Cassettes, cassettes, cassettes... why must we all own so many goddamn cassettes??? I mean, this technology hasn't been relevant for at least 15 years, and yet every single time I step into a new acquaintance's house I find myself instantly bombarded by an army of cassette tapes! On their bookshelves, under their beds, floating in the water wells behind their toilets... I swear, these damn cassettes are everywhere!!!
I lied repeatedly in that previous paragraph. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only person under the age of 45 in the western United States that still has a collection of cassettes lying around his house, but that doesn't change the fact that there are millions of them in some form of circulation in this country. But why do something with them, why not just throw them away or donate them to charity? Well for starters, you're a cheap bastard if you're going to give your antiquated collection of crappy pop music to charity and call it a "donation". Shame on you. Secondly, the plastic that was used to make cassette cases is the same nasty material that is currently used to make CD jewel cases - it is unrecyclable, and is about as biodegradable as a sack of polystyrene packing pellets, so it's not going anywhere anytime soon (as such, we might as well find some sort of use for it). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a lot of these old 80's pop cassettes look really cool, so they've got a lot of visual appeal built right into them.
This project also makes a great gift idea if your girlfriend's a spindly dark haired chick who wears non-prescription thick frame glasses all the time and keeps her pants up with a seatbelt that was salvaged from a 1970's era Buick Riviera, but if you're honestly dating that kind of girl... well, it's time for you to develop some standards. Seriously.
Step 1: Parts and Pieces
To make this project (and thereby make your life worth living again), you'll need just a few cheap components:
1. Nine audio cassettes with their cases. You should be able to pick these up for 50 cents a piece at a thrift store.
For this particular box I exclusively used cassettes from 80's hair metal bands, but you obviously could use cassettes from whatever genre you want (I've also done an early 90's rap one that prominently featured the finer releases of Naughty By Nature, just for the record).
2. A strong plastic adhesive of some sort,. I tested out a few glues before doing this project and found that Goop glue worked the best on this particular kind of plastic, so if you're going to go out and buy a new tube of glue that's the one I'd recommend.
3. A well ventilated room.
Step 2: Prep Work
You don't want these cassette cases to be randomly flying open and spewing magnetic tape all over the place, so before you get to actually making the box structure you need to open all of your cassette cases and run a thin line of glue down the long edge of the case's door (the thin clear part that the album artwork lies flat on), then close the cassettes back up and let the glue dry for however long your glue takes to dry.
Note: If you want, you can keep the actual audio cassettes and just make the box out of the cases, but I found that the cassettes add a nice weight and feel to the project once it's finished.
Step 3: The Lid: Part 1
Pick out the 2 cassettes that you want to have as the lid on your box (these will be the most visible, so they should probably be the 2 that you like the most). You can either put them side by side facing the same way, or you can flip one over so that the sides of the cassettes with the bands' names and album titles printed on them will be showing on both sides of the lid. As you can see in the photo, I took the latter route.
Once you have them oriented the way you want them, glue them together using your plastic glue. Wipe away any excess that may present itself.
Step 4: The Lid: Part 2
Flip your newly glued lid over so that you're looking at the back side of the cassette cases. Take 4 of your remaining tapes and stand them up like walls around the outside of your flipped over lid, like you're building a little castle of bad music.
After everything's even, take away two of the walls you've created, which will leave you with a 90 degree angle of cassettes. These remaining two cassette walls will act as a guide for you, as you next need to glue another tape to the underside of the lid (this will keep the lid from sliding around and falling off the box once this thing is finished).
Slather the backside of the cassette that you're going to put on the bottom of your lid with glue, then smush it down into the space your walls have kindly laid out for you (those walls... such magnanimous creatures). You'll have a little room for error on the long side of the cassette you're gluing down, but the short side needs to be pretty much flush up against the side wall if you want your finished product to fit together well. Note: If you don't want your finished product to fit together well, please return to step one, duct tape 2 of your cassettes to your nipples, and squeeze half a tube of your plastic glue directly into your mouth. Repeat until rational.
Once the glue sets your lid will officially be finished, so you can just set that aside for now.
Step 5: Building the Box: Part 1
Pick out the 2 cassettes that you want to use as the base of your box (good time to use ugly/not interesting ones if you have them), and glue them together just like you did earlier with the two from your lid (you can put them face up or face down, in relation to the rest of the box, it's up to you).
You're going to want to do the next few steps fairly quickly, as it helps if you can have your box's walls in their places before the glue holding them together fully hardens (that way you can slide your wall pieces around a little bit to get them exactly where you want them). Put a thin ribbon of glue along one of the full edges (one of the edges that isn't glued together in the middle) of your base, then press a cassette (with its front artwork facing outwards) into place in that spot.
You'll want for the edge of your wall cassette to be hanging off the base by just the tiniest little bit... about 1/16th of an inch, if you're a units and measures type of person. If you're a visual type of person, look at the third picture attached to this step.
Step 6: Building the Box: Part 2
Once you have that wall in place, quickly but calmly glue the other 3 side wall cassettes into place along their bases and their vertical edges. If they're slightly asymmetrical, or if one wall is leaning a bit outwards, take this chance to move things into their perfect place before the glue dries.
Step 7: The Almighty Finished Product
Once the glue dries on your box's walls you're officially done, so bust out the lid you made, park it in its rightful place, and sit back in awe of your ridiculously awesome accomplishment. Well, I guess it really isn't much of an accomplishment, but it's a pretty damn cool thing you've just made with minimal effort, and that in and of itself is awesome, right? Right.
FYI: This project was ported over to Instructables from my stupendously superb blog (almost verbatim, in fact), so if you liked this idea you should check out my other stuff. If you're incapable of clicking on an embedded link, the web address is: www.goodrubbish.blogspot.com
And with that, I shall bid you adieu: Adieu!