Introduction: Making Credit Card Ornaments

credit, debit and gift cards can be turned into colorful ornaments for free - and gift cards are colorful and available in a wide variety of colors and styles at nearly every store around.

Step 1: Variations in Materials

we'll get to cutting in the next step, but this needs to be covered first : variations in raw materials.

cards vary in stiffness (typically thickness), and that variation needs to be taken into account when cutting into the card.

  • credit and debit cards are often the stiffest, and require the deepest cuts to curl properly.
  • membership cards (insurance companies and 'clubs' send these out in snail-mail solicitations) are the thinnest and flimsiest, requiring far more shallow cuts.  the out-of-control ornament at bottom left of the intro step photo was made from a magazine 'membership' subscription card, and demonstrates why shallow cutting at first is so important.
  • gift cards are generally somewhere in between, but the iTunez card shown here is easily as thick as any credit card, so experience will be your best guide.

 : the discount card used in the demonstration was closer to a membership card, for reference.

Step 2: Cutting Order

right handed ?  start at the right end and cut strips (try 3/16'' for starters) to nearly to the middle of the card.  if using left-handed scissors, cutting direction should be reversed.

don't stress : variation in the width of the strips is to be expected.  the best rule of thumb is to imagine cutting from the opposite edge of the card, between the strips you are now cutting.

NOTE : remember to cut a bit short of the middle of the card.  if the card has not curled by the end of cutting both sides, you can easily correct the curl then.  cutting too deep early ... well, ''i've cut this card three times, and the cuts are still too deep !''  shallow cuts are better until you've done your first card.

Step 3: Cutting the Strips, Part 2

this is roughly what your card should look like.

this is a good time to examine the cuts to ensure they are nearly uniform in depth.

next, will turn the card and cut from the opposite edge, between the cuts you've just made.

Step 4: You Control the Curl - Don't Let It Control You !

here you can see the curl is far too slight, but that means the project is still under control.

IMHO, this result is ideal ; there is room for adjusting the curl by making each cut (from both edges) end closer to each other.  they should not meet, but may pass close to one another.

by adjusting the depth of individual cuts you can adjust the curl at any point along the length of the card - someone will find a cool variation before long, i'm certain.

Step 5: Mission Completed

minor adjustments were made, and at this point the twist seemed sufficient.  making a 180 degree turn is not always possible without compromising the structural integrity of the card.

Step 6: Add Display Hardware

by adding some kind of hanging hardware and a string, you are done !

the angle of this photo does not show how cool the card looks, but rather the curl.