Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Before you throw away those obsolete, dust-laden floppy disks, take a look at these five creative ways you can revitalise those aged pieces of history.

Of course, there are tons of other creative uses for floppy disks, from lunch boxes to earrings. A quick search on Pinterest or Google for ‘recycled floppy disk’ will throw up more results than you can shake a stick at, but these five examples (and the links included) provide quick, easy, and simple step-by step guidance to bring some life back to those storage antiquities.

Floppy Disk Planters

floppydisk1

With little more than a glue gun and five old floppy disks, you can make these planters to house all those beloved plants, flowers and herbs currently sitting in boring old plant pots and plastic containers around your house (these can of course double up to store whatever else you like!).

Follow this step by step tutorial to make your own, otherwise, I’m sure you can figure it out! Simply super-glue (or glue gun) five floppy disks together (with one acting as the base). Place a plant pot (with your plant within it!) inside. Depending on the size, you may need to trim the plant pot with scissors so it doesn’t peek out over the top of your new planter. And voila! Your repurposed planter is ready to go!

Difficulty rating: 1/5

Ads by Google

Notepad

Floppydisk2

By creating your own floppy disk notepad, you’ll never find yourself without a trusty place to jot down those thoughts, ideas and never-ending to-do lists. Perfectly pocket sized, and dutifully durable, you may just prefer this to your trusty Moleskine!

There seem to be two main ways to rustle up your own floppy disk notebook. The first method is to create a ‘spiral notebook’ (as shown in the above video), which uses spiral bindings (or 16-gauge twisted aluminum wire that’s been wrapped around a pen to create the coil). To make the holes, you can either use a trusty drill (advisable for getting through the plastic), screw punch, or a standard hole punch. Ideally, you’re looking to make 3mm holes or thereabouts, which are spaced roughly 2mm apart.

Once the holes are made, simply twist the coil through the holes from one end to the other. This can be a bit tricky, but that’s part of the fun, right? (Difficulty rating: 2/5)

The second method, as detailed on this instructables tutorial, is the simplest, but less impressive, where you can use an elastic band threaded through the existing holes in the floppy disk (and those in your notepad/PostIt notes) to hold everything together. (Difficulty rating: 1/5)

Shoulder Bag

If you’ve got around 40-50 old floppy disks lying around, this one-minute YouTube tutorial will show you how to put them to good use by converting them into a sturdy shoulder bag to make any geek proud. You could even become a pro fashion-designer by selling your bags on Etsy!

Although this will likely take quite a bit of time to complete, it’s not particularly difficult, but involves plenty of drilling and fiddly manouvers to ‘stitch’ the floppy disks together with metal wire and to attach the shoulder strap to the bag. We can’t guarantee your street cred will sky rocket after this, but it’s a neat project nonetheless!

Difficulty rating: 3/5

USB Drive

If you have a slim USB drive that you don’t mind pulling apart, you can carefully super-glue this into an old floppy disk case so you can keep using both for what they were originally intended for— storage! 

Overall, this involves removing the ‘guts’ from a standard USB Drive and transplanting these into your floppy disk. Do this carefully though, as it’s easier than you think to snap the fragile floppy disk plastic. I’d advise following the video closely here as it’s a lot easier than following text instructions.

Difficulty rating:  3/5

Art

And finally, this video should get those creative juices flowing to inspire you to create some truly great ‘social art from the obsolete’ out of those old floppy disks! You’ll see how British artist Nick Gentry is using the plastic casings as a canvas for his incredible creations.

Of course, it’s your prerogative as an artist to take whatever approach you like when repurposing your old floppy disks. If you’re looking for some more inspiration, search Pinterest for ‘Floppy Disk Art‘, and don’t forget to link to your art in the comments below!

Difficulty rating: As difficult as you like!

If you’re looking for more ways to repurpose your old tech, check out some of our other posts on recycling ideas to be found on Instagram 10 Amazing Recycling Ideas You Can Find On Instagram 10 Amazing Recycling Ideas You Can Find On Instagram You may not expect it, but Instagram is a great place to find some awesome recycling ideas. Read More , creative uses for your old cell phone 8 Creative Ideas To Recycle Your Mobile Phone Without Throwing It Out 8 Creative Ideas To Recycle Your Mobile Phone Without Throwing It Out Recycle mobile phones. I wish that should be the catchphrase for all of us to live by. While researching this article, I came across quite a few official mobile industry websites of consumer rich countries... Read More , and even how to make Christmas decorations 11 Christmas Decorations You Can Easily Make From Recycled Materials 11 Christmas Decorations You Can Easily Make From Recycled Materials Bored of the routine or just feeling creative -- why not create some of your own decorations? By using recycled materials, not only will you save money, you'll break the crazy consumeristic cycle as well! Read More  out of recycled materials.

What other creative uses have you seen for old floppy disks?

Image credit: John Kalab, Floppy notepad, via Flickr

  1. Philip Bates
    June 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I work part time in a shop and was shocked to hear: i) a customer asking for floppy discs, and ii) that we actually sold them!

    Excellent post, by the way. Love those notepads; I think I may have to make one seen as my usual excuse - "that's far too difficult to do" - isn't valid. I do remember, for a while, that floppy discs used to be sold as coasters in 'environmentally friendly' shops before circuit boards took that craze over!

