5 Reuses for CD-Rs
- Saturday, 12 September 2009
They sit stacked in drawers and cupboards, collecting dust on their shiny polycarbonate surfaces. Most homes and offices have stacks of used (and unused) CD-Rs hanging around, a reminder of a time before iPods, Mp3 player, and USB memory drives. Eventually, most will be tossed in the trash or perhaps recycled, but that doesn't have to be a CD-R's fate.
Finding ways to upcycle everyday items is vital to progressing in an environmentally friendly manner. Upcycling is reusing an object in a new way without degrading the material it is made from; recycling processes, in contrast, generally degrade the quality of a material.
So dust off those CD-Rs and put them to good use in one of these five ways:
Cutting Edge Coaster
They may be considered a little large for a coaster, but CD-Rs are actually a great size, as they can also be used to hold a small plate or a teacup and saucer. Glue a piece of felt to the back of the disc to protect your tables from scratching. These coasters are particularly nice in a media room, an office space where technology takes center stage, or a kid's room. If you're not into the high-tech look, decoupage a photo, pictures from a magazine or any other paper item to the front side of the disc.
CD-Rs are shiny and consistent in size, which makes them perfect for a large-scale piece of DIY art in your home or office. The exact color often varies from brand to brand, but if you can get enough of a single color or enough of each of several colors, you can create some fabulous art. If you don't have enough CD-Rs of your own, ask friends, family and even coworkers to donate their old discs for your project.
Lay the discs out on the floor to develop a pattern before affixing them to your walls. Be sure to use a non-toxic, acid-free double-sided tape or a non-toxic adhesive to fasten them to the wall. If you want to protect your walls, glue the discs to a thin, painted board, which you can then hang on the wall.
Instant Paint Palette
I've used just about anything as a paint palette over the years—a cracked plate, pill boxes and bottles, fishing tackle trays, and yes, old CD-Rs. One or two discs offer plenty of paint-mixing space for most kids and amateur artists, but it's always easy to grab another if you've got a lot of colors on the go. As an added bonus, the discs are lightweight and they wash clean quite easily.
Kid-Friendly Mirrored Mosaics
Kids zero in on shiny objects like a magpie, so why not indulge their fascination? CD-Rs offer up a safe way for children to create eco-friendly crafts that incorporate mirrored "tiles." Pieces of discs are much safer than working with glass, but edges can still be sharp, so it's important to caution children about taking care to prevent cuts.
While the kids are napping or are otherwise occupied, cut the CD-Rs into smaller pieces using snips, discarding any pieces with particularly sharp edges. During craft time, bring out the bin of CD-R pieces and let your child's imagination take over. Just about any craft project will be a hit with a little bling.
Simple Sun Catcher
Shiny CD-Rs are perfect for catching and redirecting light. To make a sun catcher, glue two CD-Rs together, with the shiny sides facing out. Cut a length of clear nylon fishing wire that is double the desired hanging length plus 6 inches. Tread the strand through the discs' center hole, bringing the two ends of the nylon together. String beads onto the cord to add some weight and keep the string taut when you hang it; a few will do the trick, or you can make a fully beaded string. Tie the two ends of the nylon cord together.
Hang your sun catcher where it can "catch" natural light, but avoid areas where it will get full sun all day long. CD-R sun catchers are particularly fun in children's bedrooms and playrooms, sunrooms and craft spaces. Hang a few, each in a different color to bring a rainbow of light into your space.
More Ways To Reuse Everyday Items: