Ideabox: Spools and Spindles

No princesses were injured in the creation of this post.

It’s time for another Ideabox–this time, on CD spindles and the many uses thereof, with a guest appearance by a few spools of thread.

ideabox spools

I think CD spindles are a remarkable piece of design: they’re the kind of thing that do what they’re supposed to very well, and then sit there and taunt you, gathering dust because they LOOK like you should be able to do something else with them.  If you have a few of these lying around that you’re looking to ‘upcycle’ into something new and useful, here are some ideas to get you started.  (Instructables was a really valuable resource in assembling this post.  You’ll see what I mean.)

First, a video that gives you four options in what feels like forty seconds, just to get you thinking:

Next, for the folks who can never get too organized:

  • The ‘you’re kidding, someone wrote instructions for that?’ Headphone Holder.  (Yes, they did.  But just because it’s easy and not exactly aesthetically pleasing doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid idea!)
  • The ‘I know a techie sort with too much jewelry’ CD Spindle Earring Holder.  (I know an artist who could really use this kind of display stand…)
CD Spindle Sandwich

Bagelwich Buffer

CD Spindles for the Plant and Animal Worlds:

  • Flower Planters — this is a particularly cool idea if you’re trying to do a science experiment that allows you to watch the roots of things grow.  Visible carrots!
  • Mushroom Storage Case — I wasn’t sure whether to put this under ‘plants,’ ‘organization,’ or ‘huh?’ but it’s cute.
  • High Speed Silent Hamster Wheel — For the fleet of foot, but not the faint of heart.

For the Electrically Savvy:

  • CD Spindle Lamp — Gorgeous, actually.  And using an LED or CFL bulb would make it even safer.  I’d love to see a version that took up less horizontal footprint though, for the sake of those of us who live in small spaces.
  • Water-Powered Tesla Turbine — There are a number of variations to this idea provided by ‘mrfixits’ on Instructables.  They’re all fascinating in a ‘how do you come up with these things?’ way.  I love the idea of using recycled materials and water power and magnets to talk about generating electricity, though.  (And on that note, a similarly cool variation, A Pringles Can Wind Turbine)

And finally,

Spools get to play too:

Detail from “After Vermeer 2” 2006, by Devorah Sperber. Click for link to artist’s statement.

Ideabox: CD’s and CD cases

photo credit to ChristopherA

Due to the upswing of digitally-downloaded music, mp3 players, et al. there are a lot fewer junk CD’s and spare CD cases lying around these days.  This is certainly good for the planet, but not so great for those of us who like making cool projects out of them.  Fortunately, computer programs still end up replaced, CD-R’s burn with skips in them and have to be redone, and random CD cases still turn up in the bottom of your desk drawer when you least expect them.

So…what are some fun and funky things to do with these fabulous plastic leftovers?

ideabox cds

CD’s themselves

It is, of course, completely possible to just Google ‘CD crafts’ and find some cute projects, especially for kids–there are a reasonable number of idea-starters at Kaboose, for instance.  However, all that sifting takes time, so here are a few others of my favorites so far.

For the seasonally appropriate: Making CD Christmas Ornaments

For the jewelry fan: Example of CDs turned into earrings

For people who like to play with fire: (no seriously, apparently they want you to use a candle to heat the CD in order to bend it!) How to Make a CD into a Cellphone Holster

For the purely silly: CD Air Hockey Rink

For the science-minded: CD’s are obviously cool for the way they split light into its component rainbow colors–this is called a diffraction grating.  For an explanation of diffraction grating, how it works, and CD’s in particular, click here.  For a really cool build-your-own-spectroscope project, click here.

CD Jewel Cases

For the nature fan: CD Jewel Case birdhouse/greenhouse

For the recyclables architect: Cubic Display Case on Instructables (there are a lot of other cool CD case projects on the same site, check the sidebar for a few examples!)

Still looking for more ideas? There’s another fun collection on HubPages, here.  My favorite idea there is definitely the suncatcher, but see what inspires you!

Stay tuned for the next Ideabox post: cool stuff to do with those CD-R and DVD-R spindles, thread spools, and more!