Hacked Christmas crafts

Recycle computer components into Christmas crafts and decorate your home this holiday season tech-style.


keyboard ornament, circuit board ornament, motherboard tree

By Heather Camlot

After WorkLivePlayCafe editorial director Jessica Padykula tweeted about a Christmas wreath made from tech gadgets, I started wondering about what other holiday decorations could be made by recycling computer parts.

I have to say I was quite blown away by the creativity out there. Here’s a selection of what I found, as well as a few crafts I came up with myself.

On the web

CD coasters. This craft is pretty obvious, but still quite useful — and incredibly simple. Trace a CD onto felt or corkboard, cut out the shape and glue the backing onto the printed side of the CD.

Drink charms. Turn resistors and capacitors into charms so you always know which wine glass is yours. Make your own or adapt these found on Etsy with an extra bit of wire to tie onto stems.

Ornaments. Cut out holiday shapes from circuit boards and pop a hole for a ribbon.  Leave them plain to allow light to reflect off the metal parts or paint a single colour to match your scheme.

More ornaments. With so many intricate and interesting pieces inside a hard drive, keyboard and more, just a bit of re-imagining can take you quite far. I’m partial to project 9 from Geekware.ca, the keyboards circuitry sheet ornaments, as well as projects 1—keyboard word ornaments and — 3, ribbon cable stars.

Christmas tree. If you’ve decided to skip the large tree this year or want a few smaller versions for around the house, these circuit board versions come with their own LED lights.

At home

Hanging window garland. Lay in a row three to four CDs (or more depending on the size of your window), shiny side down and a few inches apart. Run a line of glue down the middle of the CDs.. Lay a thick ribbon along the glue line and press, making sure you have extra ribbon at one end. Add a round of glue along the circumference of each CD then top with a second CD, shiny side up. When dry, loop the extra ribbon and hang. Make as many garlands as necessary for your window.

Advent calendar. Glue the backs of 25 clear CD cases to foam-core board, hinged side down, either five-by-five or in the shape of a Christmas tree. While that’s drying, design numbered panels for each case; be creative – reuse old Christmas cards, wrapping paper or wallpaper, or download graphics and print.  Cut panels to size then insert into cases. Add a special message and/or treat in each case.

Candle holders. Wrap the flexible circuit-board sheet from a keyboard around a glass votive holder and glue together.  Pop in a tea light or candle for a decorative glow.

Place cards. Spell out the names of guests with the keys from a keyboard, glue them onto a solid backing such as thick cardboard wrapped in colourful paper, and place on each plate at the dinner table.

Mosaic tray: Place CDs in a canvas bag and close tightly. Smash the CDs with a hammer.  Spray adhesive onto a plain tray or board and, working carefully as CD edges can be sharp, place shards in a random pattern to cover. Coat with a few layers of Modge Podge to soften edges or, if the tray has sides, top with a piece of Plexiglas cut to fit.

Get ready for jaws to drop.

Top images (L-R): Geekware.ca, Nigel’s Eco Store, ThinkGeek

First published December 16, 2010, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.


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