This up-cycling project demonstrates how to take your old CDs and turn them into a very classy and elegant-looking product! It mimics the look of objects covered in little pieces of mirror and is especially effective in winter-themed decorations with its silver, icy reflections. I chose to make a vase, but this concept can be used for numerous other applications. If you have older children who like to craft, this would make an inexpensive craft to do together.
This project only requires some old CDs, a good pair of utility scissors, an object that you want to cover with the CD pieces, and a glue appropriate to the surface you want to adhere them to. I chose to work with glass, so I used glue designed to bond plastic to glass. I started with a very large empty food jar with straight sides. I had this on hand, but an old vase, picture frame, or other object with a largely flat surface would also work well. I used a bottle cutter to remove the threaded portion at the top of my jar and sanded the edge smooth before I began to work with the CDs. (For more on how to use a bottle cutter, see my Old Jar Water Carafe post.)
This crafting idea takes advantage of the wonderful reflective qualities on the back of CDs. However, I discovered while doing this project that CDs are not all created equal! In these photos, you will see a CD with a green tinge to it and one that is more silver-colored. I tried cutting both of them, thinking that I would “mix and match” them on my vase, but I found that the greenish one is really not appropriate for this craft. The reflective surface is the result of a fragile film which flakes very easily when the CD is cut. Even my silver CDs had some differences. Some of them could be cut into specific shapes, while others were very brittle and split and shattered along the cut edge. You need to have CDs that you can cut into straight lines. Since there is some trial and error involved here, be sure that you have more CDs on hand than you think you need for your project.
The concept behind this craft is very simple—cut the CDs into smaller pieces and glue them mosaic-style to the surface of the object to be covered. However, cutting the CDs can be a challenge. I recommend the use of safety glasses since the pieces tend to snap off rather forcefully at times. Though any pair of utility scissors should work, a spring-loaded pair will be much easier on your hand.
There are several things to consider before you actually begin cutting the CDs. The shapes you cut will be determined by the look you want to achieve, the shape of the object you wish to cover, and the time you want to invest. The varied “shattered glass” look that I used on this vase will take longer than tracing (on the front side of the CD) and cutting same-sized shapes. Also, smaller pieces must be used to cover curved objects, while large uniform shapes will make short work of objects with flat surfaces.
When you begin the gluing process, you want to use just enough glue to adhere the pieces to the surface of the project and allow for a little bit to become the “grout” between the pieces. Too little glue will result in loose pieces and obvious gaps between them. Too much glue will leave unsightly clumps in the seams or streak the surface of the CDs. Depending upon the glue you use, you might be able to clean some of it off of the finished project with non-acetate finger nail polish remover. Be sure to use the non-acetate kind. Acetate does not do kind things to the shine on the CDs!
As you can see, this vase does very well with a winter arrangement. All I had to add was some red berry stems and some twigs; the vase itself provided the look of icy frost. However, its true beauty is only seen when it is placed in direct sunlight! Shards of light scatter in every direction and miniature rainbows appear amid the reflections. The picture of this does not do it justice. It is truly glorious!
As I was working on this project, I was struck by the similarity between my effort of cutting and placing each piece on the vase exactly where I wanted it and the Biblical teaching that God places each of us in the body of Christ just as it pleases Him (I Corinthians 12:18). After seeing first-hand the time and attention that it took me, it was marvelous to ponder the care and attention of God for His children. I thought that this was the spiritual truth demonstrated by this particular project, but when I saw the vase in the sunlight, I saw another truth brilliantly highlighted by the reflected light. Just as the vase reflected the light from the sun and was made glorious by it, so we, as members of the body of Christ, reflect His light to the world; each member is “shaped and angled” to reflect that light exactly as He has planned. And it is His light that makes us beautiful and glorious! “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. [so that] …ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:13&15d).