Uses for CDs

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Rather than discarding old unwanted CDs put them a new and creative use. This is a page about uses for CDs.


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I live in an area that does not have street lights and at night it is difficult to "see" my driveway. I checked on red reflectors and they are quite expensive.

I have now placed old computer disks on my mail box post and they reflect great. We arranged them in a "pattern" so they look attractive all the time.

I also placed some in my trees at Christmas and these are really neat with some outdoor lights shining in their direction.

My granddaughter had a party and used some for indoor decorations and everyone liked this idea.

I am sure there are lots more uses for CDs, so start using the old ones sitting on a shelf!

By cybergrannie Was this helpful? 10

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June 9, 2011

My students leave me a file of CDs after every semesters as part of the compilation of their projects. After reviewing the contents, all of them go up on our trees, trellis, or around the garden. It's so fun to look at them both in daytime and at night. Some says they looked like fireflies in the distance!


By Fe N. Evangelio from Philippines

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April 24, 2012

We always seem to have a lot of old CDs laying around, so I used them as party invitations for one of the kids' parties. We wrote on them with permanent markers and the kids decorated them with stickers.

CD Party Invitation

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July 21, 2014

I have 2 apricot trees that I started from seed. They are now over 7 feet tall, after only 5 years. When they start to bloom, I hang old CDs from a string on the branches.


The birds don't like the reflections, especially if there is a breeze to move them around.

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November 13, 2007

Used CD/DVD disks make great paint palettes for acrylic or oil paints, or even the oil sticks used for stenciling.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

ThriftyFun Staff
December 23, 2000

Does anyone have lots of ideas or a source for lots of ideas on how to recycle those CDs we all get in the mail almost daily? I will appreciate any help.

Liz J


December 28, 20000 found this helpful

I gave several thousand to a friend for a theme party. She used them as coasters, put holes in them and strung them like a bead curtain (as a backdrop to the buffet table, and used them as reflectors for outdoor Christmas lights.


Hope this give some fresh ideas.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 5, 20010 found this helpful

: Request :
Does anyone know what to make out of all those Internet CD's that arrive in the mail? - Andrea
Editor's Note: The more creative the better!

: Answer :
I have a hard time throwing out anything, I can see something in every piece of junk. I used my "junk" CD's to decorate a small Christmas tree in my office at home; naturally I did not display the printed side. Lots of compliments and FREE, FREE, FREE.
If you are into wreaths, you could do an office type wreath using the "junk" CD's and other related office/computer type items. Trash to treasures is my motto. - Ms. Syd Barr - Dunkirk, MD


: Answer :
Many sent in this answer. Here's a compilation of the answers:
I use the junk CD's that arrive in the mail almost daily for coasters. Cover the printed side with something pretty (stickers, paint, contact paper) and use a permanent marker on the shiny side to make designs. The hole in the middle doesn't seem to make any difference. You can also put those little felt circles on one side to distinguish them from the good CD's.

They also fly pretty good, try decorating and giving to the kids to play Frisbee. - Melissa, Ray, Gerry and The Rivers Family

: Answer :
A friend of mine once broke a few CDs up into small pieces and glued the pieces to a Styrofoam ball (one like you would buy in a craft store.) If you put the pieces close together and paint the ball in between the pieces, it looks a lot like a 70's-style disco ball.


This would be a great inexpensive way to decorate for a theme party, or just a great conversation piece! - Leslie Cowart

: Answer :
Go to They have a craft there for kids for making the planet Saturn out of old/unusable/unneeded CDs. - Mel

: Answer :
You can use them to make hot pads to set hot dishes on. Crochet comes to mind, using natural fibers crochet two circles large enough to cover CD, then join. - Linda

: Answer :
I haven't tried this, but I read somewhere to hang them in your outside trees, as the wind blows & the sun shines on them, that they're pretty and very eye catching. - Terri H.

: Answer :
The cd's you get in the mail make great driveway markers! Or lay them out in different shapes and put on the wall (i.e. Xmas trees) for holiday decorating. - Judy

: Answer :
You can make a clock out of them, you can use the back or the front side. You can also decoupage pictures on them first. Use them with pictures of your family on them and hang them on the wall, or put ribbons through them and hang them on the wall or throughout your home. They look very nice and I have seen them in stores for quite a bit of money. - Patty

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June 9, 20040 found this helpful

I had quite a collection of CD's which come in the mail and hated to throw them in the trash. I asked our pre-school director if she had a use for them She went somewhere on line and found they could be decorated and made into sun catchers. She plans to do this with the ones I gave her and any others she gets. The children will love this.

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By June Jackson (Guest Post)
July 30, 20040 found this helpful

You will find lots of suggestions on my site at - some serious and some seriously whacky.

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By grace (Guest Post)
April 12, 20050 found this helpful

I hang them on the trees and shrubs I don't want the deer to feed on. As the DC twists in the breeze the reflection scares the deer away.

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January 8, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, you could send them to and buy one of their cleverly recycled cd clocks to complete the recycling cycle! They have great designs :)

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January 8, 20060 found this helpful


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May 20, 2009

Does anyone have any uses for CDs or DVDs? I hoard them in hopes of finding a neat way to use them.

By KAREN ADAMS from Hastings, NE


May 20, 20090 found this helpful

I paint on them. They make great sun catchers. Can decorate or paint and use for displaying candles. My neighbor drills a hole in the, paints one side, strings 2 or 3 on 1 string and hangs them in her garden to scare the birds.

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May 20, 20090 found this helpful

I've seen them hung in trees to scare birds when fruit is ripening. I've also seen them hanging in trees outside at Christmas as ornaments.

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August 31, 2017

If you don't want birds in your garden, especially if you have fruit trees, CDs can provide a bright flash that many birds avoid. Using CDs to keep birds out of your garden is a common and effective practice.

CDs Hanging on Clothesline to Keep Birds Out of Garden

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February 20, 2012

This is a page about crafts using CDs. Making crafts with recycled CDs is fun and cheap for adults and children alike.

CD Spinner Top - finished top with colorful paper top

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 20, 2009

Card Holder from CDs
Card Holder from CDs

Here are some uses for old CDs and DVDs suggested by our ThriftyFun community.

Use As Reflector to Scare Birds and More

This tip was passed on to me and I thought it would be great here. Use the old junk mail CD's you get promoting internet servers as a reflector on the front and back of the Halloween costumes, just make sure the reflective side is showing. Glue on, Velcro or tape it if it's a plastic costume and it keeps the little ones safe. I wonder if it would be too bright to put at the end of a driveway? I might have to try that.

You can use them to scare away birds from the garden, by hanging them around on poles or trees. Play a flying disc game similar to horseshoes buy make two circles on the ground and toss CDs like a Frisbee. OK, that's enough. Have fun.

By Dee

Use As Mosaic Material

Cut them randomly with scissors and glue on a box for a mosaic. It's quite a challenge to fit the pieces, shiny side up back together, but it can be done. It gives a nice broken glass effect. As you do this and find you are working with slivers, you can custom cut pieces to fit exactly how you need them too.

By melody_yesterday


Save old CDs and DVDs. Cover with contact paper and use as coasters.

By K J Grau

Cute Candy Gift

This is something that I have done with those old CD's we all seem to get in the mail. I painted the advertisement side black. On the computer, I made a "birthday label" on card stock, which is better than a label, cut it out and glued it over the center hole area on the shiny side of the CD and hot glued twelve pieces of hard candy around the disk. To the back side, I used one of those free heavy duty magnets, that some pharmacies give out, to the back. This will hold to a fridge quite well.

I used this as a gag gift. I sealed it in a bag and added a a computer generated note card with the saying: "Happy Birthday - A Years Supply Of Candy, If You Only Eat One A Month!"

By Syd

Clock Face

Make a clock. The clock works fit in the hole and you can decorate the clock in any number of ways.

By Vonda

Garden Decoration

You can use a couple of them to string up together and hang outside. As the wind blows them, they make a beautiful light reflection.

By Sheree

Christmas Ornaments

Hang them on a pine tree outside at Christmas. Pretty ornaments.

By Marti

Wind Chimes

I am going to make wind chimes and hang in our veggie garden to scare away birds (hopefully).

By Ruth Kennedy

Lace Picture Ornaments

We use them to make picture ornaments. For my daughter's Brownie Bridging, I took a picture of the troop and glued it to the shiny side. Then I put thin lace 1/4" around the edge with hot glue, made a hanger out of ribbon, then covered the back with felt. I decorated around the picture with small stickers, and a congratulations sign. They loved them and my daughter still has hers in the living room. We have done them for Grandparents with child's photos and with holiday photos as ornaments for the tree.

By Debbie

Make A Rainbow Fish or Elephant

The CD can be used as the body for a fish with the story, "Rainbow Fish". Just add fins and lips and glue on the eye.

I have also used them with elephant stories, such as Elmer or Englebert the Elephant, with the CD being the head of the elephant, glue on eyes, and gray ears on the sides made from gray felt. The child sticks their pointer finger through the hole for the trunk.

