Making the switch to digitized music and movies can leave you with piles of old CDs, DVDs, and cases that you just aren’t sure what to do with. From elegant wall art to fashion-forward jewelry, here are 10 eclectic and eco-friendly uses for all your old CDs and DVDs.
1. Mosaic Mirror
Your old CDs and DVDs can be cut up and used to add some sparkle to almost anything. After you’ve cut your discs into small pieces, use them to create a mosaic pattern on drab-looking picture frames, flower pots, or mirrors. Try different shapes to add complexity to your design.
Not sure how to get started? Check out this handy mosaic mirror tutorial from Cut Out + Keep contributor Days. The crafty blogger simply cut her discs into square-shaped pieces and attached them in a solid pattern to turn a discount-store mirror into a fun and functional decor piece. To tone down the glitz a bit, try this partial mosaic design from Cut Out + Keep contributor Ada B.
2. Jazzed-up Jewelry
Craving a bit of bling but don’t have the cash for diamonds? Ditch the faux gems, and create flashy and fab jewelry from your old CDs and DVDs instead. Making jewelry from trash may sound like a challenge, but it’s way easier than you’d think. This simple tutorial from Sew and So blogger and Crafting a Greener World contributor Becky Haas will have you looking like a million bucks in no time.
3. DVD Case Purse
If you’re looking for a conversation-starting clutch for your next night on the town, skip the thrift store dollar bin and make your own from an old DVD case. MAKE magazine contributor Samantha Baldwin used the case from one of her favorite movies to create a book clutch inspired by the bag Natalie Portman rocked at the premier of Black Swan.
While Portman’s clutch retailed for more than $1,200, yours will be virtually free! All you’ll need is an old DVD case, a round mirror, some fabric, and Baldwin’s DIY book clutch tutorial to look like a star this Friday night.
4. Funky Homemade Disco Ball
No, we’re not bringing disco back. But if your children or teens are looking for some fun decor to spice up their rooms, this mini disco ball made from old CDs is just what the doctor ordered.
WikiHow also offers a different set of disco ball instructions and step-by-step photos.
The guide suggests using a store-bought foam ball as a base for this glitzy accessory. Foam is hard to recycle and can languish for decades or centuries in a landfill. Instead, you might reuse an old tennis ball, baseball, or other sports ball to avoid unnecessary waste.
5. Hanging Photo Frame
It’s a Priceless Life blogger Shantel Price wanted to make a cute photo gift for her newly-born granddaughter, Ava, but didn’t have any frames that struck her fancy. Her solution? Create an adorable hanging picture frame using an old CD.
Price adorned her used CD with pastel-colored buttons, sparkly charms, and scrapbooking paper from her “craft stash” and placed a photo of little Ava in the middle.
This craft makes a great decoration for nurseries, but don’t be afraid to stretch those creative legs a bit. Make frames for the kids’ sports photos to spice up the game room or use a photo of you and your partner for a Valentine’s Day gift your sweetie will love.
6. Jewel Case Wall Art
Whether you’ve ditched CDs altogether or simply packed them into storage books, the leftover jewel cases can be a disposal nightmare. Most recycling centers don’t accept these cases for recycling, meaning they often end up in the trash (or piled on top of your entertainment center).
Combat the clutter by using some of your old jewel cases to create surprisingly chic wall art for your kitchen.
Featured in Country Living magazine, this basic CD case craft tutorial from Amit Gupta and Kelly Jensen — authors of Photojojo!: Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas — will help you convert approximately 20 jewel cases into a mosaic-like mural that’s sure to turn heads.
7. Company-Worthy Candle Holder
Are those old brass candle holders a bit too stuffy for your next dinner party? Try creating fun and youthful alternatives from old CDs and DVDs with guidance from ACraftyMix. With a little decorative flair, CD cases can easily be remade into custom candle cases! Check out this romantic candle holder tutorial to see how to do it.
8. DVD Case Fly Box
If you or someone you know loves to fish, why not surprise him or her with a brand-new fly box made from an old DVD case? Rustic Crafts blogger Renee was stuck for a reuse idea for her old DVD cases until she spotted some flies her husband had placed in her craft room. Then, the light bulb came on.
As outlined in her fly box tutorial, Renee used some old pieces of foam and a slab of birch from her backyard to create a handy fly box that’s any sports-lover’s dream. Try expanding on this idea to make jewelry cases, keepsake boxes, or pen cases.
9. CD Clock
Making clocks from old CDs has become so popular that retailers even sell kits to help you do this craft at home. If you’re feeling extra-ambitious, try this kit-free clock idea from Mixed Media Artist blogger Cyndi Lavin — complete with a pendulum and painted face.
Unless you’re a seasoned clock maker, you’ll need to pick up a set of pre-made clockworks with a swinging pendulum to get started. Then, simply paint your disc using Lavin’s tutorial, insert the clockworks, and you’ll be left with a clever timepiece for your bedroom or family room.
10. Recycled Desk Caddy
If you’re always on the hunt for a pen, highlighter, or piece of tape in the office, try creating a convenient desk caddy from your old CD cases. A pen-holder made from upcycled jewel cases may not sound like the most exciting craft. But with Upcycled Design Lab’s spinning desk organizer project on RecyclArt, you can turn a few jewel cases into a personalized pen-holder. Check out Upcycled Design Lab’s video tutorial.
Those are just a few ideas for reusing the unrecyclable CDs, DVDs, and cases around the house.
Editor’s note: Originally published on January 12, 2012, this article was updated in December 2018.