Saturday 11 January 2014

Recycling with Joanna

This is our last class from Joanna.  However if you want to spend more time with her, Joanna has set up a group on Facebook: Artful of Soul.  Here's the description of the group:

Mixed media, art journaling, collage, altered art, assemblage and all kinds of fun and funky, whimsical art is found here. We share resources, techniques, ideas and inspiration. If you have a heARTful of soul to share, you are welcome here!



  • Christmas cards (covers only)
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • White glue
  • 6” of decorative thread or ribbon (for hanger)
  • Pencil
  • Plain copy paper
  • Card stock (to make angel template)
  • Assorted decorative embellishments (ribbon, stickers, glitter, jewelry findings, etc)

Download the angel template PDF to your own computer and print it off on copy paper, then trim off most of the excess paper around the image. 

Using your glue stick, adhere the angel image to the cardstock, then cut it out.  This will be your template to use with the Christmas cards.

You can make the angel any size you want but this one is about 4” at its widest by about 4.25” at its highest.  This size works well to get two angel shapes from one Christmas card cover measuring about 5” X 8.” 

Of course, there is no reason not to make your angel shapes from different cards.  That will just make them more interesting!  And don’t worry if the image prints off at a different size than what I’ve noted here.  Just work with it as it is.  You can always alter the size of your template at a later time if you’d prefer it smaller or larger.

Cut apart your Christmas cards.  You’ll only need the cover (or front) piece of the card.

Trace around your angel cardstock template on the back side of your Christmas card cover.  Then flip the template over and trace a second image on the same Christmas card (or on a separate card if the first one is not large enough for two tracings).  You will now have two angels that are mirror images of one another.  Cut both out.  The finer the job you do of cutting them out, the less finishing work you’ll need to do later on.

With the angels face up (good side of Christmas card), take the angel with the wing on the left and cut from the center bottom of the angel body up about halfway.  We’ll call this the Left Angel.

Take the angel with the wing on the right and cut from the center top of the head down about halfway.  We’ll call this one the Right Angel.  (Photo shows both angels with the cuts as described.  You may need to look closely to see the cuts.)

Here’s the tricky part.  Holding the Left Angel in your left hand and the Right Angel in your right hand, slip the slot you created in the Right Angel’s head up into the slot of the Left Angel’s body. 

Adjust the fit until both sides are even (this isn’t an exact science).  In the photos below I have taken the Left Angel from the white/red set and the Right Angel from the gray/gold set and slotted them together.  Hopefully the contrast in their colors helps to demonstrate what I am doing.

Use a couple of discreet dabs of white glue at the bottom of the now-joined angels to hold them together as one.   Do the same with the head, but if you want to make a hanging angel, then layer your looped decorative thread or ribbon in as you glue, hiding the ends of the ribbon or thread of course.  Let dry before moving on to the next step.

You may want to trim the bottom of the angel or around the head or wings just to even things up. 

Now comes the fun part – decorating your angel!  You can leave it just as it is and it makes a great ornament, however I have trouble leaving anything plain, so I usually do some embellishing.

To cover the center seam that shows where the two pieces are joined, I will often run a small strip of double-sided tape (.25” wide) from the bottom of the angel to the neck.  I’ll then cover that tape with decorative ribbon or trim or some kind of embellishment.

I love adding a head to these ornaments and have used everything from clay face cabochons to bottlecaps with vintage face images on them.  The limit is really only your imagination.  Just remember that these items add bulk to your angel so if you are going to be mailing them, keep this in mind.  Also, depending on what you are adding for a head (or other embellishments) you’ll probably need to use a stronger adhesive such as E-6000 or Goop.

Even if both pieces of my angel came from the same Christmas card, I am always surprised at how they look when they are slotted together to make one.  That is part of the fun of this project, I think. 

Keep in mind that this template is a just a rough outline of an angel so that you can get the idea of this project.  You can certainly create something more refined or elaborate.  If you come up with a great shape that you are willing to share, we would love to see it.

I’m sure you’ll think of all kinds of other ideas of how to embellish your angel ornaments.  I would recommend that if you are going to do any kind of treatment to the ornaments (like paint, or glitter glue covering the surface), that you do that before you slot the two together.  It will be much easier that way.

The last thing to do is give the wings a gentle bend toward the back so that they and the arms stand out a bit from one another and give the angel a 3D effect overall. 

I like to take friends’ Christmas cards they’ve sent me and make an angel out of those cards to mail back to them the following Christmas.  It’s especially fun to do this if they have written on the back of the card.  I love the expressions on their faces when they turn the angel ornament over and see their own handwriting on it.

Have fun with this project and Happy New Year, one and all !


Thank you so much Joanna.

I hope you all enjoy making these angels.  Please share your photos using the link below.