This instructable goes into detail about how we (my partner Renier and I) created a mosaic backsplash using CDs and the tips and tricks we learned along the way.

The backsplash is truly impressive. When light shines on it, it creates beautiful colorful light shows that change depending on where you are standing in relation to it. Its reflective qualities bring more light to the space, actually minimizing the need to use artificial light when working in the kitchen during the day. One of its most rewarding qualities however is that it was basically made from trash - CDs that no longer had any use. As you may see in Step #6 "Why use CDs - Environmental benefits," even some of the more "advanced" cities do not accept CDs for recycling. Do you have other ideas or tips & tricks for how to reuse CDs? Feel free to post them or any links in the comments.

It's hard to say how long a project like this would take. There were many times when Renier asked me "when do you think we'll finish this backsplash" and I'd say "today if we really want to." I think it totally depends of the determination of the persons working on it. We started this project while having a lot of other things going on, so it was something we continued bit by bit every day when we found some time. It took us about 2 months to finish, but it could have taken us just a fraction of that time if it were our primary focus.

Step 1: Tools for Cutting CDs

The most important part when cutting the CDs is to be careful not to damage the holographic film which is the most fragile part and also the one that we want to preserve because the effect they give off is really the star of this show. Check out the next step to see what trick we came up with to give more strength to the film so that it doesn't chip away.

The first thing we tried was using scissors. Only one pair, apparently the toughest of all our scissors, cut well enough that we could stand to keep working with it and it didn't ruin the holographic film. Personally, the scissors were hurting my hands too much, so I had to leave that to Renier.. who was okay with them.

The second tool that came our way was a pair of gardening scissors. This one was less painful for me so I continued with that one while Renier still preferred the scissors.

One night a friend came over while we were working on our CD backsplash and happened to have Plastic cutting scissors with him..of all things!! We had no idea these existed and they were so small that we were a little skeptical before we tried it. They actually cut better than any other tool we tried, worked effortlessly and even cut curves!! They had a curved tip, but I understand these are available with a straight tip too.

<p>Giving it a try!</p>
<p>I was blown away by this when I saw it several months ago. I had just done my own &quot;tile&quot; backsplash using peel and stick floor tiles that I cut down and spray painted so I was wanting to re-do my backsplash. But it inspired me to do the CD mosaic to my upper cabinet fronts. I recently decided to repaint the walls and the cabinets and finally got around to doing the CD mosaic. Here's my kitchen cabinets as inspired by this instructables!<br><br>It was a TEDIOUS task - took over 100 cds (I just ordered blank ones since I didn't have that many lying around). Fortunately I was able to cut them using an old school paper cutter (the one with the &quot;machete&quot; like arm). I also found that a regular glue stick worked great. To avoid dealing with having to chip off the pieces one by one if I wanted to remove the mosaic I just added black cardstock to the cabinet fronts using black electrical tape and then added the CD pieces on that way. I did not grout anything. My supplies were CDs, the papercutter, cardstock and electrical tape, and a glue stick. <br><br>I love how it came out but don't ever want to do such a big mosaic project ever again.</p>
OMG your cabinets look amazing!!! I love the color it gave them, nice job!!!!!
<p>Thanks! I painted the walls a metallic blue (Ralph Lauren Rich Blue, I believe was the name of it) and when the light hits it right, the walls get really rainbow-y. Also I started growing herbs indoors and use a grow light and when that's on, it reflects off the CDs in a really cool way.</p>
<p>Do you have any idea of how many cd's per square foot of wall space since everyone may not have the same size?</p>
<p>hey DorlisG, the reflecting area of a disc has approximately 0.4 square-feet. you will therefore need 2,5 discs to fully cover a square foot. considering the spaces in a mosaic it will be a little less, lets say about 2.3 cds per square foot.</p>
<p>Had to join to comment. I did a huge mosaic back splash in our kitchen from counter to under cabinets and about 22 foot long. I used mostly recycled mirrors from yard sales and Alcohol ink stained clear glass to make many of the colors. Ink side glued down with silicone. The mirror behind the inked glass gives a lovely shine. The square tiles were from the store and they show brown but are iridescent and my camera does not pick that up well. In person they are full of color not brown.</p><p>I think the CD's are very pretty but I am sure they will scratch and smudge with cleaning needed in a kitchen.</p><p>For the person that wanted to try this in a rental just glue them to foam core board. Easy to cut to size and apply to wall with double stick tape. for this use in a bathroom I think they would be beautiful and less need for cleaning. I did some mosaic on a CD for fun to hang in the yard as a windspinner.</p><p>Picture of kitchen B/S</p><p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/50185661@N03/6904647303/" rel="nofollow">https://www.flickr.com/photos/50185661@N03/6904647...</a></p>
<p>This is gorgeous I love the way it looks! I live in a rental so I can't do it to my kitchen but the home is in need of some sprucing up, so I'm hoping to find a way to do this in one of the bathrooms or in my craft area somewhere.</p>
<p>That is truly gorgeous!!! I like the big spaces, it makes it look awesome. I definitely want to try this someday.</p>
<p>Brilliant! I think I may have to make a piece to hang on my wall ^_^</p>
<p>You asked for other use ideas for CDs... WE hang 'em around our blueberry bushes to keep birds away. And it makes an interesting light show around the yard as well.</p>
<p>I am soooo going to use your idea for giving some drama to an art piece! Super fabulous idea!</p>
Yes this is going to be a great project I definitely have all the CDs and maybe I'll do the bathroom next I was trying to come up with ideas on what to do with these old CDs thank you
<p>I love this idea! I imagine it gives a larger feel to the kitchen? I have a one wall kitchen and wanted it to appear larger, not smaller did you feel like your kitchen &quot;appeared larger&quot; or was it was style? Also, if it isn't right to make my small, one wall includes it all kitchen, how about a whimsical design to draw eye around a room? Also, I couldn't understand if you got different colors from different cd's I have nearly 500 to use but they are all the same color outside of print on one side to be glued down, does the other side matter? Thanks for the help....?</p>
<p>Hey there. It's beautiful!! I have a question... you say that when you went to add the CDs to the wall it was already textured. I have a regular wall(drywall), that was painted last year. What would I have to do to prepare it for this project, if anything? Blessings and Thanks!</p>
<p>I wonder if it would be possible to put a glass over the backsplash of <br>CDs. It`s easier to clean glass than CDs. I actually cook in my <br>kitchen. Steaks and fries send grease all over the kitchen, so I really <br>need something practical. Do you think it's leveled enough to put a glass <br>over it? Thanks!</p>
<p>One thing you might consider doing to protect the finish on the CD's,(and it might also eliminate the cleaning of grout) is to use 3 part Epoxy Resin to cover and seal the finished project. You can paint it on with a foam paintbrush and it drys completely transparent and shiny (like glass) and will not affect the holographic effect of the CD's. I&quot;m an artist, and have used resin to seal my art, whether it be 2D or 3D. This is the material used on bar tops and tables. Just follow the directions that come with it as to work time and mixing of the product. Love this tutorial, and will start collecting CD's for my own art piece. Thank you so much for sharing this.</p>
<p>I don't use CDs for art, as I draw manga. but I could create some more imaginative characters, I could use it for Aquila, one of my favorites. </p>
<p>Hi bharmer!</p><p>I am an artist too...into all sorts of things but currently trying to find s colution for my bathroom wass made of VJ boards, unpainted and in place sice the early 1900s. Have an all timber workers' cottage that I've been doing up for 30 years...bit at a time. Do you think I could make a mosaic of CDs that would waterproof the timber wall and add a bit of pazazz. Have recently installed a large rain shower over the old original gianormous bath and of course..the wall gets wet. Friends say leave the natural timber...but the whole house has these walls, want something arty on the bathroom. Do you think I should do the mosaic in panels and fix these afterwards or put up a fibro cement base...suppose this is the same as &quot;sheetrock&quot;.... and glue the cd bits on this? I've never used resin so am a bit aprehensive. Can I use resin to set the CD pieces in?</p><p>Don't you love it when you find a cheap alternative to expensive glass/morror mosaic!</p><p>THANKS to Ilona for this wonderful solution to a long-standing dilemma!</p>
<p>Not sure if this could work.... I'm merely throwing ideas.... how about a moisture barrier between the wall and the mosaic CD pieces? May I recommend to do the &quot;fixings&quot; before not &quot;afterwards&quot;. In that way, you minimize the work you need to do. </p>
Did I reply to you? I just saw this and can't remember. If I haven't, I'm so sorry. You can't use the resin as an adhesive. It's not recommended for that. I can't recommend using it where water could leak behind it and cause mold. Since you're an artist, why don't you use exterior house paint and paint a mural on it? So much easier, and much more personal.<br>
Thankyou bharmer for the comprehensive explanation on how to use resin! Very much appreciated!<br>Can you tell me where do I buy resin? hardware store?<br>What specific kind of resin do I ask for? 'Pouring resin'? Does it come in 2 parts? You mention using '3 parts epoxy...&quot; What's the other product used with the reson?<br><br>Thanks so far for all the helpful advice. yes it will be a big project but only need to do the wall behind the bath...and collect CDs...that will be the hard part. Maybe just buy empties....Regards J
<p>You're very welcome. You can buy 2 part Epoxy Resin at Michaels Art Supply, Hobby Lobby, in small amounts, or at Best Bar Top Epoxy (called Ultra Clear Epoxy) on the internet at</p><p><a href="http://www.bestbartopepoxy.com/bartop-epoxy/?gclid=CK2o9MfsocUCFVKDfgodnQQATQ" rel="nofollow">http://www.bestbartopepoxy.com/bartop-epoxy/?gclid...</a> with Free shipping for $79.95 for 1 gallon. It comes in 2 separate containers. One contains the epoxy and one contains the hardener. It comes with complete instructions. Follow carefully.</p><p>I made a typo when I called it 3 part epoxy, but I corrected that error in a subsequent post.</p><p>Go to the link (above) and they have videos you can watch.</p><p>Don't get the epoxy called ICE, or &quot;casting epoxy&quot; it is for making jewelry</p><p>You should be able to get lots of information on the internet just by Googling. Good Luck.</p>
Hi Jusirela. <br>Sounds like an ambitious project. I am not the originator of the CD post and have never tried using CD's as a mosaic, but I'll try to speak to the question about resin. <br><br>Resin was never meant to be an adhesive, so I don't recommend it for that purpose. Resin is best used as &quot;pouring&quot; onto a project to get a thick coating which I assume you would need in the bathroom, so constructing a panel of CD's and pouring 2 part epoxy resin onto the panel and letting it cure before attaching to the wall, would be the way to go./ You would still need some sort of adhesive to attach the CD's to the panel. <br><br>If you don't use grout between the CD's and just pour on the resin, even though the resin will fill the spaces, the color of the panel will show through, so I recommend painting it a color you like, before attaching the CD's. <br><br> I don't think that sheetrock and a cement based panel are the same. Sheetrock falls apart and crumbles if soaked in water. You need a waterproof base under the CD's if it's to be put in the shower area. <br><br>Yes you can &quot;set&quot; the CD's into the resin, but it would have to be done on a level surface. First pour the resin, let it cure, attach the CD's on top of the first pouring of the resin, and then pour more resin on top of the CD's to set them in between the two coats of resin.. Lots of work, but if you're willing, it should be a great artsy creation. <br><br> I recommend you google Youtube videos on how to pour and use 2 part epoxy resin before you get into this, so you'll have an idea of just what to do. <br>
<p>Have you materials tested this? Because the solvent may eat the holo film. Even it it's clear enough to work, actual use may be a mess. Plus, contaminating kitchens with industrial solvents? We have studios to keep any potentially toxic fumes, solvent, or pigments out of our living spaces. And those studios are industrial spaces. People don't necessarily understand proper ventilation and clean up.</p><p>Seriously. There's a film of unknown composition glued to the plastic disc with unknown chemistry. And random readers may have no clue how to handle industrial materials that I assume you have a couple degrees in? Cause in my MFA program we were cautioned about this, that telling untrained persona to use whatever was setting them up for trouble. Not nice to do. You need to think about this stuff.</p>
<p>Thanks bharmer i just asked that question what do you mean by 3 part Epoxy Resin what do i mix it with ??? </p><p>Thanks Kathryn</p>
Sorry, that was a typo. I meant 2 part not 3 part. It comes in 2 containers (2 Part) One container is the resin, and the other container is the hardener. You mix it in a separate cup in the ratio of 1 to 1. For example 1 ounce resin to one ounce hardener, or 3 ounces resin to 3 ounces hardener. Depending on how big your project is, &amp; how much you need to cover it. If you have a small project, go to Michaels or Hobby Lobby and buy &quot;Envirotex&quot;. It contains 2 bottles ( one is resin, the other hardener) and It is a 2 part Epoxy resin and you use it as described above. Plus there are instructions in the box. I think it's an 8 oz container. However, I buy it by the gallon at http://www.bestbartopepoxy.com/ Since it is in liquid form, I suggest you apply the CDs to a board that lays flat, and paint on the resin with a foam brush. Let it dry overnight (2 days is better) then when dry, raise the board up and attach to the wall. Hope this helps. (Note: DO NOT buy the &quot;casting&quot; resin that you use to make jewelry and to embed stuff in it)<br>
<p>Thank you also! </p>
Nice tip bharmer!
