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12 Unique Ways to Give Gift Cards

Inside: Step by step instructions to help you give gift cards like a BOSS. Knock their socks off with these 12 creative ways to give gift cards. Bonus: these ideas work for cash gifts too!

When my grandma handed over her annual birthday card, I knew what was inside. Here’s how it went:

  • Pretend to read the card
  • Make a mushy face to show I was emotionally touched
  • Feign excitement at the gift card that fell out of the card

Giving cash this way was not fun for my grandma. And it wasn't fun for me.

It was ripping-a-band-aid-off painful.

So many people in my family ask for gift cards for gifts and I feel oh so lame handing them a flat, boring, obviously-a-gift-card envelope to open. There's a better way to have a gift giving experience and still get them that gift card they're itching for.

Creating a fantastic fun gift giving experience while giving them that gift card they want is 100% doable. You’ll find the solution you need in these 12 creative ways to give gift cards. And they can even be used as creative ways to give cash gifts!

12 Unique Ways to give gift cards - get creative giving gift cards and money. DIY ways to give money gifts ... so CUTE and EASY! #SmartFunDIY #ChristmasGift #GiftCards #GiftGuide #TeenGifts #Papercrafts #GiftGiving #WaystoWrap #GiftWrap #Christmas2018 #Christmas2017

The surprise inside

Last year my husband went to a White Elephant gift exchange at work. “White Elephant” really means “stuff no one wants” so when he saw a broom-shaped gift, his low expectations were met. Yes, someone literally wrapped a BROOM!

Each person took their turn, chuckling as they avoided choosing the broom from the white elephant gift pile.

The person who drew the last number got stuck with the broom. He unwrapped it as everyone started engaging in side conversations. They all knew it was a broom.

A generous pile of gift cards fluttered out of the gift wrap.

Everyone in the room let out a jealous sigh of defeat as he counted up the gift cards … $100!

His co-workers have talked about this gift all year long. It’s not the gift cards that were the magic … it was the unexpected gift of the gift cards with the broom that was the main entertainment.

Make giving gifts fun for everyone

The excitement of giving an unexpected gift with a “surprise inside” entertains you, the person receiving the gift, and everyone watching.

Use these 12 creative ideas for giving gift cards to make this year’s gift card experience exciting for everyone!

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12 Creative Ways To Give Gift Cards

Glassine Bag made into gift card holder #SmartFunDIy #Giftcards #GiftWrap #CardMaking #paperCrafts

1. Decorate A Cute Bag 

Skip the basic store-bought gift card holders and make one.

  • Personalize it with their name using stickers or stamps
  • Make a BUNCH! These are easy to make assembly-line style
  • Make them in different colors for each person on your list
  • Give cash or gift cards in these cute little bags

Giving a gift card to teacher?

The kids can help you make this! Here’s how:

  • Stamp small shapes onto the bag with ink
  • Stamp large shapes onto white cardstock. Cut out with scissors.
  • Color in any stamped shapes if you like.
  • Adhere the stamped shapes to the bag with adhesive foam dots.
  • Add a ribbon to the top of the bag with a sticky glue dot.

This bag is perfect for a sweet little gift for a teacher or a hostess – and your kids can say that they made it!

Download the FREE instructions for this project: [thrive_2step id='28101′]CLICK HERE[/thrive_2step]

2. Ornament Gift Card Holder

It looks like a shadow box Christmas ornament … but it’s really a gift card holder on the BACK!

  • Add a gift tag so everyone knows who it’s for. You can snag some free printable gift tags here.
  • Slip a gift card or cash in the back and hang on the tree.

DOWNLOAD the instructions to make this for FREE!

Sign up on my email list and get this free printable guide with 5 Christmas gift ideas in your first email from me. [thrive_2step id='28101′]CLICK HERE[/thrive_2step]:

[thrive_2step id='28101′] [/thrive_2step]

DON'T want to give the same boring gift cards this year? Give Adventure Gifts instead… click here to see how.

3. Turn Your Old Gift Cards Into A Gift

DIY Gift Card Notebook

Make a book! Bind gift cards together using a binding machine to make a miniature book.

Create a unique mini book using different types of paper:

  • Scrapbook paper to make a mini scrapbook
  • Notebook or graph paper for a mini notebook
  • Plain printer paper for a mini sketchbook or doodling pad

You can get really fancy and bind a BUNCH of gift cards together to give as a gift! Get the instructions [thrive_2step id='28101′]HERE[/thrive_2step].

Make crafts from old gift cards

Love the patterns on gift cards? Make them into planner charms, jewelry, or keychains using jewelry resin, like this DIY Starbucks Card Planner Charm

Where to find cute gift card designs

Hands-down, Starbucks and Target have the best gift card designs.


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A post shared by Helen Dardik (@helen_dardik) on

I recently discovered that one of my favorite artists, Helen Dardik, has her art on Target gift cards right now. I’m on a mission to get a few of her pretty gift cards to make into charms!

You can’t just swipe a stack of gift cards from a shelf. If you take the gift cards, the store’s inventory system doesn’t know it needs to order more cards. They’ll run out of gift cards and won’t get new ones in.

