Introduction: 44 Fanciful Uses for Dud Discs

Picture of 44 Fanciful Uses for Dud Discs

What do you do with all those dud discs?
You know the kind I mean-

-that CD of Joe Nobody playing Golden Oldies on nose flute that you got for $1 and are too ashamed to give to Auntie Flo after all
-the CD you burnt with that one song you were obsessed with, listened to 40,000 times and never want to hear again
-the CD your ex gave you with sappy songs you never liked
- the free sample film/TV show promo or software CD
-the game you played in 1990- and is a bit outdated
- the install disc from 3 printers ago, or the camera you lost
- the “Gonna make you a MILLIONAIRE” DVD that seemed good
-the DVD you tried to make that won’t play on any of your DVD players (or that you maybe wouldn’t want anyone to see anyhow)
-the CD or DVD you mucked up when you burnt it,
- and most annoying of all, the brand new CD that your computer won’t record onto no matter what you do!

What a waste to throw away these potentially valuable, shiny, beautifully formed objects.. so I set myself the task of coming up with new uses for them- some obvious, some practical, some fun, some just silly. It seemed like a worthwhile thing to do at the time.... and after numerous hours of experimenting and photographing, here’s the list.

Step 1: Fun for Kids

Picture of Fun for Kids

1. Make a mini magic magnet skate rink (see pics 1 & 2): make a tiny ice skater from thick paper; tape it into a bent paper clip so it stands up, put it on the shiny side of the disc and use a small magnet underneath to make it move around

2. Make a racetrack from cardboard, make “wheelies” by gluing discs to both ends of a cotton reel (or something similar), then race your wheelies

3. Make play-dough for your child - pics 3 , 4 & 5 (mix 1 cup/mug of flour and 1/2 cup salt, stir in a large spoonful of cooking oil then add enough hot water to make a firm dough; colour with food colouring); use discs for pretend plates, to cut the dough up to play with, to press it flat and to make patterns in the dough.

Step 2: Spinning Tops

Picture of Spinning Tops

4. Make a spinning top: find a thick pencil stub or some other short, fat, pointed stick; put it through the hole -use blu-tak, plasticine etc if necessary to make a snug fit; decorate either side if you like with DVD markers. (Note- If you’re using a pencil for the shaft, make sure you spin it on a surface that you won’t mind being marked by the pencil lead).

5. Experiment with your spinning tops- make thick paper discs to put on top, with different patterns – stripes, radiating patterns, spirals, etc- or draw patterns on the shiny side with a DVD marker- and see what happens when you spin the disc

6. Have spinning top competitions – see who can spin for longest

7. Make different “character” spinning tops and “battle” them – use a tray, piece of cardboard or tabletop for a “battlefield” and see if you can knock your opponent’s top off the field

Step 3: Fun and Games

Picture of Fun and Games

8. Use discs as Mini Frisbees (photo 1) - but only if you have lots of space and don't throw AT people as they're sharp - better to throw at a (non-living) target or into a container as a contest.

9. Flying Saucers- decorate your discs and see who can throw it highest and furthest

10. Have a competition to see who can roll one the furthest

11. Learn Morse Code and use your disc to reflect a light and flash surreptitious messages from your window at night

12. For older “kids” (photo 2): join 3 discs together with blobs of Blu-tak (or plasticine), shiny side in, and experiment with a laser pointer or pencil torch to make patterns (make sure you protect your eyes if using a laser; don't angle discs up towards your face)

Step 4: Party Time

Picture of Party Time

13. Decorate a dark room with discs, shiny side out, around the walls (and hanging), then use fancy lights, including strobe if you can, for a great party effect

14. Use as a base for a thick candle (photo 1)

15. Design a party invitation as a disc label (use your computer), print out, glue onto label side of disc and mail to guests

16. Make a “disc-o” fancy dress costume: find a colourful (or plain black) dress or top in your wardrobe or buy from a charity shop, then sew or glue discs all over it, shiny side out (photo 2)

17. Use shiny-side up as markers on the ground for, e.g., a torchlight treasure hunt trail at a Halloween or night time kids’ party

Step 5: Decorating, Photography

Picture of Decorating, Photography

18. Find little shiny or metal objects and glue them (with a hot glue gun) onto a disc base to make a mini sculpture

19. Glue a photo in the centre of the shiny side and use as a novel photo frame (prop up with thick, bent card behind) - photo 1

20. Use the shiny side as an emergency reflector to reduce shadow when taking a photo with a flash or in strong light- photo 2

21. Replace an old picture in a frame with a pieces of card with discs glued onto it, to make an unusual wall decoration -photo 3

