DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Make a Light out of a CD Spindle

comments (19) April 23rd, 2009     

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kaytet kayte terry, contributor
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Recycle a CD spindle into a pretty light!
These are the supplies you need to make your light.
Yay, it works!
Recycle a CD spindle into a pretty light!

Recycle a CD spindle into a pretty light!

Photo: Kayte Terry
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A couple of years ago, my husband and I were part of a crafty group called the Department of Craft. We sold together at craft fairs and supported each other as our fledgling businesses grew, but my favorite part of our group was the Craft Challenge. Here's how we did it: Each of us would write a word or phrase on a slip of paper and throw them into a hat. Each month we would pick one slip of paper and we would have to make something that is inspired by that word or phrase. 

All sorts of amazing things came out of these Craft Challenges. One of my favorite projects was this light that my husband made from a CD spindle for the "Light" challenge. It's a reuse of an item that usually gets tossed when the CDs run out, and it's just so cool looking! So I can't really take credit for the idea of this project, but I wanted to remake one for you.

This is a bit more of a techie project than I usually do, but if you have some basic tools, you should be fine!

Oh, and one more thing: Don't ever leave your light unattended and plugged in all day. You don't have to watch it like a hawk, but don't leave home with it plugged in. It's better for the environment and safer!

What you'll need:

  • Empty CD spindle
  • Small handsaw
  • 6 ft. electrical cord
  • Wire strippers or small sharp scissors
  • Plug
  • Socket
  • Rotary light switch
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Chandelier bulb
  • Transparency paper
  • Printer
  • X-Acto knife and cutting mat
  • Spray adhesive
  • Tissue paper

Be careful with the saw!

1. Set the top of the CD spindle aside; you aren't going to need it for a while. With your handsaw, saw off most of the center part of the bottom of the spindle. I left about 1/2 inch on the spindle.


Cord, meet socket.

2. With your small scissors, carefully cut down the center of one end of the cord about 3 inches, making sure not to cut through any wires. Use your wire strippers to strip off 1 inch of both sides of the wire. If you don't have wire strippers, you can carefully cut a little of the coated wire off with scissors and peel if off.


View from the front.

View from the side.

3. Take your socket and loosen the screws on both sides. Wrap the stripped and split wires around the screws and secure by tightening the screws. The two photos above show what it should look like.


Thread the cord through the bottom of the CD spindle.

4. Take the other end of the wire and thread it through the center of the CD spindle bottom.


If you want to add the rotary switch, add it to the cord in a spot that will be easy for you to turn on and off.

5. Close to the end of the wire, attach the rotary light switch.


Open the plug and push the cord in.

6. Open up the plug and insert the end of the wire. Close the plug to secure.

7. Cut a few pieces of electrical tape and wrap it around the socket and the CD spindle so that the light is straight and secure.


Pretty exciting, huh?

8. Plug in your light and turn it on to make sure it works! Yay! It does!

9. Now you are going to make the image to go inside the CD spindle. With a measuring tape, measure the circumference and the height of the top of the CD spindle.

10. Find a really cool image in your collection of online photos. It can be anything really; just make sure it is as long and as high as your measurements from step 9. If you don't have any photos, look through Flickr for a Creative Commons photo. I made mine black and white in Photoshop, but color looks great, too!

11. Print the image out on transparency paper. You will need two sheets of transparency paper for the image to go all the way around the CD spindle. I recommend an image that can be easily matched with the second sheet like a landscape of trees or mountains.


Here are the two pieces of transparency paper backed with tissue paper before they go in the CD spindle.

12. With an X-Acto knife and a cutting mat, trim the transparency paper to the right size to fit in the spindle. I backed my transparency paper with tissue paper, too: Lightly spray the back with spray adhesive and affix to a sheet of tissue paper. Trim the tissue paper with the X-Acto knife.

13. Trace the top of the CD spindle on tissue paper with a pencil. Cut out the circle. Lightly spray the inside top of the CD spindle and affix the tissue paper to the inside of the spindle. Lightly spray the sides of the spindle and affix the transparency paper to the sides of the spindle.

14. Plug in your handmade light and pat yourself of the back!

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Comments (19)

oxxxgabixxxo writes: thats sOOOO awesome! my mom sends me on this website to get her some ideas to save money and this is a great one!

by blank cds.... get free candle!
Posted: 8:43 pm on October 6th
Flippincool writes: Hi!

