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electronics hacking projectsIf you’re looking for a way to get the most out of old everyday objects that have become obsolete, like cassette tapes and CD’s, or want to put everyday objects like binder clips, bread clips and ceramic bowls to good use, we’ve put together a list of 10 really cool geeky ideas to upcycle, hack and reuse things lying around your house.

There is no end to the ways that you can put all your old gadgets and bits and pieces to good use – just browse Pinterest for 10 minutes and you’ll find a hundred and one cool projects to keep you busy all weekend. Our list sticks to the more geeky gadgetry that we know MakeUseOf’s readers will love.

Use a Ceramic Bowl Instead Of Speakers

If you’d rather spend your money on a decent pair of earphones, you can always turn to an everyday object you most definitely have to enhance your at-home listening with your iPod, iPhone, or any other smartphone you happen to own. Simply turn your music on, stick your phone in a ceramic bowl, and hear the difference. The concave shape of the bowl will help amplify the sound, and a ceramic bowl offers the best results.

electronics hacking projects

Use Binder Clips To Organize Your Cords

If you’ve got a lot of gadgets and electronics sitting on your desk, chances are you’ve got a jumble of cords running sitting right next to them. A great way to keep them handy and easily accessible is to use large binder clips, attach them to the edge of your desk, and thread the cables through the opening. That way you keep them organized, in sight, and won’t run the risk of losing important USB cables.

diy electronics hacks

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Use Bread-Bag Clips To Label Your Cables

Once you’ve got your binder clips in place on your desk, another place where cables might still be a bit of a mess are under the desk leading to your power strip. So that you don’t unplug the wrong gadget or electronic device by mistake, you can use bread-bag clips to label each cable clearly. Don’t have any bread-clips handy? You could always simply make your own.

diy electronics hacks

Turn Old Cassette Tapes Into Cool Retro Lamps

You probably can’t remember the last time you played a CD, let alone a cassette tape. If you’ve still got a lot of cassette tapes stashed away in your attic or garage, and simply couldn’t bear to part with them, you can actually turn them into a bit of impressive home decor. One way to impress your friends would be to turn the cassette tapes into cool retro lamps. Here’s an easy guide to follow to create one of these beauties yourself.

diy electronics hacks

If creating a lamp is a little too complicated for you, there are a few other easier projects you can do to get the most out of your old cassette tapes – like turning them into iPod Nano cases or business card holders.

Turn a Cassette Case Into a Cord Organizer

Now that you’ve found a way to put those cassette tapes to good use, you’ll likely have a bunch of cassette cases lying around that you don’t know what to do with. You can turn them into cord organizers, or also use them to hold your business cards. Since cassette tape covers are relatively small, they’ll come in handy for your smaller USB cords and earbuds, particularly when you’re travelling and want to keep everything nicely organized.

electronics hacking

Turn CDs Into Coasters & More

If your CDs aren’t getting much use anymore either, you can repurpose them into cool coasters, a candle mat to catch dripping wax, or even as a dock for your smartphone.

Buying coasters made out of CDs can run you about $18 if you can still find them, so if you have a ton of old CDs lying around and are feeling a little crafty, you can always decorate them yourself and turn your old CDs into something entirely new. Another idea we’ve come across for getting the most out of your CDs is to stick them on the front and back of your bike as makeshift reflectors.

electronics hacking

Use a CD Case As a Recipe Holder

So now you’ll want something to do with those CD cases right? You can turn them into recipe card holders. Not only will you end up with a completely organized set of recipes that you can easily look through by labeling the spine of the CD case, you can also use them to prop up the recipe in plain view while you cook.

electronics hacking

Turn An Old TV Into a Fish Tank

This is certainly the most difficult of the ideas we’ve come across but turning your old TV or computer screen into a fish tank has to be one of the coolest ways to get the most out of old retro gadgets. Of course this is not the kind of task you should undertake unless you really know what you’re doing.

Use Burnt Out Lightbulbs As Picture Frames Or Vases

If you’ve got some burnt out lightbulbs lying around the house, you can use them to create vases, terrariums, or even turn them into interesting and unique picture frames.

electronics hacking projects

Do you want more ideas on what to do with lightbulbs? Try turning them into salt and pepper shakers, an oil lamp, a mini fish tank, and more. Check out this really cool Pinterest board dedicated entirely to cool uses for old lightbulbs.

Before you give any of these electronics hacking projects a try, be sure to take a look at this guide on how to hollow out a light bulb.

Organize Your Cables With Toilet Rolls

Yet another way to keep your cables and cords organized is to use toilet rolls. You can fill a shoebox with toilet rolls to stick your cables in, but you can also find a few ways to keep it looking pretty. All it takes is a bit of wrapping paper and you can dress up the toilet roll to look a lot nicer than it really does. Don’t have any wrapping paper handy? Just use a page out of a magazine.

Do you have any tips and tricks on how to repurpose everyday objects to get the most out of your gadgets? Let us know in the comments.

  1. harley
    March 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I knew there was a reason I was saving my bread clips. Everyone laughs at me because I'm a hoarder, but who's the smart one now. Also the binder clip one and coaster from cds are great.

