20. Decide which will be the top point of your star. Use hot glue to attach your ring to the back of your star. Your star should then slide down the top of your tree and nestle in the top of your tree.
Directions for a Double-Sided Cone Base Tree Topper
1. Follow Steps 1 - 3 above.
2. Follow Steps 4 - 7 to draw lines and fold BOTH of your star templates.
3. Continue to follow Steps 8 - 13 to decorate both front and backing star pieces.
4. Follow Steps 14 - 16 to fit your star together. You may need more than four cotton balls to fill the center of your star. Important: Leave a hole between the bottom two points of your star.
5. Cut a piece of wire that is about 18 inches long. Your wire should be firm, but bendable. Floral wire is a good choice because it will not show against a green tree.
6. Coil your wire around a rounded object to create a cone shape. Use an object that is big enough to fit over the top of your tree. Make a couple of wraps to make a solid base for your cone (see photo above). I started with the tube from a paper towel roll. To shape my cone, I moved from the paper towel tube to a smaller object as my cone needed to get smaller.
7. Continue to wrap your wire to make a cone that is long enough to fit securely on the top of your tree. Cut any excess wire at the top of your cone, leaving about an inch tail (see photo above). Your tail should be standing up straight.
8. Stick the wire tail in the hole left in your star. Use hot glue to attach your star to your cone and close up the bottom hole. Hold your star in place until the glue dries.
9. You now have a two-sided star to decorate the top of your Christmas tree!
© 2022 Donna Herron