How to cut DVDs for DIY projects

The best way I found to cut DVDs for art projects was to heat them up

A few years ago I made Reggie, my recycled dragon.  He was made out of old tyres and lemonade bottles inspired by Pinterest posts which I wrote about earlier.

I wanted Reggie to have wings so he wasn't mistaken for Nessy (the Lochness monster), and this is where my DVDs came in.  I bought a box of CDs from the car boot for a couple of pounds so we're still in keeping with a thrifty dragon.

In my naivety, I got a pair of scissors, a DVD and just cut straight down the middle.  I learnt a few valuable lessons right there and then!

1. DVDs can and will splinter, split and discolour if using the above method.
2. The pieces will be sharp and look ugly.
3. Eye protection is important if there is a chance of pieces shattering.

How to cut CDs / DVDs Safely

After doing some research it turns out that if you heat up the DVDs the cut becomes more fluid and the colouring will remain on the correct side of DVD.  I had also read that you can split the DVD before cutting, but I can't get that to work and I'm more than happy with my new way of working which is:
  1. Use a hairdryer or heat gun.  You can use a hairdryer on high heat, but I went straight to my craft heat gun by Ranger (as I'd not had a chance to use this since I picked it up as a bargain on a Facebook page!).  I found that it really didn't take much to heat the DVDs up to get a nice clean cut from them, still with my scissors.

  2. Wear Safety Glasses.  Anyone who has seen a CD break will know these fragments can splinter and project up towards the face, so glasses are a must.  These don't have to be big ugly industrial glasses, eye protectors from Engelbert Strauss come in a range of designs to suit most needs 

  3. Protect your hands.  You must use some form of tongs or gloves to hold the DVDs once heated as they can get hot very quickly and we don't want any nasty accidents in the name of upcycling.

I've now successfully cut over 30 DVDs in no time at all, I've just got to try and work out how I'm going to glue them all together to create Reggie's wings........

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