We all have that one thing we’ve dumped far too much money into. My wallet weakness is music. From the moment I had an allowance, I took every chance I had to duck into the Times Square Virgin Megastore or my local FYE to buy a new CD. By high school, I had an entire wall filled with three gigantic CD racks and one just for my already outdated cassettes. I have since amassed a great deal of vinyl to boot. Thanks to the worlds of iTunes, Spotify, and Mp3 players, much of my collection is now virtually useless. Furthermore, old vinyl, burned CDs, and overplayed cassettes often stopped reaching decent sound quality, rendering them entirely useless.
Instead of letting them go to waste, or suffer their usual fate (the landfill), over time I’ve concocted some creative ideas to repurpose them, and thanks to DIY sites and Pinterest, I’ve located many more neat ways to put these obsolete media formats to good use.
Your Favorite Old Cassettes Repurposed into Your Favorite New Chair
While living in an apartment for only a short period of time after college, I picked up two 50 cent scratched records at a flea market and turned them into small end tables by attaching legs made from stacked mason jars. All were things I knew I could repurpose, and it prevented me from buying new furniture, knowing I’d only be there for a few months.
CDs, records, and tapes all make great DIY furnishings and accents. By adding a small metal three-legged base, a record really does make the perfect end table. Vinyl is relatively easy to cut or reshape. If melted in the oven, records make convenient bases for cake and dessert stands, or most simply a base for a hot dish at the dinner table. Cassettes, when woven together by their tape, can be made into small tables or even chairs. Shaped into a square or cylinder, many Pinterest lovers have proudly posted their cassette lamps, the results of which are quite stunning.
Creating Clock Faces, Ornaments, Placemats, Disco Balls and More!
CDs and records require little effort to be made into clock faces or can simply be used to line a wall, fill the top of a coffee table, or even a floor. Most obviously, CDs can be used as coasters to keep coffee tables free of coffee stains, as they do in my apartment, and they can also be shattered and pieced together on surfaces to mosaic things like picture frames, mirrors, and jewelry boxes.
Shattering CDs leaves dozens of small mosaic pieces that can be glued to any surface, including furniture, or onto spheres to recreate other music relics such as the ever-popular disco ball. Broken CD pieces have unlimited possibilities for homemade holiday decorations such as icicles or ornaments. Vinyl, without any reconstruction (or deconstruction!) can be used as placemats. Cut vinyl makes an excellent outlet cover. If melted and molded, vinyl can be made into bookends, wine racks, and bowls.
The tape from inside cassettes can also be woven into placemats or repurposed as black ribbon for gifts. CDs, when hung in large windows, not only add unique reflected light to a room, but also enable birds to see an obstruction in their flight path. For this reason, hanging CDs in apartment, home, or office windows can prevent hundreds of avian deaths, particularly in big cities like New York.
Quirky Stationery Supplies
My absolute favorite work folder is made from woven cassette tape. Vinyl can be used to make notebook covers or folders, too. The album artwork from CDs and records makes for great collaging material for folder or binder covers, and an excellent kids crafting idea.
What to do With Shattered CDs and Melted Vinyl
As an avid fan of jewelry made from recycled products, this is possibly my favorite way to keep beloved bands and albums by my side in the digital age. I’ve woven together the tape from cassettes into rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Post-melting or cutting, vinyl or cassettes can be made into earrings, charms or bangles. This is also another opportunity to repurpose shattered CDs to mosaic larger accessories like bangles and pendants.
The possibilities are endless, and thanks to idea-driven sites like Pinterest, creative visions for accessorizing are endless as well. Not only are these great examples of innovative ways to repurpose old media, but they also prevent unnecessary waste headed to the landfill. Most recycling pickups cannot accommodate records, CDs and tapes, and because tangible forms of media are largely plastic-based, we know they are non-biodegradable, so there are currently hundreds of thousands of records sitting in landfills that will be there indefinitely!
CDs that are not melted meet the same fate. An additional hazard for cassettes is the actual tape, which is often one of the depicted ocean bird stranglers in images about plastic pollution (much like soda can rings). So, let’s put an end to this unnecessary hazardous waste and turn these ‘ancient’ forms of media into new and useful artifacts!
Have you found a way to repurpose an old media format? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!
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