Introduction: Junk Box Flowers

Picture of Junk Box Flowers

The perfect gift! These have been very popular as desk ornaments, or on a window sill. great for anyone who uses a computer in their jobs or for fun.

I have been making these for a while now, and whenever I go to craft shows, they are the first thing to sell..

You need:
Glue. I prefer GOOP, but Super Glue could work as well.
1 dead hard drive
1 floppy drive
9 floppy disks
about a foot of large gauge copper wire
about a foot thin gauge copper wire
brass (or any thin metal) sheet

Various implements of destruction. such as:
needle nose pliers
set of very small torx or hex wrenches
selection of screwdrivers, phlips and flat
Soldering iron

If this is your first time doing disassembly of a floppy and hard drives, some Advil may be in order as well. Finding that last stubborn screw can be a test of the soul. luckily, we don't have to be all that gentile on our disassembly.

For the CD and Floppy drives, I usually prefer laptop drives, but desktop drives will work as well.

Most, if not all of this can be substituted by stuff that is the right shape or size. Be creative!

Step 1: Stripping the Parts

Picture of Stripping the Parts

Most computer dorks (like me) have boxes of old stuff laying around that is just too good to throw out. this is the chance to get some use out of it, and hopefully thin out the collection a little. To start, you need to take the 9 floppies, the floppy drive, and the hard drive and strip them down for the parts we need.

The easiest way to crack open the floppy disks themselves is to grab either end and twist it like you are wringing out a towel. you should feel it *snap, and then the sides should come apart pretty easy. Take the black disk out. gently peel the black plastic disk off the metal center. the center is the part we want to save. do this for all nine.

Step 2: Stripping the Drives

Picture of Stripping the Drives

Fist thing, for the next steps, I really recommend wearing some gloves. The floppy and hard drives can have some rather surprisingly sharp edges inside. A set of safety glasses when prying things off may be in order as well. You have been warned.

From the floppy drive we need the center motor winding. I can't give you hard core solid instructions on disassembling the floppy, as they are all somewhat unique. best thing I can say is take out all the screws you can see, and then start prying with a screwdriver. you want the main motor assembly.

The hardest part of this procedure is getting the motor "cap" off the drive without damaging the windings. The best way is to work a screwdriver just under the edge and twist, prying it up. move over a fraction, and do it again. eventually it will pop. then gently work the motor winding off the spindle the same way. Save both the cap and the winding,.

Hard Drive:
Disassembling the hard drive can be a pain, but there are many treasures inside. different manufacturer's have different architectures. Usually there are a series of screws holding the drive case together. Make sure you check under the stickers, they always hide a few. once it's open, remove the screws holding the drive head and platters in. once the platters are out, take out the drive spindle. this will be the base. If the drive spindle does not come out ease, you could very well leave it in and use the entire bottom as the base for your flower.

Disassembly is similar to the floppy. take out the screws and start prying.

Step 3: Flower Head

Picture of Flower Head

Take the motor cap from the floppy. Place it up side down on the desk. place the motor winding on top. glue 8 of the floppy centers around the winding. I usually start with 4, making an X, then glue the other 4 in the gaps after they have set up for a while. It prevents things from sliding around too much. When all 8 are set up pretty well, glue the last floppy center on the top.

Let it dry over night. I have wrecked more than a few when I got over anxious to move on.

Step 4: Mount Head

Picture of Mount Head

Flip the head over so you are looking at the front of it. Take about 6 to 8 inches of large gauge wire. It should be stiff enough that it takes some effort to bend. make a small loop and bend to a 90 degree angle. feed the wire through the head of the flower, and glue the loop to the inside of the head.

Wait for the glue to dry, then glue a second coil over the center to hide the mounting, or anything else you have laying around. small gears work well. bend the wire coming out of the back into an S shape, mimicking a real stalk of some kind. using a needle nose, bend another small loop in the end. this will be used to mount it to the base.

Step 5: Leaves

Picture of Leaves

I usually have some extra thin gauge tin or sheet metal left over from disassembling the CD and Floppy drives. Cut out two pointed ovals, basically leaf shapes. Crease them down the middle and draw lines with an exacto knife or screwdriver.

Cut about 3 inches of stiff wire. make a slight bend, and glue the leaves on.

When the glue is dry, take some of the thin gauge wire, and wrap the center. use the remaining ends to attach it to the stem of the flower. I usually let the rest hang down and wrap up the ends to form little tendrils.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

For stability, I usually glue one of the hard drive platters to the bottom. Makes a nice base. I also place a drop of glue on the connection point between the leaves and the stem, as well as the screw holding the stem on the base. This will keep them from loosening up over time.

