Celebrate the cassette tape's 50th birthday by repurposing them

The cassette tape turns 50 today. Here's ways to keep that box of old tapes in your mom's basement from going to waste.

Happy 50th birthday, cassette tape!

Today is the 50th anniversary of that most ubiquitous of 1980s cultural debris, the cassette tape!

The “compact cassette tape” made its official debut on September 14, 1963, but became a mainstay of 1980s culture as the perfect compliment to the new generation of car stereos, portable boombox stereos, and the personal Walkman.

As that crazy decade drew to a close, the CD began its rise as the dominant audio medium. Still, if you were around back then, chances are you have a box somewhere filled with dozens of badly dubbed mixtapes and regrettable music purchases. Thankfully, that menagerie of small brick-shaped plastic memories may be able to find a second life with just a little elbow grease. Here are some of our favorite DIY examples of the cassette tape reborn.


A lamp

With a little bit of work and a few supplies you already have lying around, you can turn your clear (or at least translucent) cassettes into a funky retro light-source.

Via Instructables


Pencil box

Here are two facts that may seem at first like they have nothing to do with one another: 1) The cassette tape has long passed its technological moment and 2) Pens and pencils still need a place to live.

Via Instructables

Erika Iris Simmons

Repurposed art medium

Artist Erika Iris Simmons has found the inherent beauty in the squiggling mess of magnetic tape by incorporating it into her collage portraits of pop cultural figures.

Via Flickr/iri5

Jennifer Cantwell

Stitched cassette doilies

British artist Jennifer Cantwell has developed a method to knit with the long reams of tape to create somewhat Gothic-looing doilies that would be the perfect addition to any hipster household.

Via Jennifer Cantwell


Cassette tape wallet

This easy project shows how you can turn your old cassette tape into a wallet that you can carry around. Imagine the possibilities of turning your cassette single of Wu-tang's "C.R.E.A.M." into something that actually stores your cash?!

Via Chezlin


iPod cozy

This little how-to comes courtesy of Girl on the Rocks. On one hand, it's a witty re-interpretation of the cassette, on the other it's just about the most damning ending you can think you can do the corpse of your discarded tapes.

Via Flickr/Girlontherocks


Cassette tape USB

Tapes are hard and small. So, it was probably inevitable that a USB carrier was bound to pop up sooner or later.

Via Instructables

Cassette spool earrings

As with all things on Etsy, this pair of earrings made from old cassette tape spools walks down the very narrow line between cool and weird.

Via Etsy

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors