Don’t Throw Out Your Greeting Cards Without Trying This Idea First

published Feb 3, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
a living room with an eclectic gallery wall

There are two main issues with selecting affordable art for a home. For starters, the sheer number of possibilities can be overwhelming, as online retailers stock countless options in a never-ending gallery on your screen. And secondly, when you’ve actually pinpointed a picture you love, chances are it’s going to cost you. Falling in love with art that’s far from budget-friendly is just how these things tend to go. 

I grew up in a household full of art. My mom once taught my school-age art classes, and whenever we were on family vacations, she would often score a local artist’s work for future display in our private spaces. This means that blank walls or shelves without frames feel foreign to me, but I had quite a few of them in my own place earlier this year. I set a modest budget for artwork for the walls, and then opted to do what I’ve been confidently doing since college: framing magazine cutouts for the shelves to go alongside snaps of loved ones. 

And then, one day, I was at Target. I passed by a greeting card of cascading lemons and had an idea: I’d frame it to go beside my at-home bar. As much as I loved the thought of having real citrus on hand for happy hours, I laughed at the thought of framing ones that would never spoil. So I bought the card for less than $5 and placed it in an equally cost-effective frame, which you can see here.

Credit: Kelly Dawson

I liked the look of it so much that I wondered why I hadn’t searched through greeting card aisles for art before. Beloved companies like Rifle Paper Co. make beautiful illustrations in small formats, and Minted — where some of my previously mentioned wall-art budget went — has lots of stylish designs to choose from, stocked at Target. You can also find really inexpensive, cute cards at Trader Joe’s and T.J. Maxx. While I framed a greeting card for a shelf, I could also see one working inside a robust gallery wall in a living room or as a standalone tongue-in-cheek moment in a powder room. It could be fun to frame words of encouragement beside an at-home office space as well or to add some color to an otherwise sparse kitchen countertop.

The thing I love most about using greeting cards as framable artwork is that the possibilities are just as endless as traditional prints, but feel far less intimidating. Not to mention, going this route is far cheaper, too. You probably already have special cards you’ve held onto that could make great pieces for anywhere in your home; all it might take is a little bit of cutting and matting, if you’re not loving the text that might already be on the front of them. 

As soon as you grow tired of a new framed card you bought specifically for this purpose, you can send it in the mail to someone you love and find another for that corner of your home. In any case, framing old or new greeting cards feels like a fresh take on magazine cutouts and happens to be an easy way to make a home feel personal, sustainable, and totally on trend.