Holiday Card Puzzles

DIY holiday fun, piece by piece

I love the holiday season because we hear from old friends who we may not see regularly.  While I certainly enjoy getting holiday cards, they are not without problems.  Many are too beautiful to just throw away at the end of the season. Well, Matt and I agree that old holiday cards should be recycled!

And, here’s a unique idea, try making a Nine Square Puzzle Box.  Not only will you be putting your old cards to a good use, you’ll have a great coffee table accessory and a way to keep the kids entertained.  Interested?  Here’s what you’ll need.


  • Make a puzzle box using pretty holiday cards.Nine 1 ¾ inch wooden blocks (available at your local craft store)
  • One square paper mache box measuring 6 inches
  • Six greeting cards with a graphic which measures approximately 4 ½ inches
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Green acrylic paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Decoupage glue
  • Scissors


  1. To begin, paint the inside of the box red.  Don’t forget the lid.  Set aside and let dry.   Add two or three coats for good coverage.
  2. Paint the blocks.  If you hold a block on the top and bottom, you can paint four sides at a time.  By the time you finish with the last block, the first should be dry enough to paint the two unpainted sides.  Don’t second coat because the blocks will be covered with card pieces.
  3. Paint the outside of the box.  Ours was a deep green color which contrasted with the red.  Do as many coats as necessary.
  4. On to the cards.  Cut a 4 1/2” square image from six different cards.  We used a paper cutter, but you can also use a ruler and scissors.
  5. Pencil a grid on the back of the card to make 9 even 1 ½” squares.  Cut along the lines and stack the pieces.  It doesn’t matter what order they are in.
  6. Repeat this process for the other five cards.  Be sure to stack all the pieces from one card before moving to the next card.  When you finish you should have six stacks of card pieces lined up in front of you.
  7. When the blocks are dry, apply the card pieces. Apply the decoupage glue to the back of a card piece.   Press the piece to one face of a wooden block. Continue applying a card segment from each stack until all six faces of the block are covered.
  8. Repeat this process for all blocks.  The trick is to be sure each block has one piece from each of the six cards.
  9. Now, apply three coats of decoupage glue to the box and the blocks.  We decorated the top of our box with a snowman card, but you might paint a design instead.

At last, set the puzzle on the coffee table and watch what happens.  Your family won’t be able to resist, nor will your friends.  And think how excited they’ll be to see their greeting card put to such a good use!

About The Author

Matt and Shari
Look out houses, homes, apartments and condos, people everywhere want to “Matt & Shari” their spaces like never before! An inspirational duo, Matt and Shari created "Room by Room", the very first show to air on HGTV. They're still going strong today with their TV series “Around the House with Matt & Shari” , which airs on Public Television and CreateTV. Find home decorating videos , monthly feature stories, special quick tips for holiday home decor and more at .

4 Responses to Holiday Card Puzzles

  1. kakenta says:

    Love it! What a fantastic idea! Thank You for sharing this. This is also a great idea for gift giving.

  2. coolbeans says:

    This looks like something that could still be made in time for present giving.

  3. grandkids9 says:

    nice idea but alot of work at this time.

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