  2. David Commini
    January 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    My wife has about 15 toilet paper rolls sitting under our sink in hope of my using them to store my cables...

  3. Fred Dawson
    November 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I have lots of CD cases that I'm not using. My wife would prpobably enjoy using them as recipes holders

  4. victoria guerrero
    November 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

    i love crap like this. i never do it but i like to pretend that i will.

    • Nancy Messieh
      November 20, 2012 at 12:55 am

      That's what Pinterest is all about right? :)

  5. Mick Gill
    November 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Some really cool ideas Nancy. Keep them coming :)

  6. GrannyKathy
    November 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Wow! Now dos anyone have any ideas of what to do with a couple hundred 3 1/2 inch floppies? (if you even remember what those are:-))

  7. Contest Winner
    November 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I used rolls of cable for toilet paper...

  8. Groovy Graham
    November 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    For the gardeners amongst us, suspending a number of old CDs around young or fruiting plants can be pretty effective at keeping birds away from them.

  9. Efi Dreyshner
    November 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Love Binder Clips, very useful...
    Thanks!

  10. Eath Chantrea
    November 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I love the ideas of using a Ceramic Bowl Instead Of Speakers and using Binder Clips To Organize Your Cords. Great sharing!

  11. Sean A
    November 17, 2012 at 5:56 am

    toilet rolls lol and the recipe holder war really cool

  12. Sri Vastav Reddy
    November 17, 2012 at 3:15 am

    oh my god..i had done most of it...but never thought that it's so popular now !!

  13. Cyra Calkhoven
    November 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Oehhh I love those simple yet very clever hacks. :)

  14. Dee Wheat
    November 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    These are amazing! I LOVE the organizer tips. I am not even close to being finished moving and my floor is already an electrician's worst nightmare! Thanks!

  15. druv vb
    November 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Its nice to know how things can have a second life...

  16. will
    November 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    i gotta use the cd and cassette ideas

  17. Keith D.
    November 15, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Some AWESOME ideals! Very practical and oh, so useful! Make sure you read the guide on "how to hollow out a light bulb" before attempting the light bulb hacks! Ouch.

  18. Daniel Coyne
    November 15, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I've been doing the toilet rolls idea for a while. Some good ideas.

  19. Anonymous
    November 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    These are just cool. Cables & toilet rolls ! Great thinking.

  20. Brandon Clark
    November 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I once had a lamp i made from stacked and spaced discs glued together, it was pretty rad, the cassette lamp would have gone perfectly with it.

  21. Aaron Hill
    November 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for the article! I will definitely be trying out the ceramic-bowl speaker!

  22. grandfred
    November 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    i've to move a lot for my work and i use toilet rolls for usb / ethernet / power cable and its definitivly the best things ever !!

  23. Arron Walker
    November 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Simply genius. Never heard of bread clips, anybody know if they're available in the UK? Definitely making my own though, and the binder clips idea should win an award

  24. Terafall
    November 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I wish I have some cassette cause I want to try making a lamp like that

  25. Eric Wilborn
    November 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I always love a good re-purposing tip. Might be fun to start working with some old lightbulbs...

  26. Vishal Mishra
    November 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Good ideas, Retro Lamps idea is really great !!! Thank you very much.

  27. Mac Witty
    November 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Binder Clips To Organize Cords is on my desk - it is a great one
    Hang old CDs in the trees to scare away deer from the garden works well, at least for a time

  28. Douglas Mutay
    November 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Really cool stuff! thanks for sharing. I have just tried the ceramic bowl and it was great! The next thing I will try at home will be Cool Retro Lamps with my old Cassette Tapes.

  29. Norbert Gruszfeld
    November 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Awesome!

    And U can use an old printer to make a haversack :)

  30. Chew Jian Yue
    November 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Creative way to sort out items!

  31. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The lightbulb one is interesting, and quite a beauty!

  32. Boni Oloff
    November 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I really like the idea of using the bowl to used as a speaker. And also using the clips to organize the cables.

  33. Márcio Guerra
    November 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I like all the ideas, Binder Clips is awesome (already knew) and I believe the worst is the minitapes one. It is too dangerous if not well made, and tape is ridiculous flamable. Ok, less than old film tape, but still too much of a flamable stuff together...

    Anyway thanks. Cheers!

  34. Drew Butler
    November 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Awesome ideas.. Bookmarked :D.. Thank you very much.. A few of these will be in use in my home office by the end of the week!

  35. susendeep dutta
    November 14, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Such type of articles increases the worth of a site and make people think about their old gadgets.

  36. Debra Beshears
    November 14, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Love these ideas. Now I know what to do with all my scratched up cd-roms!

  37. Prasanth Mathialagan
    November 14, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Really useful stuff!! Just like reusing.

  38. Robbie Pence
    November 14, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Really cool! I gotta try the cassette tape lamp idea!

    • Rodolfo
      November 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      gotta try it too! & the castette as ipod nano case!

  39. Paul Girardin
    November 14, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Your Use Binder Clips To Organize Your Cords tip is simple genius!

    The only thing I can add is to buy the colored version for aesthetics and possibly organization.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Yes good idea for colored version! ;-)

    • Nancy Messieh
      November 20, 2012 at 12:56 am

      Great idea Paul!

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