Introduction: I Made It at TechShop Planter

This unique planter is made from unused, upcycled CD Jewel cases. By using the Trotec Laser Cutter at TechShop-Pittsburgh I etched each with quotes and borders.

Step 1: I Made It at TechShop Planter

This planter recycles old CD Jewel cases that you have lying around the home or office into a unique planter, laser etched with your personal designs.

Using a program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, set-up 1 - 4 different designs to be etched onto the covers of your Jewel Cases. To make things easy a square of 4.75" can serve as your art board area. (Actual size is 4.75" wide by 4.715" high if you want to be exact.) I chose plant oriented quotes along with plant / vine type borders.

Using a Laser Cutter, import your designs into the machine and set the values to etch plastic/acrylic. You may need to do some testing to find the best setting so make sure you have a few extra jewel cases. You can of course use both sides of a case for your testing but only one side for you final product. I etched mine at TechShop - Pittsburgh using their Trotec 300 laser cutter using the default settings for plastic/acrylic on the laser.

For information on TechShop visit them at .

Step 2:

Once you have your jewel cases etched, remove the black (sometimes white) CD holder from the case. Be careful not to pull up on the cover or you might break the hinges. This would not be a project ending problem but it might be a little more difficult in gluing.

Step 3:

Decide on how you want your etched jewel cases arranged. Take a fifth case, this one should be blank since it's the base and leave the cd holder inside OR make sure that the back of the case is INSIDE the box since the front has the gap from the missing CD holder. I got lucky and had some soft plastic cases that were just a bit smaller than the standard jewel case allowing for a better overlap. Dry fit your cases together checking on the arrangement and working out the overlap. Once you have that decided, apply a good, strong, waterproof glue to the end of one case and attach it to the back of another right at the edge. Apply glue to two edges of the base jewel case and attach it to the first two. Add the other two cases attaching each to the base and to the other cases. Use masking tape to hold the cube together while the glue dries and sets.

Step 4:

Once your cube is assembled and taped together take your glue and run a bead of it along the inside edges to create a better bond and to make the cube more waterproof. Remember you're going to have a living plant inside and they need watered. If your glue isn't clear and waterproof you can use a clear silicon sealant that you can get from your local hardware store.

Step 5:

Allow your glue to properly dry and set-up. This often takes up to 24 hours. Check your glue's label for instructions and time. Once this is done you can remove your masking tape. Your jewel cases are now a planter ready for your plant. Add some decorative stone or glass marbles to the bottom of the planter. This is a nice decorative touch since your planter is clear and it allows for some drainage.

Step 6:

Put in some potting soil and a plant and help the environment by recycling your old jewel cases and adding an oxygen giving plant to your home or office.