Upcycling a Water Bottle into Handmade Cards

How to Turn an Empty Water Bottle into Beautiful Handmade Cards


An empty plastic water bottle may not immediately seem to be a great source of inspiration for creating handmade cards.  Looked at with the eyes of an avid up-cycler though, it has a beauty all of its own.  

Look how the light shines through it and shows up all the wavy lines – it is just shouting out for a little creativity to be applied!

I’m going to use it to make handmade cards.  I like to make my cards as multi-purpose as possible and so I leave them blank for your own message.  Hearts have universal appeal – you could send this to commemorate a birthday or anniversary, to say “thank you”, or, of course, save it for your Valentine!

Let's get Started - Go Punch some Hearts!

Whenever I finish a bottle of water, I toss it into a box I keep especially for up-cycling.  Why simply re-cycle when you can have so much more fun up-cycling?!

When I have a spare minute or two, I work through the box and replenish my stash.  It’s always a good day when I have got some plastic bottles to punch.

I use a Fiskar’s Thick punch for this task.  An ordinary punch will soon get stuck on the plastic and you risk damaging it.  A thick punch is a really good investment if you like up-cycling.

What You Will Need

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Heart Up-cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo
Handmade Cards from an Up-cycled Water Bottle

Breathe new life into a discarded water bottle. We are all trying to use less plastic these days, but if you do buy bottled water, at least you can put it to good use afterwards now.  They come in lots of lovely colours too – so let your imagination go to work …


Handmade Cards - Never throw away your scraps of card and paper
Scraps of card and paper for punching

Never throw away any pretty card or paper you come across.  Old greeting cards, pretty packaging etc. can all be happily up-cycled.

You can buy a card blank and an envelope of course – but it is so much more fun to make your own.  Let your creativity soar!

Step-by-Step Guide

Time needed: An hour or so is all you need.

How to Turn an Empty Water Bottle into Beautiful Handmade Cards

  1. Your card can be made either from a purchased card blank or cut from cardboard.  I like a square format for my cards, so I used a piece of card 27cm x 13.5cm.
  2. Fold the card in half.
  3. Now take your boner (my daughter always laughs when I say that – I’m not sure why?!) and run it along the fold to make a really sharp crease.
  4. Mark where you want to place your heart motifs (see Tips and Tricks section below).
  5. Layer your hearts in a way that pleases you.  I like to put a wooden heart on the bottom, then an up-cycled water bottle heart on top, and finish with a card/paper heart.
  6. Use a double sided sticky foam pad to mount your wooden heart onto your card and another to place the Upcycled plastic heart on the top to get a nice 3D effect.
  7. Then add your card/paper heart in the middle, using high tack glue.
  8. Finally, decorate as you wish using beads/sequins.  I like to place some between the motifs and in the middle of them, but it’s entirely up to you how you want your finished card to look.
  9. Now all you need is a matching envelope and your up-cycled card is good to go!  Handmade cards always say so much more than shop bought cards.
  10. Use your handmade cards yourself or – have a heart and donate them to your local St. Mary’s Hospice shop and turn them into much needed cash to support a great cause.

Tips and Tricks

I made myself a template from thick cardboard the exact same size as the front of my card.  I then measured out exactly where I wanted to place the heart motifs using a ruler and used a bradawl to make holes in the card in the right place.

You can then place your template over the top of your card and use an embossing tool to gently push through the hole and make a small indent in the card that you can (just about!) see.  You can then use this as a guide for placing your sticky foam squares.

Cocktail sticks are a really great tool for placing a tiny little dab of glue onto your card and nudging a bead or sequin gently into place.

Less is definitely more with the glue – you can very easily ruin your project if you are heavy handed with it!

Work tidy – Keep yourself organised!  I store my up-cycled plastic hearts in a little box in my up-cycling tower stash.  That way, I always know where to find them when I need them for a project and don’t wast time rummaging about in my cupboards for them.  If you punch out more hearts than you need, don’t throw them away.  Keep them in a box for the next time you feel like being crafty.

Handmade Cards - Card template for accurate placing of heart motifs on the card
Cardboard Template - for Placing your Hearts accurately
Handmade Cards Little plastic box for keeping punched hearts in to stay organised
Never throw anything away!
Handmade Cards - Keeping organised
Keeping Organised

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