Artistic Designs on Compact Discs




Introduction: Artistic Designs on Compact Discs

Having a lot of CDs around with only a few words labeled on a silver faceplate is painful for the eyes. I have come up with an idea, for the last 2 years, of making your own CD cover by using only a few tools, a walkman, a couple of water-based or permanent marking pens and a clip.

NOTE: I am not responsible for any type of damage, either by loss of information, physical or economical, due to the use of this technique. You have been warned.

Step 1: Before Starting . . .

Firstly, you need a CD Walkman, one of those that can only run once the lid is closed. The lid has a little plastic or metal extension that enters a little hole and hits a small button that turns the system on. If you can insert a piece of a clip, or something similar, into that cavity, and keep it stable, and have a CD running freely with the lid open, you can start working.

Step 2: Before Starting (2)

2. Insert the clip or plastic. Make sure that the Walkman identifies the CD you are about to use and begins to play it. Have an AC or DC current plugged in the Walkman or have your batteries fully charged. Turn off the volume and the bass and set it to repeat the first track of the CD, therefore it'll run much faster. Make sure the CD doesn't have any physical contact with the clip or plastic.

3. You are ready to begin.

Step 3: Drawing on Your CD

There are some methods I discovered to make a great design on the CD. You can make lines that strike with a 90° or so angle from a single line you draw on the CD. You can mix colors if you have water-based pens or make your CDs look like LPs with a black permanent pen. You can draw almost any design using this technique, but you can use stensils to draw custom design on them, which is more practical.

1. The basic of this technique is to have a still, smooth hand. Take some diazepam to stop your shaking (if you have any, hehe). Press play on the Walkman. Place the pen SOFTLY on the CD, do not press too hard or the CD will run slower, but make sure you keep its speed steady and draw slowly. While drawing, look at the line you draw. If the line flickers, keep drawing on the same spot, moving the pen slowly up and down the area you want to draw on. You can move further once the line doesn't flicker. If you leave the line flickering, once you stop the CD from spinning, only a fraction of the line you tried to draw will appear.

2. You can change colors, mix them, or etch different lines with different sizes and colors. You can even draw a rainbow on your CD, which looks cool.

3. There is another technique I discovered while experimenting on these CDs. If you keep drawing a line, for about 15 seconds, you can place your finger on the line, soflty, and keep drawing, with the CD running. Lift your finger and place it back again on the line as long as you like. NOTE: once you do this, there will be ink from the pen flying all around your workplace, so have a water solution or alcohol and a towel nearby.

The resulting design will be the following: lines that will come out of the original line you were working on.

Step 4: Extra Notes

Your Walkman will get dirty from this, so will your clothes and your workplace. This happens if you use water-based pens, although I am not really sure if this occurs with permanent ink pens.

One thing you need to be careful of is when using water-based pens on your CDs, the ink will move from its place if you touch it, so make sure you place it on a dry, cool place, without touching the design. You make not touch the CD for a few days or weeks, as it takes time for the water-based ink to dry completely. If you live in a hot and humid place, don't use water-based ink, as it evaporates, as shown in the image above.

Step 5: Ending

Have fun! If you select great colors that match with the music, it'll be worth the time spent doing these designs.



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    11 Discussions

    I used to write on my cd's with, years later. There a little spots where the marker eventually ate through and they are ruined. Just so you know. Long term prognosis: not so good.

    2 replies

    oh crap. thats bad. all my treasured photo data is stored on CDS labeled with sharpies...

    they have markers specially made for CDs.. I'd get a set of those!

    Hmmm, not a bad idea. I think I'll try it , since I have a cd player collecting dust as I speak :P Thanks ;)

    Thank you for posting this! I always used to do this with my CD's and I tried to explain to my friends how I did it, but they just thought I was crazy. lol. It's glad to know someone thinks alike!


    11 years ago

    Nice instructable. Made a rainbow design on the second CD I tried this on, and it came out pretty good. It's hard to get a good, solid line near the outside of the CD, though, because it starts to slow down. Used colored sharpies.


    You can make thicker lines, with contrasting colours. Then pour a thin layer of rubbing alcohol on the center/clear part of the cd. Spin up the CD in the player and you'll tie-die effects. Leave the alcohol to evaporate and yer done. Looks somehting like your very last image

    2 replies

    be careful doing that, i used to have some (p.o.s.)CD's that would fall apart if water got on them. but that sounds really cool to do, especially if the colors blend together.

    yup, use alcohol. Any cd that falls apart on contact with moisture should be avoided.

    Try gently using a sharpie.