Ever wondered what to do with all those CDs in your collection, now that you've ripped them to your devices? I've always liked album covers, and I thought I'd share my idea on how to mount them and create some wall art.
It's appealing to chose a theme for each, such as colour or facial portraits, or as in this case a combination of themes. In this example, the albums fade to green and red at the top. In the worked example, I chose a white diagonal band and a more subtle line of albums on which there are square frames.
I thought a great deal about construction, both for simplicity and reasonable cost. I also wanted to ensure the covers will open to extract the CDs too. Lastly, although this example hangs on a picture rail and wire, I also wanted the option to screw to the wall, as in the worked example.
About an hour to fix, plus time to carefully select which CDs!
1 x perspex sheet, 120cm x60cm x 4mm
1 x double sided tape - prefer clear so there's no chance of showing. Choose a strong one, don't skimp on cost. I chose B&Q's Dial tape.
At least 36 CDs. You might need a few spare CD cases too.
Optionally, if you intend to hang it on a rail, 2 picture hooks and picture wire (not string).
Else, if you are screwing to a wall, 4 plugs and screws.
Optionally, if you want to cover the screw heads, chose capped mirror screws (with silver dome cap)
Step 1: Prepare Perspex Backing Sheet
Purchase a perspex sheet from a DIY store. This one is 120cm x 60cm and 4mm thick. At 4mm it's quite flexible but not too heavy. You might prefer thicker if you think the weight is acceptable for your wall.
You need to decide how you will hang the frame; picture hook or screwed directly to the wall? The former is two holes, the latter is four. By experiment I found the best place to drill is one-cd width in from the edges, which gave the straightest hanging profile (no sagging). So for a picture rail/hooks, just two at the top. For screwing to the wall, drill 2 at the bottom too. That is, 13 cm from the left or right edge, and 14.5 cm from the top (or bottom).
The perspex is slippery, so I use a cross of masking tape and an awl (or a sharp point like a nail if you don't have an awl) to put a hole in the tape and make a small mark on the perspex. Don't do this on a soft surface such as carpet, or the perspex will split. Don't start to drill without putting something under the perspex - I used an old piece of wood.
Drill the 2 or 4 holes, take time as the drill will melt the perspex rather than cut. Use a drill bit to match the screws (mine was 6mm), or about the same size if you intend to hang by wire.
If you are fixing to the wall, now's a good time to mark the wall through the holes before it gets too heavy with CDs.
Step 2: Arrange Your CDs!
Arrange your CDs in a 4x9 grid, on the floor - not on the perspex. It's quite fun and pleasing to build a theme, such as stripes, colours. I would avoid CDs that are double thickness, or the newer cardboard flap ones. Stick to similar jewel cases.
Step 3: Step 3: Fix CDs to Perspex
4 CDs span across evenly with a finger gap between. Start flush with the left and top edge, then the right and top edge. then place two evenly in the middle. You should find the holes that you drilled are at the lower corners of CDs 1-2 and 3-4.
Stick two strips of double-sided tape to the back of each CD. Press it firmly on. I found it is much stronger if you leave it to adhere for some time before placing it on the perspex, so I taped all the CDs first and left them for an hour or two. (Note the picture of the perspex shows a trial where I stuck the tape to the perspex first, which was less successful). The idea of the tape is that it allows flexibility for the case to open (the hinges protrude and push the perspex a few mm. You could use strong glue instead, if you don't want to ever open them. Place them on the perspex, taking great care to keep the gaps similar. Do this without sticking for the entire sheet, otherwise you may not find a consistent correct finger gap between each row.
Finally, methodically peel off the tape backing and stick them all on, press each firmly and hold for maybe 15-30 seconds each. It's important to leave the whole thing horizontal for as long as possible, maybe a day or two, before hanging. Otherwise some may fail to adhere. Stand back and admire :-)
Step 4: Hanging It
The main picture shows one hanging on two picture hooks. I found it best to thread the wire from the front of one hole, across the back horizontally, and then back out of the second hole. That way, the wire hangs through the gaps between the CDs on the top row. Use strong picture wire, it's heavy. Hook the wire around the picture hook, and back around itself several times as tight as possible.
If you want to fix to the wall instead, then have someone hold the perspex to the wall and pencil mark through the holes on the wall. Drill, plug and screw through. As noted earlier, it's easier to mark the wall before you stick CDs on. You will of course need a helper to hold in place while you fix the screws.
Be prepared for one or two cases to fall off. If you have a hard floor, be aware that the cases may break. I put something soft underneath for the first day or so. That said, it's easy to replace the cases.