Repurposing DVD Cases

Sorry for the low quality picture! I forgot the cord for my camera in Boston and had to take this one on my phone!

In light of the New Year, I have been working hard to give my room (and all other rooms in my house I claim as my own) a new start.  I’ve been cleaning closets, crawling under the bed, vacuuming, reordering, and repurposing.

Repurposing.  Personally, I don’t think repurposing is the best word those in charge of the Green Movement (another term I don’t like) could have come up with.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think the word repurposing sounds like taking something that you aren’t using and turning it into something else you probably won’t use.  Repurposing is very different from reusing.  You reuse a grocery bag but you repurpose a pickle jar, making it into some sort of stinky storage container for buttons or pencils.  To be fair, I understand that most of the time repurposing items ends up being a great success.  The word repurpose just does not appeal to me.

But this post isn’t about the intricacies of language or what words I think are ugly.  No, this post is about today’s adventure in repurposing DVD cases.  I’ve been struggling for most of my winter break to find a use for the dozens of old DVD cases I own that no longer have DVDs in them.  See, many moons ago, I took all of the DVDs out of the cases and put them in one of those DVD sleeve cases because it makes it much easier to pack/store my movies when I move back and forth to Boston.  Unfortunately, that left me with a lot of DVD cases and not many places to put them.

I had originally planned on recycling them.  I was all ready to haul the DVD cases down to the dump and sort them into whatever bin was necessary.  But after a little research, I learned that you could not recycle DVD cases as readily as other plastics.  For a fee, I could mail them to Kentucky where they could be recycled.  As appealing as that sounded, I didn’t really want to pay for and mail 40 DVD cases halfway down the east coast.  Then I considered building something out of the DVD cases.  As handy as I am with a glue gun, I soon realized there was no functional object I could make out of DVD cases.  I thought about putting the DVDs back in their cases.  That would have been completely nonfunctional and an inefficient use of my time.  I soon realized I was stuck.

After a good 20 minutes of brainstorming, I gave up on my DVD project to organize my craft supplies that had slowly taken over my room in my prolonged absences.  There were crayons everywhere.  Decorative flowers and chipboard letters littered the floor.  I uncovered dozens of pictures I had printed and forgotten about, stashed deep in the closet.  Knee deep in glitter glue and stamp pads it hit me: I could make the DVD cases into picture frames!

I know what you’re thinking, that sounds crazy!  Well, maybe that’s not what you’re thinking.  I suppose it doesn’t really sound crazy but in comparison to the rest of my winter break thus far, turning DVD cases into picture frames is pretty crazy.  After all, the cases are scratched, the pictures would never look right in them, they will look tacky…blah blah blah.  After thinking it over for quite some time, I threw caution to the wind and decided to give DVD frames a try.

My new picture frames came out pretty good!  Your standard 4×6 picture will be too small to take up the entirety of the space.  If attempting this project, make sure you have some decorative paper on hand.  I decided to use 5 related pictures to create a DVD frame collage of sorts.  For the background, I used scrapbook paper in three different, coordinating patterns.  After trimming the paper to fit inside the cases, I glued the pictures onto the page and accented with some of the excess paper scraps.  The accents help tie the pictures together and pull the 5 frames together as a unit.  To assemble the frames, I opened the DVD case, slid out the DVD insert and slid in my new picture.  Close the case and PRESTO!  New, matching, decorative picture frames.

I’m excited to hang up my new frames!  They will be a breeze to display on a wall with some Command strips.  Plus, when I want a change, I can easily change the pictures and backgrounds.  I was also thinking about some other ways to possibly use the frames.  It would probably be pretty easy to make the cases into some sort of mini scrapbook.  The small size and the durability of the case would make these mini books a great gift for the child who likes to throw/chew on everything they own.  These DVD frames could definitely be used in the classroom as well.  Each student could have their own case and decorate the picture and background however they wish.  With some velcro on the back, they could be used for an attendance wall or a bathroom/nurse/out sick chart.  The case could also be used to send correspondence back and forth between parents and teachers.  It would be harder to crumple or lose notes when they’re stored in a hard to overlook, durable case.  The possibilities are endless!

Although my foray into the world of repurposing was a success, I still don’t like the word repurpose however, making something functional out of something I was going to trash changed my mind ever so slightly.  I don’t think I’ll ever really associate repurpose with something positive/usable/attractive, so for now I’ll be busy brainstorming for a new word.  If you have any suggestions or want to share a project of your own, please do so!


One comment

  1. […] Also check out: Teaching for Change […]

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