    • Rob
      June 7, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Yea, they may have been adopted by the hipsters now, I'm afraid, which means prices may soon sky rocket, :( Thanks for the great feedback!

  2. rich
    June 6, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Why enrich eBay and their dubious henchmen? Why not just go to http://www.atariage.com where all the eight-bit gamers hang out? In their various links and forums you will find free emulators (VMs) so you can run your choice of the old 8-bit machines in whatever is sitting on your desktop now, find source to buy the real thing if you're so inclined, find all the new goodies and software you need to make the scenario work, locate the guys who are still writing new games for machines like Colecovision, and generally a far better selection of foundational and supportive stuff than ever existed back in the day. Give it a shot.

    • Rob
      June 7, 2014 at 10:56 am

      That looks like a pretty nice website, Rich! I could lose far too much time there! ;)

  3. rich
    June 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Sorry, don't need recycling ideas for my floppy disc stash - still use them on my old play-toy 8-bit computers. My wife says there's an advantage to keeping family accounts on the Amiga, too - even if someone steals the records (floppies) for nefarious purposes, they won't be able to get the data off because they won't have a device to read the format.....

    • Rob
      June 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      I seriously wish I still had my old floppy disk games. Alas, they ended up in landfill many moons ago. Though I'm sure I could pick some up on ebay...

  4. John W
    June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    You're all nuts - go and feed the landfill, you know you want to!
    Better still, get a little fire going and film it for FaceTube. Notice all the pretty colours as the different materials burn, but watch out for the thick black smoke. It's full of carbons and will destroy your personal ozone layer.

    • Rob
      June 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      We're then just upcycling the floppy disks into a fun little video though, right John? ;)

  5. Tom S
    June 4, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Get some uSD-SD adapters, fit them into the floppy shell (minimum of 4 will fit, more if you trim the adapters down), and use it as a massive covert uSD storage case. You could also just get a couple of credit-card style uSD storage cases and chop them up to fit them in.

    • Rob
      June 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Cool idea, Tom! I might actually just try this, as it's something I'd genuinely use!! :)

  6. Jorge
    June 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm
    • Rob
      June 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      They look pretty cool, Jorge! Thanks for the link! Unfortunately I don't have any 5 1/4 lying around :(

  7. Ian
    June 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Interesting ideas.
    Just found one box with 51 disks, and I have another somewhere.

    Was tempted at some point in the future to just give them away, but may reconsider that now.

    • Rob
      June 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thanks for the comment, Ian! Let us now what you decide to make :)

  8. Steve
    June 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I just put them on the shelf at $2.00 each under the sign "3D save icons". Kids love 'em.

    • Rob
      June 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Steve, brilliant idea! Might have to give that one a go myself ;)

  9. John W
    June 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    No thanks - I never want to see a magnetic disc or an audio cassette or a VHS tape ever again ....

    • robert
      June 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      We will be saying the same thing about Blu-ray dvds and USB drives before you know it.

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      One day we may even be saying it about tablets! =O

    • Nahla D
      June 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

      John, why not? I think it's cool to have those old stuff as time goes by. We still have our bulky Betamax at home and some video tapes; it used to work until a blackout ruined it. Our visitors never fail to be awestruck whenever they look at it!

    • Rob
      June 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

      To be honest, I'm a bit of a minimalist myself, and hate keeping hold of things longer than I need to, so usually find myself going out and buying the old stuff that I want to use rather than hoarding it for years 'just in case'...

  10. Nahla D
    June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Cool recycling ideas! I should have kept all those floppy disks! I love the planters and the notepads.. What have I done? =(

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I'm the same. I manage to find 3 floppy disks gathering dust at the back of a cupboard, so I'll be making a small notebook sometime this week. If only I had MORE!!!

    • Monu Deka
      June 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I too agree! Really awesome creative idea. I'm feeling sad as I threw couples of floppy disk into dustbin a week ago. Poor me!

    • M D
      June 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Hey Rob, I find your article really interesting. How creatively we can use insignificant floppy disks. wow! amazing

  11. Eva Harr
    June 3, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Many, many years ago, when AOL used to drown us all with all those free trial offer disks (in those real awesome metal boxes that are now collector's items - I still have about 25) there was a website called " AOL Sucks." They had hundreds of things to do with them including a fancy dress & matching bag & earrings. It was a riot to browse that site. I still have a lot of those disks and storage boxes for 20-30 diskettes, I better get going on some projects.

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      haha, the dress sounds like a pretty serious undertaking. AOL Sucks sounds more like a subreddit now! Would love to hear what you end up making!

  12. Howard B
    June 3, 2014 at 12:14 am

    "..throw away that those obsolete, ..." Really? *Really*???

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Do you still use them, Howard? ;)

    • EGirl76
      June 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      I think Howard is referring to the extraneous "that" in your sentence!

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Blind as a bat! I'll get this edited! Thanks!

  13. Matthew H
    June 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Heh, I have a crate of these in my closet. Time to get creative, eh?

    Awesome post man. :)

    • Rob
      June 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Definitely, Matt. Definitely! What do you think you'll be making first?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *