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How To Upcycle Packaging Into A Gingerbread Garland

The number of cardboard boxes that arrive at our house in the build-up to Christmas is shameful! I try to ease my guilt over this mountain of cardboard by repurposing some of it into cardboard Christmas decorations like this gingerbread garland.

Last year I made fun DIY Christmas decorations of penguins and snowmen from cardboard packaging. I’ve even made 3D postage stamp ornaments with packaging and giant cardboard ornaments.

This year I decided to up the ante with the repurposed Christmas gingerbread garland by adding lights.

One of my favourite parts of Christmas decorations is all the lights! They make the home seem warm and cosy on those dark, cold winter nights.

I love using the copper string lights as they give a warm glow and are versatile. I’ve used them in the past to make a giant led deer Christmas decoration and create some Christmas bottle lights.

Repurpose Your Christmas Packaging Into A Gingerbread Garland

This is a really simple green Christmas craft. The only actual cost is for the lights. The gingerbread garland has a lovely rustic Scandinavian Christmas feel.

Upcycled Cardboard gingerbread house

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What you need to make an upcycled gingerbread garland

  • Scrap kraft cardboard – I used the packaging from some Amazon deliveries.
Cardboard packaging to turn into Christmas decorations.
gingerbread house template

How to make an upcycled gingerbread garland

1.. The first thing to do is draw freehand or print out the gingerbread house template. Then cut out each gingerbread house design. With a craft knife, cut out any windows you would like the lights to shine through.

Cutting out gingerbread house templates

2. Next, place the gingerbread house template onto the cardboard packaging you will upcycle. Draw around the template with a black sharpie, remembering to mark the windows to be cut. Then cut out the gingerbread garland shapes.

I used a craft knife and cutting board for this. You can cut the cardboard with scissors, but it gets tricky with the windows.

transferring the gingerbread houses
cardboard cutouts gingerbread house

3. Next, paint the trimmings on the houses in white paint. Use the original template as a guide. Try using acrylic paint pens on cardboard if you want neater lines.

Painted cardboard gingerbread houses

Adding the lights to the gingerbread garland

Gingerbread house garland

4. Then, glue the copper string lights to the back of each cardboard gingerbread house using a hot glue gun. Make sure you glue the lights in a position, so they shine through the cut windows.

Leave a gap on the copper string lights of about 10cm between each gingerbread house.

Glueing copper lights to gingerbread house windows.

5. Finally, hang your gingerbread garland by pegging each house to a line of Christmas twine.

I love the simplicity of this garland. I think it looks great in my dining room against the framed wallpaper. If you want a more sophisticated look, you could make these gingerbread houses with upcycled leather scraps.

Looking at it, though, does make me feel a little peckish. I do love a bit of gingerbread with my coffee this time of year, especially if it is the spiced Scandinavian Christmas gingerbread. I might make a gingerbread garland from real gingerbread so that I can eat it.

A gingerbread advent calendar would be fun, with a numbered gingerbread house to eat each day!

Repurposed gingerbread house
gingerbread house garland
Upcycled Cardboard Gingerbread garland

If you like this post, you may want to check out these other upcycled Kraft Christmas posts.
Fun DIY Christmas Decorations Penguins
Homemade Advent Calendar From Kraft Paper
How To Make Repurposed Map Decorations

cardboard gingerbread houses

If you are looking for more thrifty craft ideas, check out

Deborah Wilson-Eppling

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

So very clever! And good instructions!! Now we're all going to be saving those delivery boxes...a 2nd garage perhaps? LOL BUT...what I really want to know...WHAT is that wallpaper and WHERE did you get it?

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Thank you so much. The wallpaper is quite a few years old now, can't remember where I bought it but I think it was simply called frames.

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Wednesday 28th of October 2020

[…] Transform cardboard boxes into a gingerbread garland with Pillar Box Blue’s free tutorial. […]

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[…] DIY Gingerbread House Garland  […]


Saturday 12th of January 2019

This is such a clever idea! We always have so many boxes around, especially during the holiday season. I love this idea to give them a fun new life as a decoration! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday—I'll be including this in my Party Features next week.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 12th of January 2019

Thank you so much. I love to think of creative ways to use up packaging.


Friday 30th of November 2018

Featured your lovely, diy house garland this week at the party. Pinned also. Best wishes for the Christmas season. Linda @Crafts a la mode Thursday Favorite Things Party.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 1st of December 2018

Thank you so much I look forward to seeing it.