Instructables
Picture of Compact Disc Jewel Cube Display Case
A fun way to display artwork, photos, drawings, digital prints, literary musings, mixed media creations, or whatever you like using four easily rearranged CD cases!

Jewel Cube Display Cases require no tools or adhesives and look great when strewn about the home. The cost to create one depends on what you'd like to place within the display areas or whether or not you'll be buying new jewel cases - I made all my cubes for free!

I had the idea for this project while experimenting with a stack of empty jewel cases - just trying to see if they could fit together in some way because I wanted to use them rather than toss 'em out. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised that they'd snap together so perfectly into a cube shape with only a few simple steps.

  • Inner dimension of each display area is approximately 5.25 by 4.5 by .25 inches (135mm by 115mm by 6mm).
 
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Step 1: Separating Jewel Case Pieces

Picture of Separating Jewel Case Pieces
Separate the three jewel case pieces and set aside the center CD holder.

  • A relaxed approach is best when separating the pieces so as not to snap anything off and render your case useless.

Step 2: Building a Cube Corner

Picture of Building a Cube Corner
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Flip the front case piece so it's backwards, then connect it to the back case piece so it locks into place and forms a 90 degree cube corner.

You'll need to do steps 1 and 2 with four jewel cases - one for each corner of your cube.

  • Every now and then you'll come across a CD case that doesn't fit with the rest (the little prongs inside the front cover on one case may not match the recesses in the back cover of another case - rare because CD case design is so standardized, but it does happen on occasion). If you have some that don't fit just switch the front case cover with the front case cover of another 90 degree cube corner and make sure the front/back case covers are paired with their original companions when building the cube. Or you could just get a different CD case - whatever you prefer.

Step 3: Connecting Cube Corners

Picture of Connecting Cube Corners
Place the item you wish to display between the front case piece of one cube corner and the back case piece of another, then connect the cube corners to each other to hold it in.

  • The edge of the CD case will also provide a thin display area which can be useful with interesting 3-dimensional works, and can also be used for the title of the displayed piece, related anecdotes, or even your autograph!

Step 4: Completing the Cube

Picture of Completing the Cube
Repeat step three until you form a square.

  • Be careful on the final cube corner connection - it takes a little finesse, but you'll get used to it!

Step 5: Additional Ideas

Picture of Additional Ideas
You can even make a totem pole by stacking your completed cubes up and taping them together along the inside seams with packing tape. They won't support much weight but they'll stand up and look cool!

If you'd like something more stable you can build a totem pole like the one shown in my final photo. The supporting post within the totem pole was created using four 19.75 inch 2x4's arranged like a square tube and screwed together along the edges. I closed off the top and bottom ends by screwing on two 8x8 inch pieces of 1/4 inch birch plywood, then added a piece of adhesive felt on them to protect furniture and cover the screws. I also added thin strips of felt on the inner post to help keep the cases from rattling around.

(I'd estimate the materials for the extra sturdy totem pole to be around $12 to $15 depending on your location)

  • When stacked the cubes can be placed so that the edges of each cube run in the same direction, or alternate like a zipper (as shown). If you're making a totem pole be sure to decide which you prefer before you insert your artwork/photos/etc. because with the zipper style you'll have to insert the displayed work in an opposite direction on every other cube. If using the edge title space you may have to rotate the text and/or place it on the opposite side of your displayed work as well.
IrishSnow355 months ago

I saw this idea long ago, I think in some teen girl magazine or something. I've been wanting to do this for ages, and this is perfect (and a brilliant snap-together design as well! Thanks so much!

Aly2 years ago
I found your instructions via craftgossip.com

This is a great idea. I am having trouble following your directions though. You do mention 4 jewel cases but it is kind of buried in your intro. I think there is a way to have your first page or step one be just supplies needed.

Also, sometimes you say square and sometimes cube. When you say corner, do you mean edge?

A cube has 6 faces, 12 edges, and 8 corners. Is this cube open at both ends? Does each case front and back form a face of the open cube?

I see you posted this awhile ago so you might not see my questions. I will figure it out. Thanks for the idea!
orquidea4 years ago
This is very cool! Maybe I can make a lamp from this idea...
rbwilliams4 years ago
Fantastic!
Thanks for the instructions, I have a bunch of cases and couldn't think of how to use them, now I do. I will place photos in mine and have a nice display. Keep the ideas coming.
Harkle5 years ago
This is made of so much win - seriously! Thanks for sharing.
louiedog675 years ago
This is great! I made one of them earlier today and was inspired to use the resulting cube as (ironically enough) a cd storage box. Check it out at my blog..

