How-to: Make an Upcycled Mandala with Buttons and a CD

Upcycled Mandala from Buttons and a CD

Scratching your favorite CD doesn’t have to be a tragedy, at least not when you’ve got something else this cool to upcycle it into!

This mandala, made from an upcycled CD and plenty of buttons, is an easy craft to make, and an easy craft to make look cute. To make it, you will need:

scratched CD. If you don’t have any of your own, ask your friends or check on Freecycle.

buttons. You for sure know somebody who hoards buttons. At the age of 40, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of buttons, some from Craigslist (because how can you resist someone selling their vintage button hoard on Craigslist?!?), but most handed down from two different grandmas.

glue. Kids can use plain white glue–just leave LOTS of drying time!–but I really like a good epoxy glue.

compass, ruler, and marker. You can absolutely eyeball your mandala, but the fussy among us (or the kids whose parents are trying to sneak in more practice with circles and angle measurements) will want to use my trick for making a symmetrical layout.

Upcycled Mandala from Buttons and a CD

1. Use a compass (fine, or a bowl or jar lid) to draw a circle larger than your CD. Use a straight edge to draw the circle’s diameter, then use the protractor (sorry–there’s no substitute for a good protractor!) to measure out 60-degree and 120-degree angles from the center of the circle on the diameter. Draw the lines all the way through the circle, to divide it into equal sixths.

2. Center your CD on the template. Use a marker (a Sharpie or other permanent marker is best) and your straight edge to re-draw the pie onto the CD.

3. Using the template that you’ve drawn on your CD, begin to add buttons. A mandala has rotational symmetry, so the trickiest part of the project can be finding enough similar buttons to go all the way around. The mandala looks good even when the pieces aren’t all completely identical, though, so keep calm and carry on.

Upcycled Mandala from Buttons and a CD

4. Stack or overlap buttons. Don’t forget that you can do this, or add different mosaic materials, paint, yarn, or whatever else you’d like!

Upcycled Mandala from Buttons and a CD

To hang your mandala, glue a loop of twine onto the back. If you used epoxy glue for the buttons, the finished mandala will also be quite sturdy, so try hanging it outside. If you cover the printed side of the CD with your mandala, and leave the reflective side alone, your upcycled mandala would make a lovely garden hanging, one that will also scare away the birds!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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