Brushed Metal: Free Aluminum CD Case Mod




I bring a lot of CDs back and forth to work, and so I'm always desperate for cases. I really love the aluminum cases that AOL sends you in the mail, but I hate to use them because they have that stupid yellow stick figure all over them. But, they are FREE, so that helps. Anyway, one day it hit me.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

1 - AOL Aluminum CD Case
1 - Sheet 60 Grit Sandpaper
1 - Roll Double-stick Scotch Tape
1 - Printed image
1 - Pair Scissors
1 - Bottle De-greaser
20 - Minutes With Nothing Else Better To Do

You may want to take off your wedding ring so you don't scratch it up too much.

I started with the regular case.

Step 2: Start Sanding

Then you take your sandpaper and begin removing the color from the metal in ONE single direction, back and forth. Try not to go the other direction yet, as that is how we get the pattern for the overlay image. Just go back and forth in 1 direction, remembering to lift up your sandpaper when you move to start sanding the next column of color from the metal.

When you get rid of all the color, it should look like this. Sorry they are blurry, but you should be able to see the scratches in one direction.

Step 3: Prepare Your Image

Find an image that you want to overlay and print it out.
Something blocky is best, as fine details will be lost in the sanding process.

Here is a rough cutout of the image that I will overlay.

Step 4: Tape and Cut the Image Pattern

Cut out the shape you want to overlay and turn it over.

Run strips of tape, all in the same direction, across the back of your cutout, and trim them. Remember, it's the shape of the tape that makes the image, so you want this part to look right. I'm sure you could put the tape on before you cut, so you don't have to cut the shape out twice, but you have to trim it up anyway

Step 5: Slap It on the Case

Align the image and stick it to the case.

Step 6: Sand Some More

Start sanding in the OPPOSITE direction you did before. Don't worry if the paper starts to peal away, just keep sanding. When you are done, it will look something like this...

Notice the bits of paper and tape still stuck on there...we'll get to those in a minute.

Step 7: De-grease

Now, we use our handy-dandy de-greaser. Just spray a little on there, rub it in, and let it sit a while:

Step 8: Peel and Enjoy

Peel away the gooey tape and paper junk and you've got your shadow image overlay.

I haven't figured out a good way to get rid of the blue haze left in the grooves on the front, but I think they actually look pretty cool.

Oh, yea: Put your wedding ring back on...your wife looks mad...



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    3 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    will it work using contact paper instead of taping the image?


    12 years ago on Introduction

    That's pretty neat, but I think AOL cases are steel. Alas, they change their packaging so often that one isn't guaranteed a supply of a personal favorite :-(


    12 years ago on Introduction

    interesting. you might want to try sandblasting your design into the metal, its actually really easy