Whenever you go crate digging in your basement or attic, you’re sure to stumble upon some comically outdated hardware. The technology might be obsolete, how can you save that sweet, sweet retro aesthetic?
We’ve already shown you how to recycle Macintosh computers in our iMacquarium article and upcycling video game consoles into furniture, but what will you do when you’re confronted with your ancient copy of the Microsoft Office 97 box set and its whopping 55(!) floppy disks?
Follow our quick and easy list of 6 ingenious ways to revitalize and recycle your 3½ inch floppy disks!
With only a minimum amount of fuss, you can turn 5 floppy disks into an adorably retro desk decoration. These colorful floppy disk planters add a natural (and endearingly nerdy) touch to your home or work decor. Create your own and easily start reducing waste and saving money by regrowing vegetables from your kitchen scraps. Just use a glue gun or some extra-strength super-glue to stick the edges of your floppy disks together, place an appropriately sized planter into your newly constructed floppy box and presto!'
If your planter is peeking out above your floppies, just cut the rim off with some scissors and you’ll have your plant of choice growing in geeky style. You can of course also skip the extra work these planters require and just use your little plastic container for coins, pens or keys!
Creating a notepad out of recycled floppy disks has a bunch of advantages: perfectly pocket-sized, sturdy outer shell to prevent crumpled paper, and immediate free entry to any and all hacker conferences. The easiest way to make your custom floppy notepad is to use a trusty hole punch or a drill to create a spiral notebook. Drill two holes at the corners of your floppies and your stack of paper (make sure your holes are evenly spaced)!
Create your own spiral bindings by coiling a 16-gauge aluminum wire around a pen (or make your life easier and just buy two spiral bindings at any DIY shop) and hook them through your floppies and paper.
An alternative way is to simply utilize the existing holes in a floppy disk, create similar holes in your paper, and use a piece of string or elastic to keep them together. Execution is paramount in making your notebook not look excessively crafty, so feel free to practice until you get it just right. There’s plenty of floppy disks to pick up the slack!
Are you on an upcycling kick and think you’ve got the DIY prowess to take on a larger project? This upcycled shoulder bag takes your stack of floppies and adds a whole new meaning to the term ‘storage capacity’!
Thanks to this short 1-minute YouTube tutorial on how to recycle your floppy disks into a shoulder bag, you can create an accessory we guarantee will catch an eye or two. But be warned, it’s not for the faint of DIY-heart! There are a lot of tools, fiddly maneuvers, and wires involved in the making of this unique bag.
However, you can’t argue with the end result. By recycling colored floppies with different labels into your mosaic of disks, you can even let the designer inside you take over to create something stunning. You can also go for a more uniform look if you want. Get creative!
Bark coasters, vinyl record coasters, felt coasters, fabric coasters: we’ve seen them all. Floppy disks, with their rectangular shape, seem like slam-dunk coaster designs, but there’s a bit of work involved if you want to avoid looking like you’ve left outdated media on your coffee table.
By finishing off the product with a glossy vinyl layer, you can give them a uniform feel while making them stain resistant. By applying a square cork layer underneath, you can make sure they won’t slip or scratch the table’s surface. Recycled floppy disk coasters are simple and cute, and make for fun little home projects.
Although the fridge at theSquirrelz.com office (current contents: mooncakes, Toblerone, milk and a single can of tomato juice) is covered with the upcycled wooden branch magnets of designer Youxi, we wouldn’t mind swapping them out for some of these floppy disk magnets.
From natural to tech-chic! Let them hold up this week’s grocery list or, thanks to their metal shutter component, you can even use them to hold your photos, documents or drawings. All you need to make these fridge decorations is a small magnet and extra-strength glue!
Upcycling these classic square media containers can be a fun DIY adventure, but some artists out there are taking the floppy disk aesthetic to greater realms. We’ve seen what recycled cassette tapes can do in talented hands, but what about floppy disks?
Italian artist Andrea Boriani employs a variety of techniques that use recycled floppy disks as a canvas to paint colorful and daring illustrations on. In the United Kingdom, Nick Gentry works similarly with a floppy disk canvas, but his work seems darker, incorporating a cyber-punk feel in his recycled floppy disk portrait paintings.
It seems that floppy disks might have gone the way of the dinosaur (or alternatively, the Commodore) bit their legacy lives on: being used as anything but their intended purpose. So when you come across your floppies of DooM during your next move, consider turning them into quirky home decor.