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How To: Upcycle old computer parts

How To: Upcycle old computer parts
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We don’t replace desktop computers (if we still have any) as much as we upgrade smartphones, but computer parts and peripherals are more difficult to dispose of. If your room is starting to look like a junkshop, let us help you get creative and start upcycling.

CRT monitor

1. Pet bed
With the monitor face down, screw it open to remove all internal components, including the tube, which requires utmost caution for possible electrocution. Once done, put the front and back together, and place a comfy cushion inside. You can do this for TV sets, too.

2. Bookshelf
Do the same steps to make the monitor hollow. Once the front and back are screwed together, you can start putting books in. Larger ones fit better.

CPU tower

1. Mailbox
Smaller towers are ideal. Open the tower from the side, remove the motherboard, keep one front panel open or just use the slot for the CD/DVD drive, and perch it in front of your house.

2. Magazine stand
Small towers are still ideal. This time, remove the back panel with the motherboard, put the side panel back, and flip the tower to stand on its front. This would depend on the shape of your tower.


1. Seedling grower
Great with big, thick keyboards. Remove the keys, place paper in between rows and columns, pour in soil and seeds, put back the keys, and wait for the sprouts. (via

2. Push pins and refrigerator magnets
Take out the keys, and glue flat-headed tacks, push pins, or magnets on the back. If you have the kind of keys with protruding backs, cut or sand them in.


1. Toothbrush holder
A photo of this loiters the internet. To make on yourself, screw open the mouse and remove the ball, clickable parts, scroller, and cable. Put a double-sided tape or reusable pressure-sensitive adhesive (e.g., Blu-Tack) on the back and stick it on the wall.

2. Light switch cover
Screw open the mouse and connect the cables to the clickable parts. Stick the whole mouse to the wall. Take extra caution and get expert help when tinkering with electrical wires for the first time.

Floppy disk

1. Collage
Position floppy disks side-by-side to create a bigger canvas. Paint your image over it. You can dye the disks a solid color first for a monochrome background.

2. Stationery
Pry open the floppy disk and use the circular film inside as stationery. Best with metallic or neon gel ink pens.

Compact disc

1. Coaster
Trace the cd on a thin corkboard or felt paper to cut. Glue the corkboard onto the CD for a skid-proof backing. You can also top the CD with various materials for added design.

2. Sticky note
Use one side to write on and stick a thin strip of reusable PSA on the back. Best with easy-dry gel ink pens or markers.

Words Aritha Zel Zalamea

First published in Speed October 2013

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