A Valentine’s Day greeting card made with recycled shredded paper.

Taking care of the planet does not mean sacrificing things we love like holidays and gift-giving, it just means we need to find more creative and nature-friendly ways to do them. According to the Greeting Card Association, the average person receives around 20 commercial greeting cards a year. When you receive a Hallmark card, do you ever think about what went into that card and how it harms our planet? Almost every aspect of a commercial greeting card negatively impacts our planet, from oil-based inks spelling out “Happy Birthday” down to glitter, a petroleum product derived from fossil fuels. Even the clear chemical film the cards are covered in is made in factories generating harmful pollution. With the state of our planet, we no longer have the time or capacity to be generating pollution through our celebrations.

For upcoming holidays, I urge you to make your own cards either from a piece of paper or from scratch! During Valentine’s Day, that is exactly what I did, and I’m going to tell you how you can do the same.


  • Recycled shredded paper (your school office probably has a ton of shredded paper waiting to be thrown away).
  • Mica powder.
  • Water.
  • A blender.
  • Seeds (preferably from a wildflower mix native to your card recipient’s location).
  • A sponge.
  • A deckle, or wooden paper-making frame (there are plenty of DIY versions of this online).
  • A small rectangular bin.

Step 1: Saturate your shredded paper in your small bin of water overnight.

Step 2: Squeeze out the excess water with your hands and blend the paper/water mix until you get a pulp with an oatmeal-like consistency. Add more paper or water as needed to get to the desired texture.

Step 3: Next, fill your bucket with water and pour in your pulp, coloring and your seeds. Make sure to stir the pulp and water so it comes to the top before you get your deckle and scoop the pulp from the bin toward you.

Step 4: Shake out the excess water, slowly flip over your deckle on a piece of cardboard and sponge it down. Let your sheets dry for a few days, and you have your own handmade cards!

I love this card craft because not only do you recycle old paper, but you also give back to the Earth by planting flowers. Our planet has given us life and the endless ability to create; it’s time for humanity to realize we are coexisting with the planet, not just living on it.

Isabella Tetreault-Saez is a sophomore at New Mexico School for the Arts. Contact her at

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