Sewing tutorial

Scrap Fabric Christmas Cards Tutorial

Did you know that the first Saturday in October is card making day? This fun holiday has been celebrated since 2006 and was created as a way to encourage crafters to get a head start on the holiday season. This is a how to make scrap fabric Christmas cards tutorial.

This is a beginner project.

  • card stock
  • scrap fabrics
  • ribbon, lace and/or other embellishments
  • fabric scissors and/or plinking shears
  • scissors and/or knife for cutting card stock
  • glue and/or tape
  • sewing machine
  • rulers, stencils, cookie cutters etc for making your designs
  • fabric pens
  • permanent markers
Step 1 Choose Card Size

Depending upon the size and shape of card you’re planning to make, you may need to cut your cardstock. You can use any color of cardstock. I used 110 pound, white, lettersized cardstock. I made my cards 4.25” x 5.5” so I had to cut my letter-sized cardstock in half and then fold it in half. My paper scissors weren’t particularly sharp so it was easier to make clean cuts using a craft knife. I scored my cardstock prior to folding it to make the folds sharp.

Step 2 Choose Designs & Fabrics

I took my inspiration from old Christmas cards and Christmas clip art. You can make your designs as simple or as complex as you wish. Be creative. I find that simple geometric shapes are a good place to start if you’re not sure what design you want. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • triangles become Christmas trees
  • squares and rectangles become gifts
  • circles become ornaments, snowmen or wreaths

Do you have Christmas-themed cookie cutters? Those simple shapes are another good place to start:

  • gingerbread figures
  • stockings
  • candy-canes
  • bells
  • stars
  • snowflakes

Changing your shapes from ones with straight lines to curved lines changes the overall look of your design. Switching solid fabrics for patterned ones can give the same design a refreshing look.

Laying out red and white fabrics on white cardstock
Present themed card designs: Solid red & white (top left), patterned red & white (top right), solids with fusible fleece (bottom left), solids with wavy lines (bottom right)


You don’t have to limit yourself to one basic shape. Feel free to mix and match. Examples include bells and a big bow, bells and holly, a tree with presents, candy-canes and a bow, and a stocking with a candy-cane and a present sticking out of the top.

Step 3 Cut Materials

You may wish to interface thin fabrics prior to cutting out your shapes. Adding fusible fleece to the back of your pieces will give your designs an additional three-dimensional effect.

Cut out your fabric pieces either according to the elements in your design or the blocks of colour in your design. For example, a sprig of holly with 3 berries has 6 elements (3 leaves and 3 berries) and 2 colour blocks (green and red). I cut a piece of green, leaf-shaped fabric for each leave (1 piece of fabric per element) and 1 red trefoil shaped piece of fabric for the 3 berries (1 piece of fabric per colour block). If you are cutting your fabric pieces as blocks of colour, you can draw or sew the missing lines on later. Alternatively, cut 1 red circle of fabric for each berry (1 piece of fabric per element).

Close-up of 3 green fabric leaves and 3 red fabric berries on a white background
6 elements – 2 colors

I cut my leaves a little longer than they were in the clip-art that inspired this design to allow for some overlap. This makes it easier to overlap the fabric pieces.

Step 4 Glue

After you’ve cut out the fabric shapes for you’re designs, glue them in place on your card stock. Glue sticks work well for most fabrics. You can also use a thin layer of white glue.

If your design has a large piece of fabric that is overlapped by smaller pieces, you can either glue and/or sew the small pieces onto the larger piece before gluing the large piece to the card stock.

White cross on a wavy red box (left) and while stripes on a red candycane (right) on a brown background
Sew white ribbon onto red fabric before gluing to cardstock
Step 5 Sew

Sewing secures your fabric pieces to the cardstock. Sew along the perimeter of your fabric pieces. You may use a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch, matching thread or contrasting thread. I used a bottom thread that matched my cardstock so that it would be easier to hide the threads. If you want your bottom thread to be seen, you may wish to use a contrasting colour.

3 candycane themed cards
Matching straight stitching (left), matching zigzag stitching (center) & contrasting zigzag stitching (right)

You can add extra details to your design by sewing too. For example, straight stitch veins on a holly leaf, or three circles on a trefoil to suggest three overlapping berries.

Cardstock is just as dulling to sewing machine needles as it is to scissors. Once you’ve used a particular sewing machine needle for cardstock, it shouldn’t be used to sew fabrics. Old needles that have been dulled from fabric use, may still be used for cardstock.

It’s not necessary to backstitch at the beginning and end of your line of stitches. Omitting backstitching can give a cleaner look to your designs. You may wish to overlap the start and end points of your lines of stitching to help lock the stitches in place. Alternatively, pull the lose end of the top thread to the back of the cardstock and tie a square knot in the thread ends.

Closeup of white stitches on white cardstock
Knotted thread on the back of the card
Step 6 Embellish

You can embellish your scrap fabric Christmas cards with markers, paint, bows, ribbons, lace, and/or pieces of felt. Sequins, small beads, glitter and fabric paint add a touch of pizzazz. If you have a stylus, embossing is another way to embellish and add three dimensional elements to your cards. Christmas themed stencils may also come in handy for adding missing details.

Red & gold bow above purple bells
Embellished with paint
Green holly leaves (top), red holly berries (middle) and shiny red bells (bottom)
Details added to leaves with thread & berries & bells embellished with ink

I used a low temperature hot glue gun to glue on my ribbon bows and felt.

A black low temperature glue gun being used to glue white felt onto a red stocking
Gluing on the felt
Step 7 Hide Stitches (optional)

Depending upon how much sewing you do, there may be a lot of holes and thread on the inside of your card. You may like how it looks, but if you don’t, you can glue a piece of copypaper over the stitches. An added benefit of this step is that it protects the stitches. Either cut your copypaper to cover 1 side of your card interior or cut it twice as big to cover both interior sides. You don’t need to glue the copypaper to the other interior. I find that a glue stick works best for this step as white glue causes the copypaper to wrinkle. I choose white copypaper to match my white cardstock, but you can use any color of copypaper.

White stitches white cardstock
Stitching visible on card interior
White copypaper used to hide white stitches on cardstock
Card interior stitching hidden

That’s it! Your scrap fabric Christmas cards are now ready for use.

Here are some photos of my finished scrap fabric Christmas cards:

24 assorted Christmas cards on a green background
Assortment of handmade scrap fabric Christmas cards
4 red & white "present" themed Christmas cards
Present cards: solid fabric (top left), patterned fabric (top right), solid fabric & fusible fleece (bottom left), solid fabric with wavy lines (bottom right)
4 Christmas tree themed Christmas cards
Christmas tree themed cards


4 assorted Christmas cards
Ornaments (top left), stocking embellished with felt (top right), candycane with black outline (bottom left) & holly (bottom right) cards
2 assorted Christmas cards
Holly & bells card (top) & gingerbread figures with fusible fleece (bottom) cards

I made 24 scrap fabric Christmas cards in about a week. You’ll be able to create yours much faster as you’re not testing multiple techniques while documenting your processes. It’s easy to set up an assembly line to make a large number of cards with the same design quickly. You can easily adopt this tutorial for making cards for other occasions. Let your imagination guide you.

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Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial: Scrap Fabric Christmas Cards:
"Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial: Scrap Fabric Christmas Cards" showing 4 Christmas tree themes Christmas cards
Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial: Scrap Fabric Christmas Cards


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