How to Make Pendants and Charms From Old CDs




Introduction: How to Make Pendants and Charms From Old CDs

I had this idea when I was looking for a way to make a Chocobo Dungeon inspired pendant. As some of you may know, Chocobo has a shiny, multicolored puzzle piece on it's bag. I figured it would be a nice way to re-use a scratched or obsolete CD and I made three different shapes of pendants for jewelry, keychains, bag/cell phone charms.

Step 1: Material

For this you will need...

Old CD's
A sharpie
A dremmel kit with different bits
Protective glasses and gloves
A beading, wiring kit

This is a very messy project, so I suggest you work outside or in a workshop. Hot pieces of plastic fly away a lot while carving the shapes, so you will REALLY need gloves and glasses.

Also, I noticed that different brands and types of CD's / DVD's react differently to the carving tools. Some of them lost their backing, or separated in two differents layers. Make more pieces than you need and expect some of them not to come out the way you want them to.

Step 2: Choosing and Marking Images Onto the CD's

To choose the perfect shape to make a pendant, think stencil. Choose an image that doesn't have any unattached, loose parts. Unless you are much more skilled than me with the power tools, try to choose  one that is not too small or detailed.

I printed my images and cut around them, then stenciled them unto the CD's.

Step 3: Start the Carving!

I don't have many pictures of how I cut them, because, again, I only have two hands.

I started by using a big bit, and making an approximative cut around the shape. Once the piece got separated from the CD, I used the same bit to smooth the contour of the shape.

I then switched to a smaller, drill type bit. I used it to mark the details (eyes and mouth of the hello kitty, smaller grooves in the dragonfly's wings, and make the pendant holes.)

I chose a top shaped bit to smooth the edges of the shape even more, and remove the bits of melted plastic that remained on the edges.

This was mostly a trial and error method, since I had never used a Dremmel before. This was quite an easy project, and I am sure that if you prepare a couple of extra pieces to practice on, you will find a technique that will work perfectly for you.

Step 4: Finish and Create!

I am still looking for a way to put a finish on the back of the CD to prevent the multicoloured backing from chipping away with wear. Feel free to give me ideas!

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed !

Well sorry about the poor quality of the finished product pictures, but they are really hard to capture properly because of the glare.



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    31 Discussions

    As far as the photographs are concerned, use separate lights (like desklamps) so you can arrange them to get the best colour reaction, then turn off the flash on your camera. That's what is overpowering your images, I think.

    1 reply

    I have like a thousand broken, old cd's at home. I'm going to work on them today and make jewelry to get some cash. it's a awsome way to be creative and win some money doing it

    Well the wire I used to make the jump ring to connect the pendants to a chain or a piece of string, but if you have a ready-made jump ring you could use that as well. You could use crazy glue to attach the pendant to another part, let's say you want to make a brooch or a hair clip you could use the glue to attach it to the pin or clip.

    You could use gorilla glue and glue a magnet to the backs, and use a second magnet to hold it to a shirt, blouse. No damage to any of anyones clothes.
    Then you would not have to worry about the back side....

    I've tried clear nail polish and sealants and they don't work. If you use the cds that you buy in bulk from an office supply store they peel. Haven't found anything yet that will keep it from doing so. But the AOL and other junk cds that have had pictures put on them don't peel. Made bracelets and earring from them for years and hobby knife and scissors will cut them too just not into detailed pieces. LOVE this idea!

    I would suggest using a thick piece of sticky laminate for the back. You can apply it to just the one side, and it should prevent flaking. The stuff generally stays on pretty good, and if you have doubts you can always get the extra thick and sticky stuff. Thanks for the submission, it's awesome.

    I thought this was pretty cool! I'm big on reusing stuff. It almost made me wish for the days of all those AOL cd's again. As for the backs, have you tried coating them with a thin layer of resin? Or you could always try clear nail polish.

    1 reply

    Before coating your finished piece with either resin or clear nail polish you might want to try it on an uncut cd first. I think there is a very good chance that the resin or clear nail polish will kill some or all of the rainbow effect. I think the resin or nail polish would get into the small grooves that make up the diffraction grating that I believe produces the rainbow effect. Perhaps a clear piece of plastic like that used to package so many different items these days. A rim could be cut and gluing the clear piece of plastic to the rim should keep the glue from affecting the rainbow effect.

    Your pendant looks great! I just thought I would mention that another way to cut cd's is with a die cut machine. If you know a scrapbooker or mixed media artist they likely have one. There are lots of puzzle piece dies too as well as many, many other shapes. If you want just a more random shape that you could cut free hand, if you take a heat tool (for embossing in rubber stamping and other art) and heat up the cd with it a bit then you can cut it with regular scissors. I'm a mixed media artist. I and other artists I know are always trying to come up with ways to use old cd's. So we make clocks, jewelry, wind chimes, etc. They are great to rubber stamp on and you can heat emboss them (with embossing powders) too and of course you can always collage them. Just some other decorating ideas if one wanted to make a variety of pendants or other items. The pieces after they are cut and decorated (like yours) make great wine glass charms and wine bottle labels. You just make a hole in the piece then put it on one of those earring hoops to go on the stem of the glass. You can punch holes in the bottom of the piece and add charms or beads too if it is a pendant. Thanks for sharing your fun pendant!

    2 replies

    You mention using a heat gun, have you tried a hair dryer? I wonder if the heat would be great enough.

    Thank you for the great idea. Unfortunately I do not own a die-cut machine, and I am not very handy in a workshop... So this was the only way I could think of carving an image out of a cd. But your idea opens up a lot of room for new ideas! Thank you so much!

    The golf ball tokens at the local hitting range look exactly like those. I think that If I bought me one of them for like 10 cents and drilled a little hole in it it would look just like this but shiny and metal.

    Great job. I do some lapidary and jewelry and I've tried cutting shapes out of CDs on my diamond band saw but I've never had anything turn out as nice as yours.