Introduction: 44 Fanciful Uses for Dud Discs

What do you do with all those dud discs?
You know the kind I mean-

-that CD of Joe Nobody playing Golden Oldies on nose flute that you got for $1 and are too ashamed to give to Auntie Flo after all
-the CD you burnt with that one song you were obsessed with, listened to 40,000 times and never want to hear again
-the CD your ex gave you with sappy songs you never liked
- the free sample film/TV show promo or software CD
-the game you played in 1990- and is a bit outdated
- the install disc from 3 printers ago, or the camera you lost
- the “Gonna make you a MILLIONAIRE” DVD that seemed good
-the DVD you tried to make that won’t play on any of your DVD players (or that you maybe wouldn’t want anyone to see anyhow)
-the CD or DVD you mucked up when you burnt it,
- and most annoying of all, the brand new CD that your computer won’t record onto no matter what you do!

What a waste to throw away these potentially valuable, shiny, beautifully formed objects.. so I set myself the task of coming up with new uses for them- some obvious, some practical, some fun, some just silly. It seemed like a worthwhile thing to do at the time.... and after numerous hours of experimenting and photographing, here’s the list.

Step 1: Fun for Kids

1. Make a mini magic magnet skate rink (see pics 1 & 2): make a tiny ice skater from thick paper; tape it into a bent paper clip so it stands up, put it on the shiny side of the disc and use a small magnet underneath to make it move around

2. Make a racetrack from cardboard, make “wheelies” by gluing discs to both ends of a cotton reel (or something similar), then race your wheelies

3. Make play-dough for your child - pics 3 , 4 & 5 (mix 1 cup/mug of flour and 1/2 cup salt, stir in a large spoonful of cooking oil then add enough hot water to make a firm dough; colour with food colouring); use discs for pretend plates, to cut the dough up to play with, to press it flat and to make patterns in the dough.

Step 2: Spinning Tops

4. Make a spinning top: find a thick pencil stub or some other short, fat, pointed stick; put it through the hole -use blu-tak, plasticine etc if necessary to make a snug fit; decorate either side if you like with DVD markers. (Note- If you’re using a pencil for the shaft, make sure you spin it on a surface that you won’t mind being marked by the pencil lead).

5. Experiment with your spinning tops- make thick paper discs to put on top, with different patterns – stripes, radiating patterns, spirals, etc- or draw patterns on the shiny side with a DVD marker- and see what happens when you spin the disc

6. Have spinning top competitions – see who can spin for longest

7. Make different “character” spinning tops and “battle” them – use a tray, piece of cardboard or tabletop for a “battlefield” and see if you can knock your opponent’s top off the field

Step 3: Fun and Games

8. Use discs as Mini Frisbees (photo 1) - but only if you have lots of space and don't throw AT people as they're sharp - better to throw at a (non-living) target or into a container as a contest.

9. Flying Saucers- decorate your discs and see who can throw it highest and furthest

10. Have a competition to see who can roll one the furthest

11. Learn Morse Code and use your disc to reflect a light and flash surreptitious messages from your window at night

12. For older “kids” (photo 2): join 3 discs together with blobs of Blu-tak (or plasticine), shiny side in, and experiment with a laser pointer or pencil torch to make patterns (make sure you protect your eyes if using a laser; don't angle discs up towards your face)

Step 4: Party Time

13. Decorate a dark room with discs, shiny side out, around the walls (and hanging), then use fancy lights, including strobe if you can, for a great party effect

14. Use as a base for a thick candle (photo 1)

15. Design a party invitation as a disc label (use your computer), print out, glue onto label side of disc and mail to guests

16. Make a “disc-o” fancy dress costume: find a colourful (or plain black) dress or top in your wardrobe or buy from a charity shop, then sew or glue discs all over it, shiny side out (photo 2)

17. Use shiny-side up as markers on the ground for, e.g., a torchlight treasure hunt trail at a Halloween or night time kids’ party

Step 5: Decorating, Photography

18. Find little shiny or metal objects and glue them (with a hot glue gun) onto a disc base to make a mini sculpture

19. Glue a photo in the centre of the shiny side and use as a novel photo frame (prop up with thick, bent card behind) - photo 1

20. Use the shiny side as an emergency reflector to reduce shadow when taking a photo with a flash or in strong light- photo 2

21. Replace an old picture in a frame with a pieces of card with discs glued onto it, to make an unusual wall decoration -photo 3

Step 6: Picnics, Camping

22. Put one on your glass or can of soft drink when you’re outside to keep the wasps off (put a small piece of duct tape over the hole on  both sides)- Photo 1

23. Use at an outdoor picnic or party to make a level spot on the grass to rest your wine glass on- Photo 2

24. Use as weights so your picnic table cloth doesn’t blow around- peg onto the corners of the cloth - Photo 3

25. Use when camping as a saucer for your tin mug when you have a hot drink - Photo 4

26. Sitting on wet ground? Use four discs to make a little dry patch

Step 7: Mealtimes, Snack Time

27. Use as a stand for a teapot Photo 1

28. Use them as drink coasters to protect your table tops Photo 2

29. Put one under your honey pot to catch the drips

30. Use some on your dining table for the cream jug, sauce etc to protect your tablecloth Photo 3

31. Use as a lid to put on your hot mug of coffee Photo 4

32. Use them as hamburger stackers (with greaseproof paper in between)

Step 8: Household Practical Uses

33. Use a disc as an emergency plate for pet food Photo 1

34. Use as a bookmark Photo 2

35. Peg a note onto a disc so it doesn’t blow away Photo 3

36. Glue a magnet on the back, put a peg on top and use to hold notes on your fridge Photo 4

Step 9: Outdoors

37. Hang them in the garden to scare birds away from your new seeds, vegies etc

38. Glue or nail onto posts at your gate and along your driveway to act as reflectors - photo 1

39. Use as a mini-shovel in the garden -photo 2

Step 10: Christmas

40. Make mini snowmen as Christmas decorations: mix salt dough (see " Fun for Kids" for recipe- leave out colouring - this recipe makes one snowman); form into a little snowman about 4 inches/10cm high, place on a disc, shiny side up, sprinkle with a little extra salt and decorate with little twigs, a bottle top hat and a strip of material for a scarf - see photos 1 & 2.

41. Photo 3 - Cut a circular picture out of a Christmas card or paper to cover the non-shiny side, glue it on (add a small loop for a hanger) and hang on your Christmas tree. Use craft glue or strong glue. You can glue tinsel around the edge if you like. 

42. Do the same as above, but without the hanger, and put little gift or chocolates on top; wrap up with cellophane and tie at the top for a novel gift presentation

43. Stick a thin candle through the hole and use as a drip collar for Carols by Candlelight -Photo 4

Step 11: And Finally...

44. Drive your nosy family mad: label a dud disc “my Top Secret files” and leave lying around...

Have fun!

How many more uses can you find for these handy little discs?