Crafting with VHS Tapescomments (54) February 24th, 2011
When I want to do some "green crafting," the first thing I do is look around for stuff that's lost its usefulness and needs a second life. Well, my movie collection provided the gold this time. As I acquire more of my favorites on DVD, the old VHS tapes are gathering dust. So I decided to see what I could make from them.
What you'll need:
- One or two old VHS tapes
- One or two old CDs
- E-6000 glue
- Small Phillips-head screwdriver
- Craft knife
Note: I'm using VHS tapes with cardstock sleeves for the first of my projects.
First, let's make a set of bookends. My partner and I came up with this project as a way to use another dust-gathering technology: old CDs.
To begin this project, remove the cardstock sleeve from the videotape, and make sure the tape is all wound to one side of the cassette; this way, all the weight will be at the bottom of the tape, which is best for stability. Rewind or fast forward your tape as needed to get it to this configuration.
This is how you'll be gluing the VHS tape and CD together: The edge of the tape and the edge of the CD should match. The side of the tape that you glue to the CD should be completely free of any labels or label residue.
Put a generous coat of E-6000 on the CD, placing it where the VHS cassette will go.
It should be said that E-6000 (a one-part epoxy) may not be the "greenest" glue in the world, but it makes a very strong, flexible bond, which is crucial to the success of this project.
Stand the VHS tape on the CD. Remember how you wound all the tape to one side of the cassette earlier? Place the cassette so the tape is at the bottom.
The E-6000 will need several hours to cure, and you'll need to stabilize your bookends during this time so they won't move or fall over. If you make a set of two bookends at the same time, you can stand them back to back, as shown here, and place a small weight on top. Leave them overnight.
Lastly, slip the sleeve over the cassette. And you're done!
We keep making more sets of these bookends. They take up so little room on a shelf, have a nice, streamlined look, and are a cool way to show off our favorite films. I also love that they're a wry little commentary on how outdated new technologies can get. (Maybe one day, we'll be making iPhone bookends?)
Now, if you also want to craft with the videotape itself, you can remove it from the cassette before you make your bookends. (They'll still work fine without the weight inside them.) Here's how to get at the tape:
Most VHS tapes are held together by four or five small screws. You can easily remove these with a small Phillips-head screwdriver.
If your tape has a label along one edge, it will prevent the two halves of the cassette from separating. Cut along the center of the label with a craft knife.
Gently pull the cassette open and separate the halves. The tape reels will lift right out. If you're making bookends, you can put the cassette back together and replace the screws.
Each video yields miles of tape to craft with. You may have seen MyRecycledBags.com. Cindy crochets videotape into a sparkly fabric, sometimes incorporating ribbon to make pretty handbags. (She makes bags from lots of other interesting materials, too.) You can also knit with VHS tape. The resulting fabric is very sturdy.
I also modified my Woven Scrap Journal project, weaving strips of VHS tape to make the cover of this notebook. (It's edged, by the way, with duct tape—duct tape scores again!)
You may have seen this trick during the holiday season—VHS tape makes a nice, shiny ribbon for gift wrap. Look at the tape carefully, and you'll notice that one side is slightly more matte than the other. Run this side lightly over a scissor blade, and it will curl beautifully.
Playing around with the tape, I discovered that if you gently stretch it, the edges will curl in tightly and it will harden a bit. (You may need a few tries to get the amount of stretch just right, but then you'll be able to make yards of stretched tape very quickly, working a section at a time.) The result is something that looks and feels a lot like patent leather cord, and this stuff has lots of possibilities, too.
Following Cathy Callahan's tutorial for making loomed flowers, I turned out a set of pretty embellishments for this thrift-store straw bag, adding a little embroidery floss for color. The flowers will stand up to lots of wear and tear.
And then, just for fun, I tried a little macrame and came up with this quick bracelet. The buttons add a fun touch. (Incidentally, if you have any interest in a how-to for this project, leave a comment and I'll whip something up.)
Granted, all these projects have a Henry Ford "any color you like as long as it's black" vibe, but there's no better way to stretch your creative boundaries than to try to make something new from something old.
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
Crafty by Nature
Inspiration for crafting with natural resources.