Home-made Greetings Cards, Gift Tags & Decorations from repurposed wood.

Easy to source and make cards, gift tags and decorations using repurposed fruit crate wood and scraps of tissue paper, serviettes, tapes, ribbons, string, stickers and all those old flavourless spices at the back of the cupboard! 

Make and give something original and individual. I'm taking this opportunity to say thank-you for reading my blog and hope you'll enjoy this festive project.

Cartes de Noël et cartes de vœux pour le Nouvel An : faites-les vous-même! Des matériaux de récup faciles à trouver pour faire des cartes, étiquettes à cadeaux et décorations en utilisant le bois de cagettes et des morceaux de papier de soie, serviettes, bandes, rubans, cordes, stickers et d'épices. Faire et donner quelque chose d'original et d'individuel.

Je saisis cette occasion pour dire merci de visiter mon blog et j'espère que vous apprécierez ce projet festif.
Crear sus propias tarjetas de felicitación. Tarjetas y decoraciones para Navidad y Año Nuevo hechas de madera reutilizados y pedazos de papel, servilletas, cintas, cintas, cuerdas, pegatinas y especias. Marca y dar algo original y personalizado. Estoy tomando esta oportunidad para decir gracias por visitar mi blog y espero que disfruten de este proyecto festivo.

Basic Materials, Tools and Cutting the Profiles

Fruit crates come in various sizes and qualities, some are made of thin pine and some of plywood. Both these can be used in this project but the technique of laying your pattern onto the wood and the tools you use to cut it are different for each sort. You may also come across some made from poplar, I never find these easy to cut but using my home-made guillotine, they make great fire lighters!

When using the thin pine lay your pattern in the sense of the grain. This way you will not risk splitting the wood. 

Unless you are lucky enough to be ambidextrous, you may find some of the cuts are difficult to do, so it's a good idea to mark out the profile on both sides of the wood. This way you will be able to cut from both sides.

Use a tenon or back saw to cut the pine, this is fine toothed and will give a cleaner cut.

With the ply I usually square up the ends of the wood first to see how large a piece I have to work with.

Because of the nature of ply, there is no danger of splitting the wood so the pattern can be placed so as to optimise the piece of wood and to save cutting time.

The more interesting pieces with grain or knots I leave to use with the natural decorations such as spices and just cover the tree with a single layer of acrylic varnish.

The ply can be cut easily with a modeling or craft knife and a steel rule as a straight edge to guide the cutting.

The tree can be lightly sanded around the edges with a fine sand paper and then decorated. We started with painting ours with a layer of organic, white, water-based paint. 

Materials for decoration and glues

There are all kinds of things to use for decoration. From dried and pressed flowers, herbs and spices to stickers, serviettes, ribbons and tissue papers. For the heavier items and to attach a string to the back of your tree, you will need something like a hot melt glue and glue gun. Something like a PVA glue can be used for lighter items.

For the tissue paper and lighter materials we used a home made glue, which we also use for papier mâché. This is made from flour and water. The recipe and the method for making it is set out below.    

How to make the flour paste:

4 fluid oz/125ml white flour
18 fluid oz/500 ml water

Mix ingredients together in pan until smooth. Place the pan on a medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring continuously until it boils. The mix should be thick and creamy. Boil for 10 seconds, keep stirring, then empty into a glass or plastic container. Leave to cool and lift off skin which forms on top and compost. Cover with a lid and keep in a cool place.
If you are keeping the flour paste for any length of time you can add a couple of drops of Essential oil of Tea Tree or Clove to the mix once it is cool.

Some examples of what we made:

and now, if you would like to, sit back and watch the film: 

Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share this article, comment, ask questions and if you'd like to be assured of getting the next post, then sign up to follow this blog.

All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014


  1. Thanks for reading this post and for your kind words.
    Warmest wishes from France, Andy.