Creative Ways to Repurpose and Upcycle Old VHS Tapes
Creative Ways to Repurpose and Upcycle Old VHS Tapes
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Creative Ways to Repurpose and Upcycle Old VHS Tapes

By Kellie Hillis
You've had some good times with your VHS cassette tapes, but you're finally ready to move on. This once-valued collection takes up a lot of space that you'd rather dedicate to other, more useful items. Saying goodbye is never easy, however, and it's particularly tricky for VHS tapes, which call for very specific recycling strategies.
As you ponder how to deal with your VHS predicament, consider an alternative option: reuse your old VHS movies and transform your tapes into crafting materials! This sustainable solution will keep old tapes out of landfills and may also add a quirky element to your surroundings. If you're obsessed with DIY projects, you'll have a lot of fun giving your old tapes new life. 

Gathering and Preparing Materials

Depending on which projects you want to tackle, you may be able to complete the entire process with items already found in your own home. Otherwise, be prepared to go shopping for hot glue guns, bolts, and other practical items. Chances are, you already have enough tapes on hand — but if you need a few more, you should have no trouble scoring some from local garage sales, thrift shops, or even your relatives' basements. 

Choosing a DIY Upcycling Idea

DIY VHS projects — like any crafting endeavor — are only limited by your creativity. If you can dream up an idea, you can almost certainly find a way to build it with old tapes. Your preferred project will ultimately depend on which materials you have (or are willing to obtain), how much time you have to spare, and your experience with other crafts. Feel free to source ideas by simply looking around your own home to determine what you lack: storage, decor, and lighting, for example, represent common opportunities.

10 Cool Things to Do With VHS Tapes

Struggling to come up with unique ideas for repurposing your VHS tapes? We're here to help. Below, we've highlighted several of the most unique and accessible VHS projects: 

1. VHS Wall Art and Decor

Even if you ultimately neglect the VHS tapes themselves, you can make the most of their cases. Cut them up and incorporate them in a vibrant collage that shows your taste in vintage films. Otherwise, VHS tapes can be screwed together to form useful shelving systems, which, while meant to display decor, can also add style all on their own. 

2.VHS Coffee Tables

Create the ultimate ode to your favorite old-school movies with a coffee table entirely constructed from VHS tapes. This project is a lot more impactful if you still have the original cases for the tapes — and if they're still in decent condition.
Essential materials include plywood, hot glue, glass, a movie poster, and, of course, your old VHS tapes. Each leg of the table will consist of four VHS tapes, with the covers facing out. You will need additional tapes to create a border for the plywood. 

3. VHS Storage Boxes

VHS tapes can form the basis for all kinds of storage boxes. These can be used to keep a variety of items safe, ranging from small possessions to larger objects that need a creative place. Your approach will largely depend on how much storage space you need.  Smaller items, for example, can be accommodated by taking the cover off the VHS tape and removing the spools and other contents. Larger boxes can be created by drilling or otherwise attaching tapes together. For a simpler project, jazz up an existing storage box by cutting up cardboard VHS covers and adding them to the box's surface. 

4. VHS Lights

Make your VHS glow with a simple hack that should be accessible even to DIY novices. All you really need is a screwdriver and some LED string lights, plus glue dots or another solution for getting them to stay put. Use the screwdriver to remove the back of the case and then remove the tape from the reels.
Secure one end of the string of lights to the reel and then wrap it around, taping as needed to prevent sudden unwinding. Set the reels back in the case, but make sure that the power switch remains on the outside. Finally, use the original screws from the VHS case to reattach it. The end result makes for an excellent night light or can add ambiance for moving-watching parties or other special occasions.

