a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Upcycling an audio cassette

on July 24, 2012

I know I’m not ‘inventing the wheel’ on this one but taking unwanted or unused items and making them useful again is always a good share (and I think this is kinda cute…).

Audio Cassette Business Card Holder

The first thing you’ll want to do, even if you decide not to embellish it, is break out the little tabs that go in the wheels of the cassette. If you don’t, you won’t be able to hold more than 1 or 2 business cards in your new holder. The first one I tried (yes, a little bit of “trial and error” here), I just ‘popped’ it off with a pair of needle nose pliers which left rather large cracks in the case (you can see the results in the middle photo). But I did figure out that, if you hold the cassette tightly down against a flat surface and grab the tab as close to the bottom as possible with your pliers, you can gently and slowly pop it off and you should be able to avoid any cracking this way (and, if it does crack, a little, I doubt anyone will notice). File down what’s left of the tab to smooth it out (I used a paper emery board and it worked fine).

I used one of the metal file drawers from a previous project (my “file cabinet turned tool holder”) as a small paint booth and gave the cassette a couple of coats of primer, drying well in between. I did spray it, inside and out, because I wanted to make sure that whatever I did next (ie; decorate it) would have a good surface to stick to.

I’m sure there are tons of ways to decorate this to make it work for you. I came up with a few that might get you started. You can paint right on the holder (1st photo) or, if you want to “multi-use” it with different business cards, take the cardboard insert from the original cassette (2nd photo) and use it as a template to cut out other (lightweight) cardboard inserts that can be decorated with markers, pens, or paints to match your business cards. You can also glue on a favorite photo (3rd photo) or go through a magazine to find interesting or business-relevant pictures (either glue them on a template or right to the holder).

Expanding on the first idea (painting it), I thought of adding writing to the front — to further promote your business or as a personal message that you’d like to extend to current and future customers. It might be a good way to catch their eye. (I just added the words via Photoshop — if this had been what I chose for mine, I would’ve hand-painted it. This was just to give you an idea of what it could look like).

What I finally ended up with, for my first card holder, was based on my business cards, themselves. The cards are rather ornately done in various shades of purple flowers so I wanted something a little “subdued” (but, if you have more plain business cards, more detail might be nice). I love to do faux finishes so I did a quasi “marble-like” finish in purple and green with a clear finish to preserve the paint. I think it turned out rather well and am excited to do the others…

Now, what to do with the rest of the cassette? I’ve been poking around the internet and have found that you can use the tape in place of twine (to bind newspapers, for example) or crochet it into bags and other useful items (check with anyone you know who crochets – they might have a use for it). I’ve also seen the cassettes made into lamp shades (really cute) and small storage boxes.  If they’re still usable, donate them to a charity or thrift store. One of the most clever uses I saw was weaving them in to “fabric” (textile). You can read their story here: http://www.sonicfabric.com/about.html (they also accept tapes as donations if you’re looking to get rid of some).

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6 responses to “Upcycling an audio cassette

  1. Laura Smith says:

    I am so glad I found your blog! What fun ideas and recipes! I love to find new ways to give old stuff new life 🙂

  2. thebeadden says:

    I have loads of those cases! Great upcycle!

  3. I love the business card holder! I have so many audio cassettes that I don’t know what to do with. Thank you so, so much!

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