Make your own components from recycled gift cards

Save those used holiday gift cards and make them into something new!
punch and finished picks

When I saw Annie Bartlett's guitar pick bracelet project, I was reminded of a tool that I had purchased a while back and promptly forgotten all about (come on, we've all done it!). The tool is similar to a scrapbooking hole punch, but is actually designed to punch holes in plastic, to make homemade guitar picks!

This tool is made by Pick Punch LLC, and comes in many different shapes. The standard guitar pick punch that I am using retails for $24.95, and punches for other shapes range in price from $14.95 to $29.95. Pick Punch also offers many kits that include the sandpaper, plastic sheets and other accessories that you need to make picks for your favorite player. 

But there's no reason to purchase the specialty plastic when you have an upcycleable material literally right in your wallet! Did you get any gift cards as a holiday gift? After you've spent them down to zero, be sure to ask for the plastic card back from the cashier. Other options: expired credit cards, hotel room keys that you forgot to return, or any other plastic cards in your wallet that you no longer need. (Of course, be sure that the balance is zero on these cards, and that no personal information can be obtained from them before you use them!)

trim cards to get a good image
I had to trim off a bit of the card to center the Bard in the punch to get just the right angle. 

Gift cards have lovely patterns, and when you cut them, it can be hard to tell what the original image was. Focus on geometric patterns, turning the card at interesting angles to get just the right image.

Alternatively, embrace the image! You may need to trim the card with a scissors to position the card in the punch.

Christmas tree punchearrings

Two cute bow findings, ear wires, and a handful of jump rings were all it took to turn these little Christmas trees into earrings. I did use a bit of sandpaper to take any rough edges off the plastic, and I used my Swanstrom hole punch to create the holes, but any punch that would pierce metal will do; the plastic is relatively soft. 

I haven't tried a traditional paper punch on plastic, but I imagine it would dull the cutting edge somewhat quickly. So if you do decide to try, know that you may not get the clean edges on paper that you got when the tool was new!

A great idea: make a quick pair of earrings from a card that you received as a gift, and give the earrings as a thank you to the person who gave you the card! What a fun way to pay it forward.

pics
Look at the groovy mid-century vibe I will get from these punch outs (still need to be sanded). 
cards
Would you have guessed that they came from these cards? Be creative with the colors and images and go for a unique take!

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