Step 6: Picnics, Camping

Picture of Picnics, Camping

22. Put one on your glass or can of soft drink when you’re outside to keep the wasps off (put a small piece of duct tape over the hole on  both sides)- Photo 1

23. Use at an outdoor picnic or party to make a level spot on the grass to rest your wine glass on- Photo 2

24. Use as weights so your picnic table cloth doesn’t blow around- peg onto the corners of the cloth - Photo 3

25. Use when camping as a saucer for your tin mug when you have a hot drink - Photo 4

26. Sitting on wet ground? Use four discs to make a little dry patch

Step 7: Mealtimes, Snack Time

Picture of Mealtimes, Snack Time

27. Use as a stand for a teapot Photo 1

28. Use them as drink coasters to protect your table tops Photo 2

29. Put one under your honey pot to catch the drips

30. Use some on your dining table for the cream jug, sauce etc to protect your tablecloth Photo 3

31. Use as a lid to put on your hot mug of coffee Photo 4

32. Use them as hamburger stackers (with greaseproof paper in between)

Step 8: Household Practical Uses

Picture of Household Practical Uses

33. Use a disc as an emergency plate for pet food Photo 1

34. Use as a bookmark Photo 2

35. Peg a note onto a disc so it doesn’t blow away Photo 3
36. Glue a magnet on the back, put a peg on top and use to hold notes on your fridge Photo 4

Step 9: Outdoors

Picture of Outdoors

37. Hang them in the garden to scare birds away from your new seeds, vegies etc

38. Glue or nail onto posts at your gate and along your driveway to act as reflectors - photo 1  

39. Use as a mini-shovel in the garden -photo 2

Step 10: Christmas

Picture of Christmas

40. Make mini snowmen as Christmas decorations: mix salt dough (see " Fun for Kids" for recipe- leave out colouring - this recipe makes one snowman); form into a little snowman about 4 inches/10cm high, place on a disc, shiny side up, sprinkle with a little extra salt and decorate with little twigs, a bottle top hat and a strip of material for a scarf - see photos 1 & 2.

41. Photo 3 - Cut a circular picture out of a Christmas card or paper to cover the non-shiny side, glue it on (add a small loop for a hanger) and hang on your Christmas tree. Use craft glue or strong glue. You can glue tinsel around the edge if you like. 

42. Do the same as above, but without the hanger, and put little gift or chocolates on top; wrap up with cellophane and tie at the top for a novel gift presentation

43. Stick a thin candle through the hole and use as a drip collar for Carols by Candlelight -Photo 4

Step 11: And Finally...

Picture of And Finally...

44. Drive your nosy family mad: label a dud disc “my Top Secret files” and leave lying around...

Have fun!

How many more uses can you find for these handy little discs?


alajnabiya (author)2011-09-02

You can cut up CDs to make the little mirrors used in "shisha" embroidery. I got the idea from this blog

I have also made crochet hot pads (trivets) with a CD inside to protect the table from hot pots.

Puzzledd (author)2010-10-24

Check out for beautiful CD artwork by Swapnal- easy and so effective. It no doubt helps to be artistic too, but even a simple design would look great!

eydryan (author)2010-10-14

using CDs as frisbees is a VERY BAD IDEA! they have enough speed and sharpness to cut skin and you could really get hurt with one of those. of course, the farther you throw the less energy it retains but still could be a dangerous toy so be careful with them!

Puzzledd (author)eydryan2010-10-15

Thanks for the warning!

We have lots of space and don't throw hard, but you're quite right- they could hurt.

They'd be OK thrown at a (non-living) target, or into a container :)

eydryan (author)Puzzledd2010-10-18

yes they would :D

but I'm telling you that out of experience, we played at a party with cds and a friend got his lip cut and another had a nice gash on his nose from them. they're fast and moderately sharp.

but either way, the point is having fun :D

Puzzledd (author)eydryan2010-10-18

Oh, gosh! Thanks for letting us know- certainly caution is called for!!
I'll revise that idea in the Instructable.... and suggest the other ways of using them :)

CrimsonXLR (author)2010-10-17

Awesome, I have alot of CD/DVD coasters around so now I can put them to good use by printing photos and such other things on them.

Puzzledd (author)CrimsonXLR2010-10-18

Yes! I hadn't thought of printing but of course you can do DVD labels- that would make great coasters etc -thanks for that idea!

bgcyclist (author)2010-10-14

Make a drop spindle for spinning fiber into yarn. It's a great beginner's tool.

Puzzledd (author)bgcyclist2010-10-15

Sounds good! Thanks:)

bgcyclist (author)Puzzledd2010-10-15

Here's a like that can explain it better than can.