I have also attached bugs made from IC chips to small wires and attached them to the base. the ready made mounting points have all kinds of possibilities.

Different hardware will have different configurations inside, so if you make a few of these, they are almost certain to be unique one-of-a-kinds.

For more ideas, check my gallery here:


Advar (author)2013-09-16

Looks like something Optimus would have in his flowerbox. Nifty, nifty idea!

wellsw (author)2007-06-25

Here is my attempt. I skipped the floppy hubs.

KC-Dimples (author)wellsw2011-07-08

I love it!

djgrandma (author)wellsw2008-12-31

That's good. I like that!

weddingflowers (author)2011-04-24

I love this diy flower idea! I'll have to create some for my office workers who are into flowers and wedding flowers. I have some old floppy disks, enough to create enough flowers to fill up the room.
Wholesale Wedding Flowers

mmatiova (author)2011-02-25

Wow that is really cool, thank you so much for tutorial and great idea..but I don´t think that my flower would look so nice as yours..Nevermind I´ll give it a try!
Tina from flower delivery

chuckr44 (author)2010-05-05

I have been disassembling hard drives for a couple years now. I found that buying a small torx screwdriver set (all bits fit in handle) was well worth the investment. About 70% of drives I come across use torx screw heads, the rest use philips heads.

Those magnets in the drives are so strong I use them as handles to open my handle-less fridge.

geekdude (author)2010-03-05


vadios (author)2010-02-14

Very interesting and beautiful way of using PC utility!

smitasrivastava (author)2009-01-28

Wonderful recycled art.

shooby (author)2008-10-26

The insect completes it so well

quickthinker (author)2007-10-10

that junk box flowers looks so crafty.

I dont think we have a lot of disk drives lying around, is it okay for me to use small cd disks instead?

wellsw (author)2007-06-25

Here is my try. also my first post...

toogood (author)2007-06-05

did you get the magnets from the floppy drive?

photozz (author)toogood2007-06-12

The only magnet in the floppy drive would be inside the motor. They usually shatter when you try to remove them.

Ericthecleric (author)2007-01-02

This is a great idea, thanks
here's my version
you can check it here

photozz (author)Ericthecleric2007-01-03

That.. is an ass load of floppies. I'm guessing the head is about 8" across? good work!

stranoster (author)photozz2007-04-28

You can pick up bundles of floppies for a pittance ( a dollar at the most) at most pc stores.

stranoster (author)2007-04-28

Defiantly a favourite! Now to go a HDD scavenging in some old PC's!

bdsocali86 (author)2007-02-01

this is my first attempt, kinda ghetto. no goop, so i used hot glue, no wire, so i used a coat hanger, no sheet metal, so i used foil... lol

feel free to rag on this POS, the next one will be far spiffier =)

putnamcs (author)bdsocali862007-02-09

This flower, and especially the write-up really got a laugh out of me. Thanks! I think it looks great and is an awsome example of thinking outside of the junk "box" flower. I have an update on a less stinky glue possibility. I will be making a dozen more flowers in the next month and I will be using a new glue from DAP One Stick. This is how DAP describes their product: DAP One Stik2 dual applicator adhesive provides everything you need for Gluing Made Precise. Choose your household project; then choose your One Stik2. The convenient, easy-to-use dispenser offers two non-drip applicators, a thin pen tip for more exacting applications and a wide tip for spreading a broader film. This translates to no mess, high precision gluing. Plus, the specially designed closure prevents clogging, for easy dispensing every time. One Stik2 Crystal Clear Permanent Adhesive is perfect for permanent repairs such as fixing cracked vases, re-securing trim, [making junk box flowers], or arts and crafts projects; and it provides a glossy, crystal clear finish. I will let you how know how it works out.

photozz (author)putnamcs2007-02-09

Cool. Let us know! The thing about the glues is that you need to find one that works on all different kinds of metals including copper and stainless. It's tricky.

infiniteregress (author)2007-01-23

Here's my effort. Had to secure the small flower by twisting copper wire around the two flower stems, cause it wouldnt mount properly. Turns out it also looked pretty good.. Lastly, I couldn't find anywhere to put the copper leaves I had made, and I was happy with it, so I now have four copper leaves left over. Might make a door decoration... Materials: for glue, I used Araldite. Not sure if it's called that in America, I'm in Australia, so i don't know. Might be the same stuff as goop. Comes in two tubes that you mix together. Stinks a bit, bit of a headache... for the wiring, I used 2mm steel wire, and 20gauge copper. The small heads came from the cd rom drives. i took apart 2 cdrom drives, and ended up with a whole bunch of motors. I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but a good idea when dismantling the hard drive is to keep the screws that hold it down in a nice safe place. Set them aside, so you don't have to go rummaging to find them again when you need to mount your flower on. great instructable cheers