5. VHS Fashion Accessories

If you're willing to break your tapes down into their individual parts, you can create all kinds of distinctive jewelry, plus many other accessories. These crafts take a bit more skill than others mentioned in this guide but are absolutely worth pursuing if you like to show off your quirky sense of style.
Many parts of the VHS can be made into jewelry, but the tape is an especially appealing option for anyone with a knack for crocheting or yarn projects. The tape can be stretched, twisted, and ultimately hardened to make a cord that is later woven into a bracelet or even a flower brooch.
There are plenty of earing-friendly options available as well. The spindles or springs can be incorporated into cute dangly earrings that you'll be proud to show off. Once you've completed a few memorable VHS jewelry pieces, feel free to store them in the VHS box described above — or add velvet or felt to the inside of a classic VHS clamshell case to create an eye-catching jewelry box. 

6. VHS Yarn Dispensers

The spools in your VHS tape are perfectly capable of keeping yarn safe and secure. This project can also be adjusted to create a tape dispenser like no other. Either way, you'll begin by opening the case and removing the tape from the spools. Replace it with your favorite yarn, using glue dots or tape to secure the yarn to the spool at one end. The wrapped spools can then be returned to the case, with a bit of yarn left out for easy retrieval. 

7. VHS Planters

Are you proud of your succulent collection? Would you like a new, highly creative way to show off your favorite little plants? VHS planters should do the trick. After all, succulents will grow just about anywhere. They don't require a ton of soil, but you'll want to remove the spools and other inner VHS elements from the tape to provide enough room for its new, tiny occupants. For larger plants, glue or drill VHS tapes together before filling the ensuing box with dirt. Prior to planting, the end result will largely resemble the VHS storage box described above. 

8. VHS Bookends

Struggling to keep your books or other media organized? Look to VHS bookends for a boost. Keep it simple and stack several tapes, or go all-out with a DIY project that transforms them into proper bookends. Keep in mind that this is also a clever strategy for storing your VHS tapes, which, although capable of remaining upright, can always use a little help — or, at least, a decorative nod.
The best bookends contain a sturdy base, so this project calls for two wooden moldings or even simple planks or scraps. Larger pieces may need to be cut with a miter saw and sanded thoroughly. Depending on the size of the molding or wood piece, it may be possible to glue an entire VHS tape — but with a smaller bookend, you might be forced to cut your preferred tape in two and attach one half to each bookend. You will need hot glue for this step.
Alternatively, you could create bookends by attaching VHS tapes to metal brackets. To accomplish this, you will need to drill small holes in the tapes and possibly straighten the brackets while they are secured in a vice. 

9. VHS Luggage Tags

In the old days, the only way to know what was in your VCR was to read the label on the tape itself. Those familiar identifiers can now also be used to identify bags while you’re on vacation. Take a pair of scissors to an old VHS tape with a blank label and cut out that section of the tape. Slip this piece into a plastic cover, use a hole punch to loop a key ring through it, and attach it to your travel bag. Don’t forget to fill out the label with all your vital information. 

10. VHS Standing Lamp

Illuminate your space with a kitschy lamp that will never fail to attract attention. This project resembles the aforementioned VHS lights but takes the concept to a whole new level. Once you've mastered the art of lighting up VHS tapes, complete three or four additional lights to be incorporated into a distinctive lamp. If you stack these, you will be rewarded with a glowing table lamp. They can be attached with glue or even screwed together to create a more permanent piece.

What Can I Do With Family Video Tapes?

The suggestions outlined above are amazing for rarely-used VHS tapes that don't have a lot of personal meaning. With family tapes, however, you'll want to be more careful. These contain precious memories that should be preserved. This is a better-safe-than-sorry situation, so be sure to get your old tapes digitized using a professional service like Legacybox. We are able to digitize not only VHS tapes but also several other types of analog media, such as Betamax and VHS-C.
Once your videos are fully digitized, you can keep the tapes as mementos — or, with your special footage finally safe, you'll be ready to complete the projects outlined above. If you prefer to keep these videos on hand for the time being, use the aforementioned bookcase idea to help show them off.

Digitize Analog Keepsakes Today

The longer you wait to tackle VHS digitization, the more damage your tapes are bound to incur. With Legacybox in your corner, you can preserve not only video footage but also many other precious memories. We make the process simple and straightforward so you can focus on showing off your creative side. Checkout Legacybox today learn what we digitize or for help getting started with the digitization process.
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