Puzzledd (author)bgcyclist2010-10-15

That's an excellent link, thanks! It's a very clear explanation for spinners- (I wasn't quite sure what a drop spindle was) :)

tcup (author)bgcyclist2010-10-15

That is interesting, could you pass on some instructions?

bgcyclist (author)tcup2010-10-15

Here's a like that can explain it better than can.

tcup (author)bgcyclist2010-10-15

Thank you, that was very helpful.

Sewicked (author)2010-10-15

49. Decorate the non-shiny side with pictures (drawn, cut from magazines, etc) and hang several of them as a mobile.

50. Tie several of them together with colorful yarn and string for a very shiny, '90's take on a 70's fashion' belt

Puzzledd (author)Sewicked2010-10-15

Nice ones, thanks!

gabyripple (author)2010-10-14

I bet you could pin them to your clothes and use them as cheapo reflectors while out jogging/biking/whatever at night - just hotglue a safety pin to the matte side and away you go!

Puzzledd (author)gabyripple2010-10-15

Great idea! Thanks! I went and bought reflective strips,but CDs would really reflect well :)

GMer56 (author)2010-10-14

45. Place 2 discs over your eyes (so you can see through the center holes) and secure in place with a (large) rubber band. Very froody glasses.

46. Attach to clothing to make self more visible other vehicles at night, while walking, shoveling snow, etc.

47. Heat in boiling water and cut out a sawblade pattern. Useful for scaring people.

48. Use for target practice. if the cd survives the heat from the bullets (and holes) make nice patterns on the disc, but make sure the cd isn't reflecting the sun at you ^^

Puzzledd (author)GMer562010-10-15

Thanks- the reflector on clothes at night is excellent - I'll ue that when I go for walks:)

DGW (author)2010-10-14

Some good ideas. I just saw some on a roadside tree as a reflector and they were highly visible. Another great idea is to use them as scales on a large fish sculpture, (See image below).

Puzzledd (author)DGW2010-10-15

WOW! How gorgeous is that!

Ninzerbean (author)DGW2010-10-14

How cool!

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)2010-10-14

I've used them for a few projects:

drilled a hole near the "top" edge with a 1" spade bit and used it as a planchette for a handcrafted spirit board -- sometimes decorating with paper, sometimes just using a blank frisbee disc,

covered with paper and painted up for a pendulum board,

melted and warped creatively for Arty Art (use a microtorch and hold the thing with pliers) (this is more satisfying than it ought to be),

used to make  a platter type display for my table at crafty shows,

drilled lots of little holes in them (I heart my drill press) and hung earrings from the edge, epoxied a dowel rod though the hole and stuck the whole thing in a bucket of marbles for a display (do more than one and at different levels for a whimsical effect),

chopped them up carefully with a fine-bladed jewellery saw and made earrings, charms, bracelets, magnets, and ornaments out of the pieces,

made a curtain out of them so it's shiny on one side and decoupaged Arty Deep Thoughts re: communication on the label side,

glued to a convex clock lens of exactly the same diameter for a scrying tool (paint the inside of the clock lens black). Glued a strong magnet inside so the thing is magnetic,

and created shiny mobiles from whole and chopped up CDs.

Puzzledd (author)RaNDoMLeiGH2010-10-15

These sound a bit complicated for me - but fabulous!
Thanks for sharing them!!

ventifact (author)2010-10-14

Disks with bright day-glo covers make good targets for "snorkel Hunt" games in the pool or shallow water.

Plant markers.

Stringing several together by their edges is a flashy kite tail.

Puzzledd (author)ventifact2010-10-14

Great ideas- thanks!

HollyHarken (author)2010-10-14

Many years ago I came up with this idea. Take a string of Christmas lights with the clear 7 or 9 bulbs. Remove the bulb, put the disk in between the bulb shiny side down to act as a reflector and then screw in the bulb. I use them a camp around the dining canopy. The best time to buy a set of lights is after Christmas when they are 50 percent off. Also buy a few packs of replacement lights for when the bulbs burn out.

I also use CD's to scare birds away from my black berry bushes. I drilled a small hole in the top and strung some clear fishing line on them and then hung them on the branches of my berry bush.

Puzzledd (author)HollyHarken2010-10-14

The Christmas lights sound lovely!

Did the CDs work to scare away the birds? Someone told me they wouldn't- but maybe that's our Aussiebirds- budgies love their own reflection!

Thanks for the ideas:)

sparkleponytx (author)2010-10-14

Good instructable. Love the up-cycle ideas.