mever (author)2007-01-11

Wow, these really look nice! Awesome

putnamcs (author)2006-12-18

Well, they are finished. I made two flowers. I have some comments I would like to add as I discovered some important things during assembly of the parts and the building of the final products. First of all, the wire that I used, rather than call it big and small, was 20g solid copper hobby wire which can be purchased at most crafts stores (not hardware stores). The large wire was 12g solid copper wire which is the smallest size you can get at Home Depot. They used to have 18g, but closed it out at .14 cents a foot and have none left. The next thing I will mention is the glue. I used the recommended "Amazing" Goop, household cement, which I must admit worked pretty well. There are some drawbacks to consider. First of all, the glue STINKS. And it continues to stink even after it is dry. So bad, I had to offset the headache it gave me with Excedrin after Excedrin. The next thing worth mentioning is the fact that, as stated in the instructable, you cannot put a drop of Goop on anything. It is so thick that you can try to put a drop, but I ended up using a toothpick to manage the adhesive. There ended up being snot strings of glue all over the back of my project. I may try superglue gel next time, but I think it may leave a powdery residue as most cyanoacrylates. I will let everyone know how it turns out. In closing, I will say this. This has got to be one of the most rewarding hobby/art projects that I have ever done. I wish it had been my idea. The instructable was perfectly executed and very fun to carry out. In making the two for my family, I am now on the hook to make several more for friends and relatives. There just seems to be a hard-drive shortage in my least there is a shortage of people who are willing to let me destroy their hard drives. Thank you very much for your instructable!

photozz (author)putnamcs2006-12-18

Awesome! These look great! In regards to the goop, yeah, it stinks. It will take several days for the solvent to disappear. I have some pretty good ventilation around my work areas, so I guess I never really noticed. And as for technique..lets just say that it takes a good amount of practice and a few ruined pairs of pants to get the right *twist* on the tube (or toothpick) to avoid the stringies. . :) You made my day. Nice Job!

photozz (author)photozz2006-12-18

Oh, and.. the reason I like Goop is that it dries tough, but just a little flexible. Its not prone to snapping like super glue, and has a fantastic lateral shear strength when dry. If anyone has other recommendations, I would love to hear them.

Rowen27 (author)photozz2006-12-22

Having used both, I have to say that low temp hot glue seems to behave the most like goop on the toughness and flexability scales... and I do agree about the vinagary scent, I have a pair of earings that I made with Goop years ago that still have that smell. Jen

putnamcs (author)2006-12-11

I just wanted to say thank you for posting your very creative idea. I have a brother and sister-in-law who are Microsoft Test Engineers and they are very HARD to shop for at Christmas. Thanks to you, I think I have it nailed this year. I went to Home Depot the other night and picked up the big and small wire (12g was the smallest they had) and glue. I already have a collection of dust-covered hard drives and floppy disks. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Tool Using Animal (author)2006-12-07

Beautiful man, if only I'd seen this in time for my workplace's gift exchange.

I guess I did see it in time, here's my effort, thanks

Not bad! I like the use of the heatsink for the base.

hethlee (author)2006-12-08

how cute.. if i could only get my hands on those things...

smfr (author)2006-12-08

With a BEAM robot head circuit, and a solar panel, the flower could be make to turn towards the light!

photozz (author)smfr2006-12-08

yeah.. I have always had bad luck trying to make light-seeking heads. If anyone has a good SIMPLE circuit, I would love to take a look.

GregDDC (author)2006-12-08

This is fantastic!!! I'll start on my own tonight!

fegundez1 (author)2006-12-07

it would be fairly easy to add some led's to the center of the petals for lights too.

photozz (author)fegundez12006-12-07

very easy. It's a matter of hiding the power supply and keeping it from looking to cheezy.

neelandan (author)2006-12-07

You might try adding skeletal leaves soldered up from copper wire - thick for the main and thin for the lateral veins.

photozz (author)neelandan2006-12-07

I had done that on the first few I made. they tend to somewhat overwhelm the piece. I wanted to keep the emphasis on the head, so I toned down the leaves a little. People seem to like this style better.

westfw (author)2006-12-07

Very nice... Your photo labels are switched on your CDRom vs Floppy Motor, though. Some floppy drives, especially in laptops, have a different sort of armateur with flat coils mounted on a PCB, which won't work so well.

photozz (author)westfw2006-12-07

Thx, your right. Fixed. Yeah, you have to look around and tear a few things apart before you find the right stuff. *most* drives have an actual coil, but I have seen the ones your talking about. a razor blade will actually take up those coils pretty well... although they are not really large enough for this project.

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