Introduction: Movable Record Player Greeting Card From a Floppy Disk

Picture of Movable Record Player Greeting Card From a Floppy Disk

The actual disk part of an old 3.5" floppy disk looks suspiciously like a record, doesn't it? It only takes a few minutes to turn one into this personalized turntable greeting card. The best part is that the card is assembled with brads so the record spins and the player arm moves, too. Perfect for audiophiles and geeks alike.

Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

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For this project you'll need:

- an old 3.5" floppy disk
- a flathead screwdriver
- scissors
- hole punches
- blank greeting cards or cardstock to make your own
- small brads
- cardstock or corrugated paper for the record player arm
- embellishment items: stamps, collage paper, glue stick, etc.

If you don't have 3.5" floppy disks of your own, try a local second-hand store. In the Portland, OR, area both SCRAP and Free Geek usually have them for 25 cents or less apiece.

Step 2: Free the Disk!

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Start by busting into the floppy disk. Pull off the protective flap and slide the screwdriver between the plastic sides and twist to pop the disk case open. Try to avoid marring the disk inside with the screwdriver.

At this point I always remember past teachers' admonishments to never! touch! the disk!

Ha! I'm touching the disk!

After you've broken it open, you'll be left with several parts of the floppy disk case that are not used in this Instructable. All you need right now is the round, magnetic disk. You can use the other bits to make something else.

Step 3: Lay Out the Card

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Lay the disk on the card and mark spots in the middle of the disk and where the arm of the record player will be located.

Step 4: Punch the Card

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Punch small holes where you made the marks in the last step. You can use a narrow punch like this one, a darning needle, or whatever else you have handy.

Step 5: Attach the Record

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Attach the disk to the card with a brad. I like to punch a larger circle of paper to go between them, but it's not required.

Step 6: Attach the Player Arm

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Cut a thin strip of corrugated paper or cardstock to be the arm of the turntable. Punch a small hole in one end and attach it with the second brad.

Step 7: Personalize Your Card

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Now decorate the card however you like. I tend to favor silly music-themed puns cut from old magazines, but maybe that's just me.

Step 8: Share the Love

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You're done! Now go give the card to someone.

Oh, and if you come up with other cool uses for the leftover disk parts, please mention them in the comments here or on my blog.


ComputerRepairPortland (author)2012-07-23

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ModMischief (author)2009-10-14

Awesome instructable!
Thanks for posting it.

Here's the one I made:

Goodhart (author)2009-09-15

What would make this VERY cool project even cooler, would be to go and get a few (one for each card, you need) cards that have the circuitry within them to play back something you've recorded on them (by pressing the right mini button and speaking, or playing music). I have seen them in some discount stores, so they can be had for cheap - around a $1 or 2 (compared to buying a Radio Slack voice module that is both too big and way too expensive, and really doesn't sound good either, for nearly $20).

You could then use the activating strip from the bought card AND the voice recorder/playback module in your card and the record would sound like it plays ;-)

Good suggestion. I didn't realize there were record-your-own versions available. Thanks for the tip.

The only drawback is time. If you have only a few (5-10) passwords, they may fit, otherwise one would have to have more than one or try to find a small digital voice recorder circuit that records more. Radio Shack, at one time, sold the chip and you could build a small circuit around it; but they no longer sell that, and the kit they now sell isn't worth buying, unless you don't mind adding an amplifier circuit to the thing. :-)

Amdivns (author)2009-05-04

Hey guys, imagine a gramophone player, but in reverse. I made a smaller gramophone recorder and used an old Mc donald's windup toy as the power source by talking (loudly) into the cone. The vibrations travel down the cone to the needle (slightly sharpened) and become etchings on the floppy disk. Still writing the instructable, will be up soon!

amplex (author)Amdivns2009-06-30

wow, always wondered how i could do this !!!!! please post!!!

fwjs28 (author)2009-04-14

WOW!.that is amazing

elleadnih (author)fwjs282009-04-29

this is awesome I am gonna do one!

