The First “From the Archives” Post: Recycled Jewel Case Art

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Since I’ve been busy with school (and lets face it, Halo takes less of a time and cleanup commitment than crafts, oftentimes) I haven’t crafted really since my half-accomplished sewing project a week and a half ago. I swear, we will get back to that pattern business.

Although, getting the previously mentioned Halloween costume dress tied on (well enough to cover everything) was practically a craft in and of itself, which required husband help- two hands just weren’t cutting it. Though I think the costume turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Halloween 2010 MM

Not too shabby for $8 worth of fabric and a thing of red listpick!

Anyways. Awhile back I foresaw this problem and jotted down posts for crafts I had done over the summer. So here’s your first (only? who knows) “From the Archives” post.

I found a project for a room divider on Craftster probably over two years ago (at time when I thought I would need one for my new Chicago apartment, which turned out to be false), and thought this particular idea was rad since it would be cheap and recycle something that fills up landfills on the regular. Unfortunately, I had no use for it. Nor did I have a hundred CD jewel cases around. Well, thanks to freecycle, I was able to get an entire box of cases from a nice couple in Wicker Park this summer. I looked quite odd carrying the Costco-sized diaper box they gave me to take them home in on the L. Yay recycling! Even better, freecycling! I decided to use this project as wall art instead of a room divider- we have super high ceilings and a landlord that won’t let us paint. Our abode is very white. You can find the original post/tutorial here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=45344.0

This project literally took me over a month since I worked on it in bits and pieces over the summer. Unemployment may drive you to watch the entire series of Nip/Tuck on Netflix while crafting. Then there was the added danger of the jewel case panels all over our living room, like little landmines of sharpness…I stepped on one by accident but by some stroke of luck it didn’t break! Thanks ye craft gods!

I went through the box of cases and picked out the best of the best, scratch free, no broken edges etc. I then took them apart so there is no round piece on the inside. This hurt my thumbs after awhile, but then I had a nice collection that looked like this:

Ok well, turns out I deleted that picture because I didn’t think it was important. Use your imagination to envision 9 stacks of 10 jewel cases each minus the middle circley bits.

Then I glued them into 3×3 panels of cases. I had read about problems with hot glue holding up over time, so I thought maybe super glue would be better. I was wrong. After I hot glued them together I ended up with this:

Cases Empty

Step 2: glued 3x3 panels

Then I bought some paint and a brush and did the background. The colors were really intense, a little too much even for my jewel-tone loving self, so I tried to tone it down a little by using silver paint on a damp wash cloth. I splotched it on there and it sort of ended up looking cloud-like.

Paint 1

Painted. With the flash on the purple looks more blue.

Splotchy paint

My attempt at making the colors less in your face. I didn't want them to be clouds but this is what happened.

Next I agonized over what design to put on it since I’m not exactly draw/paint inclined. I found a mod looking tree with swirls (which I love, because I can actually make them) and decided I could probably make something like that look decent. I used a Sharpie paint pen to outline the design with dashed lines. Then I started to actually paint it on there for realsies. In the end, I ended up with this tree-

Tree

The swirly tree. It's kinda fun.

The last part was the most tedious, getting it all wired together. I used a ruler to try and make sure everything was the same(ish) distance apart. Use the odd little square holes in the tops of each case to thread the wire through. Do the same at the top but make it a loop so you have a way to hang it up.

Measuring

Measure first (or end up with a wonky hanging device that looks crappy, your choice)

Wire

It's a little hard to see, but you use the existing square holes I mentioned to thread the wire through.

Ready!

Wired together and my hot glue gun on standby for any unstable seeming case parts.

As an added bonus- because I have décor ADD and because I was still concerned about what I had read of the hot glue not holding weight very well- I found some decorative tape at the craft store and decided to run it along the seams of each panel, creating a border. Then I slipped pictures (or whatever you want) in the little side slot that is still open. Now if I get bored of my tree, I can flip it over and have a photo collage instead.

Voila!

Voila!

All done. Hanging it was hard work because it's long and awkward when you're short, but I figured it out (several holes in the wall later).

I recommend this project for a room divider or just as art for anyone else who can’t paint- you can make the panels whatever size you want or use more panels to make a bigger work of art, so if you have a really big, bare area you can make a large piece to fill the space.

And as an aside, good job to everyone who voted Tuesday! You voted right? Good.

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