Econundrum: New Use for Old Floppy Disks

| Mon Feb. 8, 2010 6:30 AM EST

Remember floppy disks? I, for one, have not forgotten them. That's probably because I have about 50 collecting dust in an old box that hails from the '90s. Randy Sarafan, author of a new book called 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics), says it's time for me to let go. "I understand that those floppies are filled with countless wonderful electronic memories like your eighth-grade paper about oak trees," he writes. "But if you haven't recovered the data by now, you are never going to."

Okay, okay, he's right. But how do I ditch them responsibly? The idea of adding to our ever-growing stream of toxic e-waste doesn't exactly appeal. Luckily for me, Safaran has an idea for how to give my disks new life: Turn them into a wall display for photos and postcards. Here's how:

Materials:
Foam board
10-20 floppy disks
hot-glue gun
metal ruler
craft knife
hammer
2-6 1" brads (small nails)
photos and postcards

Instructions:
1.    Lay your foam board flat across your workspace. Arrange your floppy disks on the boards in a slightly staggered brick pattern so they are all touching but not in a perfect grid.
2.    Once you have a pattern that you like, glue down the floppy disks. Apply hot glue liberally so that it covers the back of the floppy disk leaving a ½" allowance at the edges.
3.    Use your craft knife to cut around the outside of the floppy disk shape to removie the exceess foam board. Then flip the project over and cut ½" off the edges of the foam board around the entire perimeter.
4.    Nail the frame to the wall by inserting several 1" brads through the foam into the small space between the disks.
5.    Hang pictures and postcards in the frame by sliding them behind the metal tabs on the disks.

Voila!
 
E-waste pack rats rejoice: The floppy disk picture frame is just one of Sarafan's bright ideas. The be-ponytailed craftsman offers step-by-step instructions on how to make a first-aid kit out of a broken iPod, turn your old laptop into a digital photo frame, and make a dead mouse into either a pencil sharpener or a mini garden. We'll be featuring more of these projects over the next few weeks. So resist the urge to trash your old 'tronics for just a little while longer, okay?

Picture frame project excerpted from 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics). Copyright 2010 by Randy Sarafan. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York. All Rights Reserved. 

 

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