How to Recycle Jewel or CD Cases Into Picture Mounts

Introduction: How to Recycle Jewel or CD Cases Into Picture Mounts

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

Instead of buying frames, and throwing away used jewel cases, make the cases serve as picture mounts. This instructable will show you how. Any number of photos or souvenir programs, cards, memories, etc., can be mounted this way very cheaply, and you are  being green by recycling or reusing the cases.  Make them different sizes for variety, and they can be displayed on a wall by adding the appropriate hanger(s).

Step 1: Get a Case and Some Tools Together

These cases are everywhere, it seems, I used to get them at work  from manufacturers reagents (chemicals) that included one case with every lot. They can also be purchased and are a good source for small pieces of plastic.  Tools are simple: straight edge, box cutter knife or craft knife, a drill or drill press to make holes in the plastic, some paper and some glue. An awl or ice pick is handy for making holes.

Step 2: Dismantle and Trim Jewel Case

Gently pry the case apart so that you end up with two good pieces of plastic (top and bottom of the case).  I discard the molded part that holds the CD, but that too could be used for something.  To get the cover for our photo, we need to trim off the edges. Following the photos, score at the inner angle of the piece, and snap off the edges. You may need a pair of pliers, but do this gently so that you end up with a flat piece of plastic that can be used as the face of your project. Be extremely careful when "cutting" or scoring plastic.  Make sure the parts don't move, and never cut towards yourself. Not to be attempted by children!

Step 3: Cut Cardboard to the Size of the Trimmed Plastic

When you have your plastic piece ready, use it as a template to make a square of cardboard. This piece of cardboard can be covered with black paper, or any color for that matter.  Cover the edges of the cardboard too by using edging strips as shown.

Step 4: Drill Holes in Plastic

Simple enough, but I have found the best way to drill this plastic is with a glass bit as shown. If you use regular wood bits, there is a very good chance you will shatter the plastic.  That doesn't happen with the glass bit.

Step 5: Glue Picture of Choice

To glue paper and picture in place, I used white glue for the black paper. Then a glue stick can be used for the photo, and the white frame surrounding it.  All are sandwiched together, then the plastic is screwed on. 

Step 6: Screw All Parts Together

Once plastic is drilled I placed it on the black mount exactly in the position that I wanted it to be. Then using an awl (you can use an ice pick as well), mark the four screw holes, remove plastic, and enlarge the holes so that you can insert the bolts.  These bolts don't need nuts as the cardboard will hold them secure enough for this small piece. (Don't make the holes too large).

Step 7: Make a Stand for Your Photo

Cut a support, or stand, out of a strip of wood. I think my blank was a strip 1 and 5/8 in. wide.  I set my saw to 15degrees, and cut out the piece.  You can do this with a miter box, or just use a protractor, make two marks in the shape shown, and then saw on the marks. Here, I have painted this support black.  This will make a pleasing angle to view as the photo(s) sits on the shelf or desk.

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    3 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The wall in my guest bathroom is made of stupid marble (previous owners) so I can't hang a picture so I have been using CD cases for awhile to put up pics that would normally live out their life on my computer, your way is way better and would look great on a desk or a stupid marble wall. I just wanted to show you what a whole bunch would look like. I use removable adhesive foam tabs to keep them on the wall but every now and again one falls down. Great 'ible Cman, you are amazingly prolific!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great use for something that would normally be discarded. Thanks for the tip regarding a glass bit, I cracked the plastic everytime drilled. I will try this.