stephmodo: A Thoughtful Way to Recycle Letterpress Cards

A Thoughtful Way to Recycle Letterpress Cards

• 07 April 2010

Scenario: A thoughtful friend or acquaintance takes the time to send you a letterpress card (or small desk calendar). You relish in opening the weighty card and run your fingers along the paper, admiring the texture (don't tell me I'm the only one who does this!). You read the handwritten note and come to a full appreciation for the person who gave you such a lovely card. Now what exactly do you do with such a lovely piece of paper?

Well, in the past I've pinned every letterpress card I've received on my inspiration board. I enjoy admiring it for several months, or maybe even a year or two! It's a pleasure to see them every day and to think of the person who gave them to me. I've seen others place them in a decorative bowl, or clip them to suspended wire. I'm sure there are lots of great ideas for display, but there does come a time--whether it's 2 months or 2 years--when one needs to creatively refresh, be it a bowl or a board. For some time now I've felt the need to create some kind of system that involved recycling, but in a thoughtful, respectful, way.

First, using a small paper cutter, I trimmed the front of the card off, separating the graphic portion from the handwritten portion. I placed the pretty "covers" in one pile and the notes in another. Using a hole-puncher, I put a hole in the top left corner of each note and then ran a small satin ribbon through each hole, binding the cards together (one of those loose metal book rings would work nicely too, although you'd sacrifice a little visual appeal). Also, I couldn't resist adding one of the hearts from our Valentine's Day garland to the top of the pile--it seemed an appropriate "label".

Now, when I need to add a card to the bunch, it's easy to do--just punch another hole and re-tie the ribbon. Voila!

Now on to the pretty little pile of card "covers"...

Using the three large punches I own, I created little cut-outs of each. It was fun figuring out how to maximize each card and what shape would look best.

Note: if you don't own any large punches, but live near a scrapbooking store, look into using their dye-cut machines. Usually it only costs a couple dollars per hour if you bring your own paper goods. They would have most of these shapes as well as a bajillion other choices.

Next, I punched a little hole at the top of each cut-out and slid a piece of ribbon through, tying a knot at the base (works best for weightier ribbon, like grosgrain). For other tags I took the piece of ribbon, folded it in half, and then slid it through the hole, from the back. Then I took the two ribbon pieces hanging out back and placed both of them, together through the front loop. It's a dressier look and works best for thin ribbon.

Now I have an ecclectic bunch of beautiful letterpress gift tags to use and a lovely stack of thoughtfully-written cards to save forever!


  1. stephanie, this is such a great re-use idea. i usually just cut the front and back apart and reuse the front as a notecard or a recipe card, but this idea of using punches to make tags is so much better!

  2. such a cute idea! I need to get some large punches

  3. Love it!! Will definitely do this.

  4. Love this! This may be a dumb question, but how do you cut the shapes so evenly/perfectly? Do you have a template, or special scissor? Thanks!

  5. I had to share this post on my blog. Fantastic idea as it's exactly what I've been looking for.


  6. PNew: I use large "punches". You can buy them online from Stamp it Up or at a Scrapbooking or craft store.

    To Everyone: Thank you for the sweet comments!

  7. Fantastic idea! I'm feeling the need to find more cute letterpress cards! Love the idea of using what you have and finding new uses for it.

  8. Loved this idea! Thanks for the tip!

  9. Love this! Wondering where to get these large punches!

  10. Great ideas, Steph! I've been using large craft punches to cut up our "off prints" and am making them into garlands. A good activity to keep my hands busy while watching a DVD.

    p.s. That chocolate pudding recipe looks amazing. I'm impressed you can keep cooking and coming up with recipes while expecting and not feeling your best. Wonder woman :)

  11. I love these. I do something similar with my Xmas cards:

    and from left over pictures from my scrapbooking projects:

    I am definitely trying your idea!

  12. Fantastic, I love these, such a great idea.

    emily @

  13. I have that same calendar, and use the backs each month as postcards - it's a good way to clean up and re-use and stay in touch (with at least 12 people a year).

  14. this is an amazing idea, i love it and can't wait to collect my cards and get creative. xo

  15. Thank you for this post... I love, love, love this idea! After reading your post, I dug out my huge bin of cherished notes and cards (some dated back to 1988) that have been collecting dust under my stairwell and I'm going to start this project today. Thanks again!


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