CD Charms and Pendants! Tutorial

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“Music is an outburst of the soul.”
 Frederick Delius


Express your own love and passion for music in these fantastic, handmade cd charms and pendants



What's The Plan, Stan?
Well, this is a bit of a complex one, folks, but we are going to make some incredibly unique and super cool charms and pendants by semi-melting old and used CDs.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE:
Semi-melting these disks gives off potentially dangerous fumes. I am sure the State of California would have warning labels ALL OVER this tutorial. The point? Be careful, please. I did this project in a spray booth - - a small room with a massive fan/vent, sucking all the harmful fumes away from me. Despite this, I did get a slight headache. Ok, the headache could have been caused by the annoying sound of the massive fan the the whirr of the heat gun, but all the same... If you are sensitive, take extra precautions!

Ingredients:
  • Old and used CDs 
    • NOTE: You can use all kinds of CDs and DVDs. Different brands and types will have different effects and colors once you heat them. I just rummaged through my ever growing stack of burnable CDs that I no longer need or use. Play around. I would not, however, go out and buy some CDs for this project. For goodness sake, just use the old ones.
  • Glossy Accents (optional)
Tools Of The Trade:
  • Heatgun
  • Pliers (you are going to want at least two pairs for easy maneuverability)
  • Pushpin
  • Scissors or wire snips

Process:
  • To begin with, you should note that a CD or DVD has two layers. One is a sort of metalic layer, and the top layer is like a thicker plastic coating. You can separate the layers, and work with the metallic layer alone, or you can fuse them together. The metallic layer on its own is a little weak, however.
  • If you want to fuse both layers together, which I suggest, start by cutting a CD or DVD in half. Hold one half over the heatgun with a pair of pliers. Obviously, don't get your hand in the way of the heatgun. No one likes burns. 
    • Every CD or DVD reacts differently. Here are some general rules. Keep the metallic side towards the heat, the plastic side away from it. The plastic has a tendency to bubble in cool ways, but it will also crack and may fall off the piece. You don't want that to happen. The metallic side and the edge of the disk will go through a unique and interesting transformation as they heat. Remember to be patient, but also take it slowly. Allow yourself to get to know the process and become familiar with what the heat gun does to the CD. It may take you a few tries to find something that you like.
  • Once the metallic side is nice and melted, and the plastic side is fused, turn off your heat gun and cut out some fun shapes in the CD. You will notice that the CD cools down relatively quickly, but still, please be careful and don't burn yourself. Make sure you gently trim your edges with a pair of scissors to make sure they aren't sharp. Use the heat gun once more to further round the edges and add any more fun bumps and bubbles to the design.
  • At this point, you will want to make your holes so you have delightful, string-able charms and pendants. I just used and pushpin and worked it through. You may be able to heat up a straight pin over a tea light and work it through that way, or perhaps a wood burning tool.
  • You may wish to protect the plastic side of your charm/pendant, especially if it has become very cracked. I used glossy accents, but you could try a coating of resin, or diamond glaze.
C'est Fin!



Here's an example of a pair of earrings I made using charms I made from a DVD. These earrings, called Purple Days are available for sale on Etsy.

Bead Artist Showcase
Your work could be right here! Submit your own upcycled CDcharms or pendants to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!
The Heatgun's The Boss! Embossing Technique
Recycled Jewelry: Idea Introduction

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