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Fun with CDs

2005-12-20

Category: crafts

Do you get too many junk CDs? You know the ones; they are there to get you to join something or other. Usually, these are from an internet service provider. If you?re like many people, you probably toss these unwelcome advances into the garbage (or recycling in some communities). Well, there?s something else you can do with them.

You may have noticed that at least one side of the CD is very shiny and creates a prismatic effect (that?s the rainbow look). Wouldn?t it be cool if you made winter decorations out of them? It?s not that hard and I?m going to tell you how.

Before I get into the construction details, I have to go over this stuff. First, you?ll be using tools. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Second, always follow the tool manufacturer?s recommendations for the tool. If you are not familiar with the way a tool is used, please take a course in tool use. If you are a child or other person who requires adult supervision, please get adult supervision before trying any of the techniques described here. If you?re just stupid or generally incompetent, please sue your parents for smoking too much crack or for being too closely related. This includes you, W.

Here?s the deal. CDs can be cut with simple tools such as tin snips, saws, or rotary tools such as the Dremel Tool. (In the grand scheme of things, there is fire, the wheel, and the Dremel Tool.) Why would you want to cut them? To make pleasant shapes, you silly bumpkin.

Let?s start with something simple. Place the CD on a flat surface, such as a desk or table. Make sure the label side is facing up. On most CDs, the label side has some crap printed on it. We hate crap, so we?ll do the worst part of our work on that side. On the label side, draw a snow flake shape that takes up the entire face of the CD. I prefer to use colored indelible markers because they cover up the label (crap) and leave a pleasant color behind.

Now that you have a pattern, use your cutting tool to cut out as much of the pattern as you can. I prefer to start with the tin snips and then finish the details with the Dremel Tool (all praise the Dremel Tool). When you are finished, use a rasp or sand paper to remove any sharp edges or points. Now you can hang the snow flake CD either from the center hole or from a hole you drill with your Dremel Tool (Dremel Tool be praised).

You can also glue your cut CDs together to make larger, more complex shapes. Here?s were you have to be careful. You see, CDs are made of a plastic called polycarbonate. This plastic doesn?t place nice with other chemical, such as acetone (fingernail polish remover) or cyanoacrylate (SuperGlue, Crazy Glue, etc.). This means that you must choose your glue carefully. I recommend the hot-melt glue gun. Some epoxies will get along with the polycarbonate, but some may not. You?ll just have to experiment with glue.

So, that?s it. Have fun hacking away at those CDs and finding new decorative uses for them. A friend of mine once cut large numbers of CDs into six wedges each and then sewed them, shiny side out, to a dress. The result was iridescent scales. See if you can do something equally wonderful (with your Dremel Tool).


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