In order to make quite a few craft kits for the children in orphanages and schools, I rely heavily on recycling greetings cards. I have to consider the weight and ultimately whether it is an easy craft that children will keep.
The person that goes out there visits around 20 schools/orphanages as well as churches and destitute homes. So trying to keep the weight down to be able to give to more people is essential.
When sorting the cards for the Uganda project I put them into several piles:
These are scenery pictures, flowers or backgrounds that look nice at 5cm to 5.5cms wide. I round the corners and make one hole punch. The kits are then put together once I have 50 tag bases. The kit is simple, thinking of the weight: the 50 tags and 3 different types of coloured wool as well as a sample. I put basic instructions showing it as a handwriting exercise for the childs favourite quote or parable. The instruction label is on the bag, so when given to a teacher they can quickly see what the package is for. None of the scenes show window shops or dressed christmas trees or santa pictures.
As the suitcases are going out with the missionaries, I collect all the nativity and bible pictures and seperate them into sections. Nativity, Jesus, Church and crosses, bible scenes, Mary, angels. I then cut down the cards to take out any writing that may indicate Easter or Christmas. These can then be handed out at the churches they attend.
I recently bought a cuttlebug 9 piece jigsaw die to be used on the greetings cards. The design for these cards are usually what I cant use for the tags because the picture is too big ie animals. It is also good for changing unwanted photos into something useful. They are put into small bags with a small sticker indicating what type of picture it is ie dog. These are to be given out to individual children in their family setting like a cracker toy. I am still trying to find a quote to make it a meaningful present - something along the line of : Not trying your best means the world has something missing.This would link in with if a jigsaw has a missing piece etc. If anyone has come accross such a quote please put it in the comment section.
Any cards that dont make the above, but are thick card - makes the bobbin pile. I get my square punch to them and then curve 2 sides with scissors - it does not matter the picture (as long as its not rude!). I then put it into my embroidery box ready for when I make up the sewing kits. I'm still hoping to find a smaller square punch that is not too expensive, as my square punch is the big lever pink woodware one - but it still does the job of uniformed sizing. Photo shows bought bobbin compared to my recycled bobbin.
Colouring in bookmarks
I also recycle the backs of the cards. Any cream or white backs, where there is no writing I cut out ready for stamping. Like the bible pictures, these are going with the missionaries. So I have stamped them with religious images. I use permanent black ink so that the image is well defined. These are put into kits of 50 bookmarks with a small set of colouring pencils.
Any scraps from the above are then put into my punchies bag. I have quite a lot of different punches, most are the lever type as I find them easiest. I then get my bag out every now and then and have an hour just punching shapes out. These are then put into a craft kit for gluing and sticking. The kit would include some background card, then a whole lot of bagged punched shapes and a glue stick. It would also include a sample bookmark.
Whatever can't be used for the Uganda projects are used in different ways in my crafting.