Things to Make with Empty CD Cases

Each year, millions of CD cases, or jewel cases, are dumped in our nation's landfills. Unlike other types of plastic, jewel cases are too difficult, expensive and dangerous to recycle. They are not accepted at most municipal recycling centers because they are made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which contains too many additives and lacks a consistent composition to be easily recycled. Rather than tossing your old jewel cases, make use of them in new ways.

Used CD cases have many practical and creative uses.


Gently detach the top piece of the jewel case from the bottom piece. From the base piece, pop out the black panel that formerly housed the CD. Carefully replace the top cover, but put it on backwards. Now the cover will stand up like a frame. Cut a piece of card stock into a 4.75-inch by 5-inch rectangle. Decorate the card stock and glue on a mini calendar. Alternatively, upload a photograph to a website that can create a calendar page for you to print out and place in the frame.

Collector's Card Display Frame

Children can make a display frame for a favorite Pokemon or sport card. Cut a piece of construction or other paper to 4.75 inches by 5 inches. Place the card in the middle of the rectangle, and use a pencil to carefully trace around the card. Cut out the shape you traced, but cut it approximately a quarter inch smaller than your traced lines. Cut two strips of paper that are one inch by five inches. Center the card over the hole you cut, and then tape the strips of paper over the back of the card to hold the card in place. Slide the finished product in the the front of the CD case and close the case. Now, glue a soda-can tab on the back of your frame and hang it on the wall. Or, attach magnetic strips to the back of the case and display the framed card on the refrigerator.

Mini Dry-Erase Board

Dry-erase boards are handy to keep near the phone or other locations around the house. They're so easy to make, you can put one in every room. Slide a white piece of 4.75-inch by 5-inch paper into the top of a CD case. Close the case and you have a portable dry-erase board. If desired, attach magnetic strips to the back of the board and mount it to a refrigerator or another magnetic surface.

Photo Mural

Prepare CD cases by removing their black inner panels and any paper inserts. Use photo-editing software to enlarge a high-resolution photo to 26 ½ inches by 18 ¼ inches. Use the software's selection tool to divide the photo into 20 5-3/8-inch by 4-5/8-inch rectangles. Save each section to a separate file and print each one onto 5-inch by 7-inch photo paper. Trim the excess white photo paper from around each photo. Mount each photo to thin cardboard, and slide them into the CD cases. Use mounting tape to affix the CD cases to the wall, arranging them so that they almost touch and form the complete picture.

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