What to Do With Old Cassette Tapes

old-cassette-tape-and-player

If you love old-school media, perhaps you still listen to cassette tapes, or maybe you already digitized your favorites and have no idea what to do with these objects from yesteryear. You may also have cassette tapes that no longer play, which isn’t uncommon because this type of media is vulnerable to deterioration. Instead of discarding them, why not repurpose them into cool craft projects? Here are four ideas for unique decorations created from these once groovy, now obsolete tapes

Playful Pencil/Pen Holder 

This is one of the easiest projects to create that doesn’t require step-by-step directions. To transform cassette tapes into a nifty desktop pencil holder or small, open-topped box, grab four cassette tapes and one compact disc for the base. Apply adequate gel-type super glue to the edges of each tape to “weld” together. Make sure everything is even so it sits flat on the base. Last, glue on the base, and voila! 

Smartphone Stand 

This is another one that is easy to make and customize using double-sided decorative craft papers or even old magazine pages. Instead of the tape, you’ll use the case. 

  1. Remove the original cassette liner as a template and attach it to the edge and corner of your paper using paper clips or binder clips.
  2. Make a light pencil mark where you need to cut and next to the two folds.
  3. Carefully cut out the two remaining edges using a ruler and mat knife or scissors.
  4. Fold the paper along the two-fold areas, using the ruler to keep the edge straight while you fold.
  5. Place the new decorative liner in the case.
  6. To add pizzazz, glue flat-backed rhinestones or themed stickers on the outside. 

Distinctive Succulent Planter 

This cassette tape planter will add a beautiful retro element to any room when paired with succulent plants – either real or faux. It is a similar build to the pencil box, but this one uses hot glue instead of super glue. 

Supplies

  • Four cassette tapes (preferably with pretty colored labels)
  • Piece of wood for base or CD jewel case (around 4.25″ square)
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Styrofoam ball
  • Gravel
  • Faux succulents 

Instructions

  1. Use the hot glue gun to adhere the cassette tapes together in a square.
  2. Place glue all around the edge of your piece of wood for the base or CD jewel case
  3. Fill the base and sides of the planter with small rocks and then a small Styrofoam ball.  
  4. Stick the succulent picks into the ball and place more rocks around it.  

Fun Mod Wall Art 

If you’re looking for an unusual piece to hang above your couch or a child’s room and love the idea of gutting tapes, you’ll enjoy this project! 

Supplies

  • Cassettes (six to nine)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Gloves
  • Brushes
  • Stretched artist canvas
  • Scissors
  • Long, sturdy sewing needle
  • Floral wire
  • Craft or super glue 

Instructions

  1. Remove all the guts of the cassette tapes – no need to rewind!
  2. After your cassettes are tapeless, wear gloves and paint them any color you wish (e.g. pastels, primary colors, shades of gray, etc.) Paint the front and sides but not the back side. Allow each paint layer to dry, repeat to fully cover, and when pleased with your results, leave them to dry overnight.
  3. Take canvas and paint it a complementary color, or if you’re feeling ambitious, try painting an abstract pattern or splattering paint on top of a base layer.
  4. Measure and place the cassettes evenly and centered on the canvas, unless you’re looking for a more unusual, happenstance look.
  5. While holding the tapes in place, take a long needle and pierce through the inside holes on the bottom of each of the cassettes.
  6. Cut a six-inch piece of wire for each tape.
  7. Affix the tapes to the canvas by threading it through the cassette holes, then into the holes you made in the canvas.
  8. Flip to the back of the canvas and twist wire to secure to the back of the canvas, then repeat for each tape.
  9. Add a dollop of craft glue underneath the top part of each tape where it rests against the canvas. 

Can Cassette Tapes be Recycled? 

You’ve repurposed some cassettes and digitized others, so what to do with discards? You shouldn’t throw cassette tapes out with the garbage or your regular recycling because the tape itself is hazardous and this type of plastic can take centuries to degrade. Check to see if a local recycling center accepts them. Try donating them to a thrift shop or see if you can get pennies on the dollar at an old-school record shop.

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