http://louiedog67.blogspot.com/2009/01/so-this-is-in-its-early-stages.html

Thanks so much for the great technique!!
stampez6 years ago
This is such a NEAT project. Thank you so much for sharing the directions and great step by step directions. I made one and posted it on my blog - to use as a Christmas Card holder. You can see it here: http://stampez.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/cd-jewel-case-box.html

ctt4896 years ago
I've tried this for hours. You must have magical cd/dvd jewel cases. There is no way this can work without tape or glueing the 90degree pieces together. It doesn't work for me and I'm frustrated
WIKarts (author)  ctt4896 years ago
Hmmm... You're the first I know of to have a problem, but I'll try to shed some additional light on steps where someone might make a wrong turn - hopefully that'll help you out: Probably the most important stage is getting the jewel case cover flipped around correctly. To do this, make sure the case you've just opened is laying flat (without having removed the cover, but just after removing the inside piece that holds the CD). With your opened case laying flat, carefully take the cover off and flip it over from top to bottom without connecting it to the bottom piece. After that lift it up as though you're closing the case, but only go halfway so the cover is pointing straight up. Connect the cover to the back of the case in that position - it should sort of lock into place and form an upright "L" shape. You'll need to do that 4 times with four of cases that are the same type. When you have your four "L" shaped piece constructed set two of them next to each other as seen in step 3. The cases will lock together because you're basically just matching the cover up with the back just like you do when closing a case in its normal position. If they're a little loose it will be corrected with the last L-shaped case because they'll be pressing against each other. The "hinges" from the case cover help provide a tight connection because when put into their new position it's difficult to bend them outward - placing them all together creates a tension that passes from one corner of the cube to another giving the cube its rigidity. The only really tricky part is setting in the last case because you have to sneak in through the last open corner of your cube. Once it's in position it should snap together securely and form a pretty solid cube - I have a bunch of these made months ago and they're still as solid as the day they were made. You may want to try building a cube without placing any artwork in it to get the hang of it first - it realy is a simple process, but at certain points you have to approach it with a little finesse. I hope this helps! :)
ctt489 WIKarts6 years ago
Thanks so much for the details, it helped. I won't say what I did or didn't do in the first place. One problem still remains and that is one side is not as sung. I noticed that one side is a 2cd case but ironically that's not the one giving me a problem. Thanks again...great little box.
shyrell6 years ago
A great idea! Just a few more instructions please for people like me who didn't realize at first the it would take 4 cases. (Duh! to me.) ;-)
WIKarts (author)  shyrell6 years ago
Hi Shyrell, I mention at the beginning that it takes four cases - many people (including myself) tend to skim through instructions and miss things. I'll think about where to mention the need for 4 cases again and add it sometime soon.
No gluing or tools required - that has to be the easiest construction that I've seen to date. Will definitely make some of these. I love the artwork you have displayed in your cases. Where did you get these from? Are they your own work? Either way, they make miniature works of art of a storage item.
WIKarts (author)  islander_circe6 years ago
The artwork is my own - I'm primarily an ink artist, but I love the surprising images one can get just playing around in Photoshop. I'm glad you like the jewel cube - I was amazed they'd go together so easily and had to share the idea. If you create something with the cubes please post a photo as I'd love to see it!
Surreal6 years ago
This is an awesome idea! I'm gonna try making a base and lid for it out of chopsticks/skewers, in a square slightly bigger than the face size. I was thinking of either lashing together the skewers like a bamboo placemat (or gluing together a row of square edged chopsticks) and then gluing 4 chopsticks in a square on the inside of these mats to make it sit snug into the square opening (if that makes any sense!). I'll glue the bottom "lid" to the base of the CD cases using a glue gun, or something. How's that sound? I'll try and do it this weekend and upload photos. Let me know if you have any suggestions! Im gonna make it as a present for a friend, and fill it with small bags of gummy bears!
Surreal Surreal6 years ago
Just to update, I did make one. I bought a pair of bamboo sushi rolling mats, cut them into the same square as the CD box footprint and sewed them together at the corners. I then made the CD box as normal, and then attached the CD box to the bamboo base by threading a strong length of wool through the holes in the CD cases (where the tabs stick inwards to place the inlay leaflet). Unfortunately I already gave the present to my friend, but I will try and get photos when I can. :)
WIKarts (author)  Surreal6 years ago
Surreal , Your creation sounds really cool and I'd love to see it - maybe you could make an instructable for your enhanced cube so others could make one too. :)
jpfaraco6 years ago
This is so simple I can't believe it.. Just love these jewel case projects !
ghicken6 years ago
I recently found a cube similar to this one with about 20 year old photos in it.
Oh man, this, plus a lamp like http://www.instructables.com/id/shoji-style-table-lamp/

or another simple lamp like that would look pretty nice.
WIKarts (author)  iraqniphobia6 years ago
That would be cool - maybe with some colored CD cases (I may have to try that!) A friend of mine also suggested drilling holes in the inner post and placing Christmas lights in each hole which would look like colored blinking stars.