Old Greeting Cards Make Great Art Supplies

by Laurie Bellet

Heshvan is a month I love. In Heshvan, families shower me with their used greeting cards, a virtual art windfall. Just one greeting card, cut into its component pieces, can be used in several projects. Here’s the trick…

First you check the television listings and find a great movie but, preferably, one you have seen before. Settle yourself with some large zip-lock baggies and a comfortable scissors.

If you look, you will notice that the design on the front of the card frequently has, not just an emblematic picture, but also some kind of frame or border. Carefully cut out the picture itself and place it in one baggie. Then cut the frame or the border and put it in another baggie. On the inside, if you are really fortunate, there may be even another small picture. There is also the message, maybe even in Hebrew and English! The message goes into yet another baggie. Okay, so this seems a bit time intensive, but that is why you are in front of the already been viewed, but treasured, movie!

The good news is that now, when you need pictures to enhance a project, they are waiting for you. Torah scrolls, candles, shofarot, you have them all, ready to go. The frames, you will find, are fantastic, to add a finished flair to small drawings or notes. The messages you can conveniently tuck away for your class card making next year.

If you are lucky enough to have a parent volunteer, this is a terrific job to offer. You just need to assure the volunteer that exactitude is not part of the process and that you are not concerned that the cards may be “cut the wrong way.”

Some cards are just right to cut in half for a “complete the picture” project. Simply cut the card front down the middle in such a way that the student can complete the missing side of the picture when it is glued to a piece of drawing paper. This activity requires the student to study the elements of the half picture and use that awareness to make a finished product. There are also cards I cut into puzzle or tangram pieces. Closely regarding each piece, students can reconstruct the picture or use the geometric parts to create a new design from the original artwork. Calendar pictures are terrific for this as well.

If you have not had cards donated to you, put out a request. In a few weeks’ time ask for Hanukkah cards.