Picture of Cassette Tape Business Card Holder
It turns out cassette tapes are exactly the right size for a business card case.  People of a certain age, like me, have lots of old tapes sitting around uselessly.  You can give one a second life!
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Step 1: Choose a cool tape

Picture of Choose a cool tape
Start with a cool tape, like these.  And no, don't be horrified that this "museum piece" Apple data tape is being destroyed--no one ever saw it when it sat in a drawer!

Step 2: Unscrew case

Picture of Unscrew case
First, note that some tapes are screwed together, while others are heat-welded.  Obviously it's a lot easier to take apart the ones with screws.  If it's heat welded, you'll have to cut it open.

Step 3: Remove innards

Picture of Remove innards
02a pliers breaking bits 2--sm.jpg
03 dremeling bits--sm.jpg
After you pull out the spools of tape, there are still a few posts and things in the way.  You do _not_ need to remove all of them, because there's plenty of room inside, but you'll need to remove a few.

It's both easier and cleaner to remove most of the internal parts with a pliers, twisting things until they break.  You can remove everything with pliers except the one big fat screw boss in the lower center of the case.

Step 4: Tape Hinge

Picture of Tape Hinge
04a trimming tape--sm.jpg
05 taped hinge closed (bad)--sm.jpg
05 taped hinge closed--sm.jpg
The easiest way to make a hinge is simply with a piece of tape.  However, there's some technique to this: 

First, don't use tape that splits easily, like packing tape.  Your hinge will die quickly.  The best tape to use is gaffer's tape--it's both thin and flexible, and it'll never get any adhesive residue on your cards.  Electrical tape is ok, but it's a little stiff, and can cause the case to spread.  However, with a tape case this color, you'll never get gaffer's tape to match, so clear electrical tape can be used.  Or you can just trim wrong-color tape cleanly.

Second, don't just tape straight over the top wall of the cassette.  The tape will want to stay straight and will push the two halves of the cassette case apart from each other.  Instead, fold a little seam in the tape above the joint, and make sure the tape doesn't stick that well to the top edge of the wall.  That way when the cassette case is closed, the tape will push inward and let the case close all the way.

Step 5: Optional additions

Picture of Optional additions
magnet in corner--sm.jpg
You may decide you're done at this point.  Check the fit to make sure everything's ok.  Make sure the case doesn't spread open from the tape hinge when it's closed.

If the tape doesn't hold itself closed well enough from the friction of the screw bosses, you might glue in a couple (weak) magnets to act as a clasp.

If you want, you can cover up the little windows in the case so your cards aren't visible from the outside and so no dirt or gunk gets inside.  I haven't found this to be necessary, personally.

Step 6: Done!

Picture of Done!
holding blank tape open n closed--med.jpg
Enjoy your recycling and your retro-cool!
The Rambler3 years ago
Very Cool. Do you think it could also be made to hold credit cards and the like? They're usually a touch larger but still very close in size.
Jer_Faludi (author)  The Rambler3 years ago
Glad you all like it, thanks!

And yes, it does fit credit cards. It hadn't occurred to me, but when you asked, I tried it. You could fit a couple cards and a small wad of bills, so I guess you could have one tape for your business cards and another for your wallet...
Cool, I've been trying to find an alternative to a wallet for a while because they can be so thick. I might have to grab some tapes out of the basement.
You could also fold money in thirds and leave it laying in this case, as most thieves would look at an old cassette tape and ignore it.
True enough about that Apple tape, but there are mega-nerds who collect all things Commodore and Pre-Mac Apple, as well as Coleco, Mattell, Atari, etc. etc. and will pay big bucks for it, as one guy paid $12,000 for a wooden Apple One computer. You may have been able to E-bay that one!
Gabrock2 years ago
twood102 years ago
Love it.
And to manage business cards and contacts, I use CardFila.com. It has application for iPhone and android phone also.
say whattt! so cool!
jke3 years ago
Tried this with three old tapes and love this mod. Thx!
My dad actually got to meet Steve Jobs.He is amazing

R.I.P Steve Jobs
You are amazing
Love it, so retro!
Great idea!
Very clever! Now, my favorite business card holder :)
That's an awesome idea. I especially like the apple tape you chose. :D