10 Clever Ways to Upcycle Old Gadgets

—Sara Carpenter

It seems that we’re updating our computers, smart phones and media collections as often as our wardrobes these days. If you’re like us, you’ve been holding onto your tech cast-offs until there came a prime opportunity to dispose of them. But old or broken devices don’t have to be fated to an unused life on a basement shelf or, worse, taking up space in a landfill. These 10 jaw-dropping transformations can give some obsolete technology a second life—and you the inspiration to start rifling through the junk drawer for your next project.

1. Circuit Board

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Your computer’s circuit board is a mesmerizing maze of…well, we’re not exactly sure what. So after you’ve had ample time to cool down since the time it fried and lost your files, it’s worth a second look for design value. A clock kit (and an antiquated CD as clockface display), it turns into a geek-chic piece of decor.

Related: 5 Favorite DIY Wall Clocks

2. Apple Monitor

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As every cat owner knows, the moment you sit down to work at your PC seems to be your cat is most desperate for attention. That’s exactly why an old monitor makes most sense upcycled into a customized pet bed—who knows, maybe they’ll finally let you get some work done.

Related: 10 Luxurious Doghouses for Your Pampered Pet

3. Turntable

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There’s nothing quite like listening to a vinyl record on an old turntable, but the old technology can be a fickle beast. When you’ve found a brand new (or new-to-you) replacement record player, put the last one to use as a tabletop rather than kicking it to the curb.

Related: Memory Lane: 15 Household Items from Your Childhood That New Houses Will Never See

4. VHS Tape Cover

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If you played your old VHS cassettes over and over until the tape’s been worn through, it’s time for them to go—but don’t be so quick to throw out their cases, too. You can go on appreciating the iconic movies of your past by turning the cardboard casing into notebook covers.

Related: Friday Night at the Movies: 12 Must-See Home Improvement Flicks

5. Typewriter

Photo: usbtypewriter.com

If you’ve missed the clickety-clack of typewriter keys ever since you’ve gone digital, you’ll be happy to know you can have the best of both worlds with a USB Typewriter conversion kit. With it installed, you can type away on your old machine and rest assured all work syncs to your tablet.

Related: Too Cool For School: 9 Ways to Bring Classroom Style Home

6. Unused CDs

Photo: instructables.com

An unofficial requirement for DIY holiday ornaments is ample amount of sparkle and shine, and a CD’s reflective surface does just that. Shred the edges with a heavy-duty paper shredder and—voilà!—you have a crafty snowflake for your tree that complements its twinkling lights.

Related: 25 Insanely Easy-to-Make Holiday Ornaments

7. Cassette Tapes

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A discarded collection of cassettes can become a personality-packed desk set for any music lover. Just coat the used tapes with spray paint and join the sides with super glue. The new stubby cubes can be used to contain everything from pencils to paperclips.

Related: 10 Surprisingly Smart Solutions for Junk Drawers

8. Television

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Looking for a place to store your DVDs, Blue-Rays or books? A retro television can be gutted and display your collection of titles. Sit it on a television stand in deference to its initial incarnation, or stack a couple of sets for a truly unique shelving unit.

Related: 9 Ways to Make Your TV Look at Home

9. Camera

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While the days of gathering the family to check out vintage photo slides are few and far between, you can put the cherished memories on display 365 days a year as part of a DIY lampshade. When you turn on your lamp, the light shining through will illuminate individual slides for viewing.

Related: 9 Lampshades You Can Make Before Lights Out

10. Ancient TV

Photo: wikihow.com

Still looking for a second use for your old television? Consider turning the big box into a quirky container to house your pet goldfish. After you pull out all the electrical components, you can insert an actual aquarium inside the TV’s case and view the swimmers through the front opening.

Related: 25 Rooms with Stunning Aquariums