diy project: vintage card jotters

I always wrestle with giving handmade gifts. I enjoy receiving them and cherish the extra thought and personal touch that comes with them. There is something about a handmade gift that is more treasured than a store-bought item, but what if the recipient isn’t so crazy about the gift? I want to be able to give handmade, but not in a way that obligates friends and family to pull my gift out of the closet to display when I visit.

I also know that Christmas seems to creep up on me, and despite my intentions to give handmade, I often procrastinate and run out of time. So I thought this year I’d make a little jotter/gift card holder that can be made in minutes to tie on a present, hold a gift card or hide cash. Whether the main gift is store bought or handmade, there is a little personal touch attached to it. This is a very simple idea, one that can be completed on a small budget and in just a few spare minutes. Enjoy! — AshleyAnn

The full project continues after the jump!


  • vintage cards (easily found at flea markets and antique stores for less than $1.00)
  • grid paper
  • small kraft paper bag
  • gift card
  • trim and decorative items for wrapping
  • sewing machine
  • paper cutter



1. Trim your paper to be a bit smaller than the card. I used 5 sheets of grid paper to create 10 pages when folded. Center your paper in the middle of the card and hold in place with clothespins.

2. Turn your card over and sew down the center fold using a long, straight stitch. Trim off the extra thread.

3. If you’d like to create a spot to hold a gift card, simply sew a kraft bag to the back page. I used a straight and zigzag stitch to make it more decorative. Determine where to place the stitching based on the size of your gift card. You want the gift card to pop out of the top a bit, so it is easy to remove.

Once completed, the jotters could be used for numerous purposes. And the recipient gets to enjoy a handmade gift without feeling obligated to hang it on the wall!

  1. These are so sweet. That santa is adorable. I think a little notebook would be a nice way to keep some of the cards I’ve received around a little longer as well.

  2. Love this! I’ll be giving a few gifts of SD cards loaded with old family photos and this would be a fabulous way to deliver them. Thanks for the great tutorial!!

  3. Jessica says:

    What a great way to reuse old cards.

  4. Laura Trevey says:

    LOVE the boxwood twig!!

  5. mari says:

    This is a great idea that I’d love to try this weekend! I have a question: what kind of needle do you use for sewing paper and cards? And what stitch setting to you recommend?

  6. Renae says:

    Love it! Ashley Ann comes up with the best projects!

  7. Aww, so fun! I love the idea. Not sure I could make them as cute as the pics… but I’m sure I could try. :)

  8. This is a darling idea -and I love the photos! Beautifully done! And BTW, I would love to receive such a lovely gift and I bet your friends will too!

  9. Sandy L says:

    Thank you for this fabulous tutorial! I feel like this, too – and this is a great way to share your creativity! Merry Christmas!

  10. lesley says:

    so clever as always. love everything she does!

  11. AshleyAnn says:

    Mari – I used a standard needle for medium weight fabric because it was already on my machine. A needle for heavy fabric might work better. I used a straight, medium length stitch.

  12. I love this idea!! A dear friend and I have been separated by the Atlantic, and we’ve been sending a journal back and forth to catalog our letters, pictures, and drawings. These adorable cards are a great way to spread that idea to the rest of my friends and family :) so stinkin cute! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Tobi Ditmore says:

    About how many sheets of paper do you put in each one?

  14. mari says:

    Thanks, Ashleyann! I might just give this project a try…

  15. Rose says:

    What an awesome idea! I have a number of friends who enjoy journaling and would really enjoy this project. will pass it on!

  16. linda Blackmore says:

    What a marvelous idea!! I have cards my mother kept since the 30’s, and I’ve wanted to do something with them for several years, and couldn’t come up with just the right idea. This is perfect. I can combine altered art and functionality!! If the senders of the cards are still around, I’d like to use one of their’s. Thanks for a great upcycling idea!!

  17. storybeader says:

    such a cute idea! And I’ve had my sewing machine out for a month now, wanting to see if I really have it threaded correctly. Great way to find out! {:-Deb

  18. Jenn Fox says:

    Love these! They are great! I am working on doing a series of Christmas cards with screenprinting, and I love how you incorporated sewing + paper

  19. Lucy Burger says:

    This would be a cute gift for my grown kids as a little Christmas photo album . I could paste in copies of old Christmas photos when they were little and use the little pocket for journaling. They could bring it out as a decoration each Christmas. This was a wonderful idea .Thank you for the inspiration.

  20. sarah says:

    This has given me a great ideda to use some of my daughters Christmas cards from her grannys to make little photo memory books for her! Thank you for the inspiration. X

  21. cava says:

    Sooooo cute!!! Me encantooo


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