A creative way to reuse old greeting cards, wrapping paper, books and magazines.

I wanted to make Nanna a banner (let’s call it a Nanna Banna) for her 100th Birthday. As she loves baking, and was a stellar cook, I decided to honour those skills in the decorations. This is a creative way to reuse old greeting cards, wrapping paper, books and magazines. I used some old cookbooks (purchased for next to nothing from the op shop) and set about creating something yummy!

Here’s how to make a banner:

  • First, I wrote down the text that I wanted to use, in this case I needed to create around 25 letters in total. Aim to have some left over paper in case you make a mistake or want to add something else.
  • I tore out only pages with full colour images that filled the page.
  • Choose images that have some synergy, in this case, lots of chocolately tones, golden browns and a touch of pink icing.
  • Use an A4 piece of card as a template, or smaller of larger to suit your needs. This will give you the size of the outer edges so you can be somewhat consistent with height (more so than width).
  • Scavenge or purchase some scrapbooking papers in similar colours and weight. I spent about $15 on paper and $3 on the cookbooks.
  • Hand cut the letters. Don’t be a neat freak, and try and cut free form if you can. If you’re not that confident, sketch your letter on the reverse of the paper, bearing in mind your lines may show up if you don’t hang the banner against a wall.
  • Use previously cut letters as a template to cut more of the same (no need to reinvent the wheel).
  • If you have something you’d like a little smaller, cut in one piece from the one colour.  I did this with the “100th”
  • Finally, lay them out on a large flat surface and check the continuity and spelling.
  • Consider your kerning (space between letters) at this stage. Remember to allow enough space between words too.
  • Use Scotch tape or a matt sticky tape to secure the very tops of your letters to some string.
  • Hang that baby up!

Lay out your letters and check the spelling!


  • For a fun, handmade look, mix lower case and capital letters.
  • Mix prints and plains.
  • Choose no more than 5-6 colours maximum, ideally from one or two publication so there is some synergy.
  • Spell check!
  • Spell check again before compiling.
  • For a longer banner, you might want to make different tiers; up to three look fantastic! (see below)
  • To store and transport, place the first letter on a solid piece of card with the face up. Then lay each letter out by alternating face up face down, face up face down. This means the string will zig zag back on itself (perfect because not all letters will be the same size and therefore impossible to wind around a piece of card)

I have made these banners in the past and they are so pretty… they flutter in the breeze, and because they’re hand made, they contain lots of love.


One response to “A creative way to reuse old greeting cards, wrapping paper, books and magazines.

  1. Pingback: Happy discardia everyone! |·

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