<p>OOOOOps, typo, I meant 2 part epoxy Resin NOT 3 part. Sorry.</p>
<p>Is the resin called 2 part epoxy resin or is it 2 parts of epoxy resin with a part of something else added to it? Sorry I'm a bit slow.... :-)</p>
<p>It's called 2 part because it is in 2 separate containers. One is the resin, and the other is the hardener. You mix it in a ratio of 1:1. For example, 1 cup hardener and 1 cup resin, or 1/2 cup hardener to 1/2 cup resin. It depends on how much you need to cover your project. You have about a 20 minute window to use it before it starts getting too hard to spread or pour. It is a chemical reaction, so you can't heat it up to dry it. It drys overnight hard to the touch, and continues to cure for another 4-5 days. It looks just like glass. One brand is called Envirotex Lite that you can find in hobby, craft stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or on line at different shops (google it) I buy the gallon size (1 container is a 1/2 gallon, the other container is 1/2 gallon....when mixed it's 1 gallon.) at </p><p>http://www.bestbartopepoxy.com and is on sale now for $80. You can buy it in small amounts at the craft stores in 8oz quantities. Directions come with it, and I seriously recommend you follow them EXACTLY. Hope this helps.</p>
<p>i'll use this, because ever since i was a very young child, i've always thought that grout totally spoils the pretty tiles that it surrounds! <strong>x^b</strong></p>
<p>wow, so beautiful</p>
<p>I don't know how or if it would change the effect of the irredesence of the CDs but I have a piece of plexiglass behind my stove to protect my wall from grease and splatters. I would get a very thin piece, just thick enough to protect the backsplash, and predrill corner holes for installation. That way you could use a little kitchen cleaner and never have to worry about smears on the CDs or wiping out the thin layer of grout. This is a beautiful backsplash and a great idea. I love it and it's very thoughtful and crafty. A great up cycle. </p><p>As far as doing a bathroom wall, the best thing to cover the wall to protect from moisture instead of resin would be clear coat just like you paint a car with. It's weather proof, which would make it stand up to the moisture in the bathroom and 3-4 coats would give it a beautiful glossy shiny finish and it would be there forever. Spray a coat on and let it dry good, lightly sand with some very fine sand paper between coats and let each coat dry well and you have your water proof seal. Make sure to seal the edges good. Light coats to avoid runs, they are the devil to sand out once the clear coat has dried. This is of course after the CD mounting and grouting is set and dried well. For the shower wall. If just for an accent wall a couple of coats of clear coat should seal it from the moisture well enough. Then you could frame it out with some pretty molding if it's not the complete wall. Depending on the size of the wall you can buy this in spray cans, if it's a big wall it's best to use a compressor style paint sprayer, but make sure the space is well ventilated and you wear a good mask to keep from breathing the fumes. If you can't do it and have a friend that paints cars with a portable air compressor he could do it for you. He/she would have all the equipment to fix you right up. </p>
<p>This is gluing plastic onto plastic (I assume latex or acrylic paint) with plastic. Waterproofing plastic isn't a problem. You're just adding extra work.</p><p>Making sure the wall is prepped properly is the trick - a light sanding and degreaser like TSP will only help. But sealing plastic with plastic is redundant, especially when the solvent is a clear coat that will likely eat the holo film. Car paint requires a compressor and some serious protection, it's not used in homes for a reason. The fumes will suffocate you, full suits and respirators are required.The solvents in many clear coat media are pretty acrid. Even if you can find water clear poly with a water base, it going to be a mess over grout. Assuming you have the skills and an expensive squirrel brush to apply it with no bubbles. The holofilm is a demanding surface, unusually so. And the stuff on floors is usually yellow based so that won't work. If you actually needed it.</p><p>Best to accept that this backsplash may be a limited time installation, cause one may tire of it and the materials are a bit ephemeral. Then, it may last forever. But don't overwork it. It just gets messy. And don't do it behind the stove. Put up some stainless or aluminum, it'll look great. Or a Lexan sheet over it. (like acrylic but stronger, from a hardware store).</p>