DJShmeeejay (author)2009-04-25


FeedTheGrid (author)2009-04-21

Very cool. If I find all of those old floppies; now I know what to do with them! FTG

Amdivns (author)2009-04-20

I managed to make an actual working record card what you need is to make a stationary metal cone (basic microphone) connected to a sharp needle which will drag along a slowly spinning disc of plastic or wax, thin aluminium (I used the floppy). create a disc that when you pur a blunt sewing needle into a paper cone the system works backwards and plays the sound (which is the bumps in the metal. I will post an instructable on how to do this shortly

mortso (author)Amdivns2009-04-21

Do post it, that's a very cool project and reaches into the Mind of Thomas Edison!

shiboohi (author)Amdivns2009-04-20

wow sounds pretty complicated. how did you figure all of that out?

Sounds cool. Please post a link when you publish the Instructable.

mortso (author)2009-04-21

You should be able to use the head from a disk reader and actually record Audio onto the floppy disk. It's just recording frequency instead of Data. Then when you spin the disk you'd get sound. Think of it as a circular tape machine.

shiboohi (author)2009-04-19

really great instructable! i used a button and a metal sharpie pin for the needle, also i added one of those music players from a musical card and it played when you spin the wheel. you are very creative :) pretty awesome!

Thank you! How did you make the music player work when the disk spins?

well when the music player is in the card it plays when it is opened and it pulls on a tab, so i just cut a slot through the bottom of the card and taped the tab to the record and boom! there you go :)

Nimphious (author)2009-04-16

How about combining this idea with paper gears, and have the arm rotate when you spin the record? You'd have it geared down, say 20:1, so that you notice it's movement, but you can still spin the record quite a bit before having to go backwards to return the arm. Could also be a good excuse to remove the metal portion of the floppy magnetic disc, and replace it with a paper disc with their favourite song's album printed on it. If you were bored/ambitious enough, you could probably combine this with a little sound-chip from some random greeting card, and have it activated when the arm rotates past a certain point.

shiboohi (author)Nimphious2009-04-19

those sound like great ideas but the point of this instructable is to make a cool greeting card with minimal effort (thus the use of floppy disc).

WhyIsThisOpen (author)Nimphious2009-04-16

I would rank paper gears as more bored/ambitious than using a part from another greeting card.

controlledwrinkles (author)2009-04-17

I've seen this done in the past and it was a wee bit too geeky to ignore. And I've made quite a few of these things for fun and as Christmas decorations:

T-K (author)2009-04-16

AWESOME!! I am a DJ aspirant (you could call me that, or wannabe), so I hope i get this card for my birthday. But then it wouldn't be so exciting anymore. Damn. But still, an awesome idea! This is a great way to reuse them.

NoBonus (author)2009-04-16

I made this one at the office... we had no card stock so I cut the arm from an old business card and cut down a trashed manilla folder for the "card stock" Turned out beautifully! Nice instructable! One of my all time favs! Also, my beautiful spouse really enjoy receiving such a cool card (it is currently up on the fridge!) THANK YOU!

You're welcome. I'm glad to hear that folks are putting my 'ible to good use and coming up with design changes/additions of their own.

nilmahj (author)2009-04-16

This is absolutely GREAT! It would be cool to print out mini record labels (round stickers) with the recipients name as the artist of the album, and the name of a song that describes something that person likes. Very cool 'ible. 5 thumbs up. (stars)

Thanks, glad you like it. I made a few where I collaged on that spot, but custom round stickers would be even better.

Nekayah (author)2009-04-16

Yes, but how do you put sound on the disk, or is it just for text or images?

This is not a working turntable, it just looks like one, and the disk isn't usable for any kind of data storage after it's disassembled. If you could make a working player out of a floppy disk, that would be an instructable worth writing!

veganboyjosh (author)2009-04-16

with a little more setup and planning, you could also write words which are hidden and show through the little window in the silver part of the disc as you spin it. nice looking piece.

That would definitely be a cool addition.

thehonestape (author)2009-04-16

Very awesome! Might have to use this for some packaging projects I have in the works. Thanks.

pravardhan (author)2009-04-16

Very Good idea of utilizing old and bad sectored floppies into goodies.

rimar2000 (author)2009-04-14

The player arm (pick-up) has an angle, to enhance the tangency.

You can see this at

mweston (author)rimar20002009-04-14

I think the simplicity is what it is about, but if you really wanted to add an angle, i would only put the last inch at a 30-ish degree like the older style record players. Thats only my opinion though.... Good project BuildMakeCraftBake too!

Msweston is right, I was really going for a simple design here, but it's a good suggestion all the same.

elenilla (author)2009-04-15


LinuxH4x0r (author)2009-04-14


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