Just wanted to let you know I featured this tutorial in a post all about upcycle crafting. Thanks!

Emily
The Handmade Experiment
http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/must-make-monday-upcycled/
Posted: 4:55 am on July 13th
tesserae writes: I bought some beautiful handmade paper a few years back just because it was beautiful but never knew what to do with it. Now I do. I'll make two for my old makeup table and use them as night lights. Can't say how much I appreciate all the beautiful crafts your site give us. Very inspiring. Thanks.
Posted: 10:53 pm on May 25th
janeto153 writes: I'm going to try this for Mother's Day. I'm using two separate pics though, One of my sibs and I as little kids, and one of all of our kids. I'll fill any empty spaces with text. Can't wait to see the look on my Mom's face when she lights it up!
Posted: 4:30 pm on May 5th
olathenicegal writes: I saw LED nightlight bulbs (in 4 colors) at HD just last weekend! A little pricey, but they'll be safer since they run cool.


Posted: 2:30 pm on April 28th
beaderonboard writes: What a great idea, I can't wait to make one of my own.
Great way to recycle and it would make a great bedside lamp.
Thank you for sharing.
Posted: 1:12 pm on April 28th
WiggySister writes: Been saving those buggers just waiting for an idea like this. Thanks!
Posted: 9:13 am on April 27th
DesignFling writes: Fantastic idea- I've been trying to think of a use for those spindles. I have linked it to my blog. http://designfling.blogspot.com/
Thanks so much for the idea!
Posted: 4:48 am on April 27th
mar32428 writes: Now if only someone would come up with a clever idea for using those old discs. I need something useful. I've done the sun catchers, Christmas ornaments and picture frames. Anything else?
Posted: 5:49 pm on April 25th
Rooty_Tooty writes: Awesome idea, Kayte! I often thought that there must be some practical use for these DC spindles but I hadn't come up with one yet -- glad you did! This idea has so many possibilities!

These would make great nightlights with a 7-watt bulb. These bulbs produce some heat but most standard nightlights don't have much space between the bulb & the plastic shade. Perhaps it would be a good idea to drill some small vent holes along the edges or on the top to allow for the heat to escape. I haven't shopped for these nightlight bulbs recently but perhaps there is a cooler green version of these on the market that would work for this project.

Also, these might translate into nice under cabinet lights for the kitchen. I move quite frequently due to our work assignments & very often the kitchens in our various apartments have had terrible lighting & this would be an inexpensive but stylish solution to a very aggravating problem. Lining the base of the spindle with foil would reflect more light but might also produce more heat.

Other possibilities -- lights inside closets or cupboards, under stairways, patio lanterns. Looks like I'll have to ask freinds & family to save their old CD spindles for me!
Posted: 4:35 pm on April 25th
hicknny writes: I am so excited I cant wait to make them for my grand children.
Posted: 2:33 pm on April 25th
TeeTimeBeadBakery writes: oooo my this is great i work with polymer clay and this would be the the coolest thing to make in one of the classes i teach we could cover it with polymer clay cane,s and it would look awsome then if you got alittle jazzy you could spray paint the bottom silver love this idea thanks so much
Posted: 8:57 am on April 25th
fantazya writes: awesome ! beautiful style !
Posted: 2:01 am on April 25th
abbytail writes: what a lovely result!

If you're scared the heat of the bulb might melt the lampshade, why not use energy efficient bulbs? they produce hardly any heat and make this lamp even more green by reducing the amount of energy consumed> :)
Posted: 4:48 am on April 24th
elbowyoyo writes: What is the wattage of the bulb that you used? I'm afraid I'll melt the top withthe chandelier bulbs that I have (they are spares for my dining room light)
Posted: 1:18 am on April 24th
Sister_Diane writes: That is just super-duper cool! I hope I can use up the rest of my giant 500 CD spindle SOON so I can make one.
Posted: 10:34 pm on April 23rd
Ednarb writes: This is wonderful! Amazingly we just ran out of CDs this week and I still had the empty spindle on my desk! Can't wait to make one this weekend.
Posted: 9:46 pm on April 23rd
Miba writes: That's awesome. I'm deffinately making that.
Posted: 5:28 pm on April 23rd
Angelheartjewellery writes: Brilliant. We love it! Very stylish
Posted: 2:32 pm on April 23rd
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