<p>lclaiborne</p><p>You're right, but I have used car paint inside a house before with the right ventilation and equipment. Car paint and clear coat painting some metal stairs, sculptures and cabinets. Had to do some draping and hang some plastic curtains to contain the paint and clear coat from drifting, but it can be done. The plastic on plastic wouldn't be a good idea, like you said. The chemicals in the paint would probably make the plastic coating bubble up. Wasn't thinking about that. Thank you for catching that and bring it to my attention and others too. Happy New Year!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>That is sweet! Doing this when I modify my bus.</p>
<p>Very nice! Thanks for showing your tricks and sharing your tips. </p>
<p>Love it. I could picture tables and decorative furniture in this medium</p>
<p>This looks really cool!</p>
<p>Very beautiful. I suggest even a secondary option using the CD</p><p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/8-YnVcpiJeU" width="500"></iframe></p><div><div><div></div></div></div><div><div><div></div></div></div>
<p>Awesome idea. I am going to try this on a table top. will let you know whether it worked.</p>
<p>Oh wow, thats the best thing I have seen so far :):):)</p>
<p>Hi, I am wondering if a spray sealer like Minwax or similar would work. I have seen DIY backsplashes with pennies that use it and it works well. I think it would be much simpler as long as it works well with the shine or reflectiveness and colors or it would defeat the purpose. Hmmm... (I wrote it as a statement because it is a thought but if anyone has an answer then consider this a question because I would like to do this but IDK about grout, it could be a deal breaker.).</p>
<p>This is beautiful. Nice job! I am glad to know about plastic-cutting scissors, too. If I were to try this, I think I would cut a piece of thin, semi-rigid material (probably Formica) in the size and shape of the area to be covered so that I could work on a horizontal surface. I think that would be much easier to manage. Then, when complete, I would mount the whole thing at once. This is what we did when we made our faux stainless backsplash (below). Of course, it took several pieces.</p><p>Also, do you think that, instead of using grout, you could use that product used in faux stained glass &mdash; the black stuff in a squeeze bottle? Thank you.</p>
<p>What an unusual use of CDs/DVDs. It looks really professional. The design is fantastic.</p>
<p>By the way, I ordered Dynamite straight Lexan scissors on eBay. Haven't gotten them yet, but they look like the ones in your picture. They are meant for cutting plastic model parts and other plastics, according to the write-up. They come in a curved version, also. </p>
The ones we used are probably the curved version! It had a curved tip and cut curves very well! I suppose the curved is better for a more organic feel. I will edit this into the ible. Thank you. I should look into getting a pair of each for the workshop now that you mention it. Happy new year!
<p>I'm not sure it's safe near a heat source, but it's the perfect idea for creating an interesting border around a bathroom mirror. I wonder what kind of glue would work best there. I guess I'll have to experiment. I'm pretty sure I will not be using grout at all because shiny mirror showing between the mosaic pieces shouldn't be a problem. The problem will more likely be my 6-yr-old grandson wanting to pick at the bits of CD, so I need strong glue. I hope he won't cut himself messing around. Did you have any mishaps with sharp edges? Thanks for the great inspiration! </p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, my name is Ilona. I love to make things out of materials that are seemingly garbage. I joined instructables to share my ideas and ... More »
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