A manager at my local Target showed me the light. Here’s how to take gift cards for crafts in a legit way:

  • Select all the cards you want
  • Before your purchase, load each with one dollar
  • Use them on your purchase
  • Now that they don’t have any money on them, they’re yours to use for crafts!

Yes, my Target ran out of cute gift cards one time because I took them all for crafts. Ooops.

Now we all know better *wink*.

4. Make A Folder To Hold The Gift Card

Create a handmade business card holder. FiIl it with gift cards as a gift. When the gift cards are all used, they can use it to hold business cards later. Here's how to make a gift card folder.

DOWNLOAD these instructions for FREE! Sign up on my email list and get this free printable guide with 5 Christmas gift ideas in your first email from me. [thrive_2step id='28101′]CLICK HERE[/thrive_2step]

[thrive_2step id='28101′] [/thrive_2step]

5. Give “Faux” Chocolates

Fill a chocolate box with cash, coins, and gift cards – they'll be happy with the cash even if you ate all the chocolates. Plus money touching chocolate? Ew.

6. Hide The Gift Card In A Jar Of Candy

Fool a candy lover by filling a mason jar with their favorite candy. They won’t know there’s a surprise inside.

They think they're getting candy, which is awesome, but they're getting a gift card WRAPPED in candy!

For this project you’ll need:

  • A mason jar with lid like this (you can also use an empty applesauce jar, just be sure to wash and dry it well before adding the candy)
  • Candy – get candies in themed colors here:
  • A bag or paper envelope to put the gift card or money in
  • Ribbon or cute embellishments to put on the lid

Here's how to wrap a gift card in candy.

7. Give A Coffee Gift Card In Style

Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, Peet's … coffee gift cards are totally great to give but totally expected and basic.

Give a coffee gift card in a coffee cup gift card holder. Sure, they still know it’s a gift card but it’s so cute!

8. Use A Coffee Sleeve

Speaking of coffee, why not use a coffee sleeve to wrap a gift card? You could even decorate the sleeve to make it a gift in itself by wrapping it in fabric or felt, covering it in rhinestones, or even just painting a pretty pattern on it.

9. Make A Gift Card Holder With A Library Card Envelope

If you’ve been a papercrafter for more than 5 years, I know you have a big ole stash of library envelopes. We HAD to have them when they were the trend in 2011??

Library card envelopes are perfect for making gift card holders. This gift card holder is coffee themed but you can customize your envelope to whatever theme you want.

Here's how to make it:

BONUS: Here's another card you can make using the same techniques!

Sign up on my email list and get this free printable guide with 5 Christmas gift ideas in your first email from me. [thrive_2step id='28101′]SIGN UP HERE[/thrive_2step]

[thrive_2step id='28101′] [/thrive_2step]

10. Put It In A Snowglobe

These gift cards in snowglobes are amazing and you can use your old pasta jars or even mason jars to make these – how cool is this?

Looking for SECRET SANTA gift ideas? Check out this post with 6+ DIY Secret Santa gift ideas under $20 

11. Make a CARD-igan

Keep your gift card warm with this fun “cozy” gift card holder. You can hold business cards in it after you use the gift card!

12. Give It In A Wallet

Make a beautiful wallet (or buy one from a craft fair!) and add a gift card inside one of the pocket as a surprise bonus. A $20 bill in the billfold would be nice too.

What to do next:

Now, you just have to go out and buy a bunch of gift cards!!! Christmas, done, no white elephants needed.

Get my tips for buying gift cards like a boss for cheap or even FREE here: 12 budget-friendly gift card and cash gift hacks

Here are some more awesome blog posts you might like about giving gift cards creatively:

Pin this:

12 Unique Ways to give gift cards - get creative giving gift cards and money. DIY ways to give money gifts ... so CUTE and EASY! #SmartFunDIY #ChristmasGift #GiftCards #GiftGuide #TeenGifts #Papercrafts #GiftGiving #WaystoWrap #GiftWrap #Christmas2018 #Christmas2017

12 Unique Ways to give gift cards - get creative giving gift cards and money. DIY ways to give money gifts ... so CUTE and EASY! #SmartFunDIY #ChristmasGift #GiftCards #GiftGuide #TeenGifts #Papercrafts #GiftGiving #WaystoWrap #GiftWrap #Christmas2018 #Christmas2017

About the Author

Author Profile

Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. Your ideas are so clever and really helped me out with all the gift cards and money gifts my family want this year. I have over 30 people to buy for and gift cards are so much easier for me but I hate the little package it always creates. My one nephew is saving for a new TV and my husband came up with putting his money gift in a blank DVD case. Thanks for all the great ideas and have a very Merry Christmas.

    1. That is awesome! These are ideas from some other bloggers too so please sure to click their links. I am sure they would love to know if you tried their ideas too. That is so cool that you made those DVD cases!!

  2. Hi, every time I click on snow globes it takes me to a tablecloth site. I was wondering if the card will hold up under the water or did you wrap it in something? Thanks for your reply, Peggy cox

    1. The card should be a plastic one … so it will be fine in the water. I’ll have to check out that link … it’s pretty old so it might have been redirected is what it sounds like.

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