Another idea--cut up or break into small pieces. Use them as mosaic tiles. You can use regular mosaic style glue--just wipe off any smears. Then grout. Clean.

karen.edwards (author)2010-10-14

use color yarn to create multiple "chain" of CDs and use them to create a room divider or curtain.

valhallas_end (author)2010-10-10

For the plinkers of the world, if your range is tolerable (and you make an effort to clean up broken parts, or create a blind that will automatically catch all plastic), CD's make excellent targets for small arms. There's a satisfying shattering when you miss the "bulls-eye" hole, and if you do manage to squeeze a small caliber through the center, it often leaves a flash mark as proof. Unfortunately, my current range does not allow this...but my old one used to - great fun for those hundreds of AOL disks I collected over the years with no aim in mind.

For the rest of the world, if your neighbors (and village/town/city police, etc.) are tolerable, you can glue two disks back to back (shiny sides out) and hang them from fishing line or similar from trees so they can spin in the wind. We created an entire CD tree which everyone loved (until our village decided the flash could possibly distract drivers...after two years of the village council copying us...and one of them finally got in trouble with a passing-through county sheriff). Hang them from sculptures, foliage, eaves, etc. The spinning creates great patterns, and if you have colored spotlights, you can have an outdoor disco.

Puzzledd (author)valhallas_end2010-10-10

The targets sound lots of fun - do you hang them up? Hard to get through the hole!
I guess it would be too hard to throw them up like clay pigeons ...

I LOVE your CD tree! If you had somewhere near lights and away from the road, it could be spectacular and safe too.

Thanks for the ideas!

valhallas_end (author)Puzzledd2010-10-10

Heh we kind of cheated and just taped them to the target backing boards (particle boards set upright). That way, if the hole is over a clean section of board, you can also see a nice hole in the board appear, and then the burn on the CD for proof later. I actually have seen people who use CD's for skeet, though - if you glue about 10 of them together, and are in a nice, wide open, unregulated area (I've run into skeet shooters in Arizona and Utah), they make great substitutes for clays. Although, you really want someone else to throw (preferably not completely drunk, either, as the shooters from Arizona were) - the plastic doesn't shatter as nicely as clays and can launch horrid splinters at you.

The CD tree was fantastic, and we eventually did recreate one in our backyard (enclosed by a fence). They're also really fun to hang over a fish pond - back when we had fish (who were incredibly curious about light flashes and not the least bit scared), we had a number dangling on lines over the pond. The multiple reflections looked stunning, especially with red and green spotlights.

Puzzledd (author)valhallas_end2010-10-11

Sounds like lots of fun! I used to have friends with rifles, and loved target shooting. We live on 20 acres so shooting is a bit dangerous here with properties bordering ours (plus we don't know enough about guns to be safe)- but we do have dozens of rabbits:(

The fish pond set-up sounds lovely, too.

valhallas_end (author)Puzzledd2010-10-11

Are there any ranges you could visit? We found our new range by sheer luck - the man my aunt married is the director of safety at the sportsman's club, as well as a repeat pistol champion.

Puzzledd (author)valhallas_end2010-10-11

There probably are- but I already have so many interests (Instructables is my latest) that I can't fit them all in - if only we didn't need to sleep ;sigh; Thanks for the suggestion, tho!

Puzzledd (author)rimar20002010-10-10

Interesting... not sure quite how it would work.

I do have instructions for a key transposer wheel (made on cardboard) on my website,

I would be interested to see how you could do one with a CD:)

rimar2000 (author)Puzzledd2010-10-10


Puzzledd (author)rimar20002010-10-11

Oh, of course- silly me! Thank you.

Your music transposer looks really good, and very hardy.

Mine is just made from cardboard, but I laminated it and it has lasted well. I thought I might do an Instructable on it one day when I get time, but I have clear instructions on my website.

rimar2000 (author)Puzzledd2010-10-11

I am looking your website, it is very good one. Look mine, Maybe you must use Google Translator. I did an song book too, for me and my nephews. It contains Argentine folk, tango and a few pops. I have a "decent" spanish guitar, but long ago I do not touch it.

mole1 (author)2010-10-10

These are GREAT ideas! Love the giant sequin effect and the flashlight treasure hunt.

Six doubled CD's are hanging outside my now. They look entirely different from what I had expected when holding them indoors. Beautiful!

Puzzledd (author)mole12010-10-10

Thanks for your feedback :)
That's a good idea to hang the CDs double!

Phil B (author)2014-09-06

I used four CDs to make a very useful postal scale.

SparkySolar (author)2014-09-05

Incredible uses. I think I just ran out of Dvd's

Puzzledd (author)SparkySolar2014-09-05

Haha thanks for your comment :D

flyingpuppy (author)2012-07-12

LOVE these ideas! Here's another: a kaleidoscope looking glass. Fun for kids and can be used as a camera lens.

Puzzledd (author)flyingpuppy2012-07-12

That's a fun idea, and useful to know how to cut CDs (if you have tin snips...). Thanks for the idea:)

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