By Trina

Reflectors For Christmas Lights

You can use them as reflectors on strings of lights for the holidays. Just unscrew the bulbs and put the CD over the socket and screw the bulb back in. Works great for your patio, too.

Make Chain Mail

I saw a nice display in a store where they had drilled holes in them and linked them together like so many pieces of "chain mail" - it had a nice mod look to it.

They can also be used to chase away unwanted birds on your boat or in the garden.

By Pamphyila

Emergency Reflector

A relative told me to always carry an old CD with me when I went hiking. In the event that I got lost, the CD would reflect and get the attention of search and rescue helicopters.

By patricia sudduth

Photo Christmas Ornaments

To use old CD's, you can take pictures of your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews and put that picture in the circle part of the CD. Then you can use stickers and put their names on them and decorate it with stickers. We have them and hang them on the Christmas tree every year and see how much the kids have changed. Hope this helps.

By JaNae

Candle Holder

For our church the children glued a candle in the middle of the CD. Looks really good.

By Brenda

Make a CD Curtain

I have seen them strung together and used as curtains, similar to beaded curtains.

By Cora

Sun Catchers And Doll House Craft Material

They make great sun catchers, too! Just cover the printed side with paint, pictures, decorative napkins, small pieces of jewelry, rhinestones, etc., etc. You can make them personal, decorative, whatever your imagination comes up with. What fun.

I make miniature doll houses and their contents. These CD "gifts" make great mini-mirrors, "water" for small area's like birdbaths, etc. They cut so easily with a pair of sharp scissors.

By Donna Carnall

Crackle Effect From The Microwave

If you haven't already attempted microwaving CD's, I would suggest that. You can use it along with any of the other suggestions, but microwaving a CD first gives it this wonderful crackled effect.

A few tips would be:

Turn off the microwave as soon as it begins to crackle or wait until a second or two into the process. I've never heard of an explosion occurring, there is simply not enough metal in a CD for that, but burning may occur and it's not a pleasant smell.

Microwave it at a low power range, if you are nervous. You can get different effects this way, less intense, thinner crackles.

Try placing the CD in different parts of the microwave, one side vs. another, upright along the wall if you can get it to stand, in between plates, in a dish of water, etc. the end result is always different, especially when you mix up the positioning of the CD.

Any heat source will cause this crackle effect to a CD. I've tried holding it above a candle, an inch or two away from the flame. You can actually get the plastic to boil, while the air pockets remain trapped within.

By Shelieh

Background For Ornament Decorating

I glue a loop of fishing line to the back for hanging and then put felt over that and decorate the front with Santas, etc. for Christmas ornaments. They sold well at the Craft Fairs.

By Chris

Crocheted Hot Pads

If you crochet, you can crochet covers for them and use them as hot pads. I've made several that way. God bless you.

By Pat Giles

Kids Art Projects and Room Decorations

I use them for art with my students at school. I have them draw on them with black fine-tipped marker and white-out. Usually they do geometric or abstract designs, and they look very hi-tech and modern. We can't get enough of them as it takes a bunch for a whole class, and they can't be scratched or it looks ugly.

My son used dozens as a border along the top of his walls. He stuck them to the wall with blue sticky tac (Fun tac). He decorated the room with posters and such, and it looked very nice.

Perhaps if you have more than you know what to do with, you could donate them to a school for use in art projects. I could use lots, if you were closer.

By Louel53, SK, Canada

Garden Border

I would not want to do it myself, but my child used them to line the edges of his garden when he was little. He just stuck them into the ground about half way and kept adding more until he had a scalloped border that was really pretty in the sun.

By HungryArtist

Crocheted Coasters

I crochet around them for CD coasters, it works good too.

By Debra LeBarron

More Ideas on ThriftyFun

Links to craft ideas already posted on ThriftyFun:

Feel free to post your ideas below.


Uses for CDs

I read the other day to melt them so they are pliable in an old toaster you won't use for bread anymore and they can also be melted a little in the oven. Make "sure" you have oven mitts to work with the hot CDs ! You just never know.

By melody_yesterday

Uses for CDs

I've used them for a number of years under votive candles or pillars (or tapers in glass holder) with a hurricane chimney. You get twice the kick from your candle power. The best "votive" I have found was a smaller crystal footed sherry glass that has a bubble in the base. ($1 each) The bit of elevation really sets the rainbow shining. I have used legal seals to cover the hole in the center. (11/09/2007)

Uses for CDs

Make a rollie pollie recycling two CDs and a toilet paper or paper towel roll. (11/22/2008)

By Lauren

RE: Uses for CDs

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