15 Creative Ideas of What You Can Do with Old VHS Tapes from Repurposing to Recycling Them

15 Creative Ideas of What You Can Do with Old VHS Tapes from Repurposing to Recycling Them

If you’re like many other families, you have tons of old VHS tapes cluttering your home, taking up space, gathering dust, and never being used.  Over time, VHS tapes have become more and more obsolete, and many families no longer own a VCR, but fortunately, there are still many alternative options. 

Over the last 23 years of digitizing memories, Capture has heard tons of creative, fun, useful, and interesting ideas for what to do with old VHS tapes. We put together the top 15 ideas to repurpose your old tapes as well as options for digitizing, donating, and recycling.

Keep reading to learn how to preserve your memories, recycle VHS tapes, or repurpose old tapes for creative projects like a lampshade, picture frame, jump rope, or rug. 

Brief Overview of What You Can Do With Old VHS Tapes

    1. Make a VHS tape lampshade
    2. Create a VHS tape mosaic
    3. Make a VHS tape purse or wallet
    4. Use VHS tape as ribbon
    5. Create VHS tape jewelry
    6. Use VHS tape as shoelaces
    7. Make a VHS tape picture frame
    8. Use VHS tape as a plant hanger
    9. Make a VHS tape sculpture
    10. Create a VHS tape birdhouse
    11. Use VHS tape as a jump rope
    12. Create a VHS tape notebook cover
    13. Use VHS tape as a hair accessory
    14. Make a VHS tape rug
    15. Create a VHS tape wall hanging

 

Digitize Tapes

Regardless of what you plan on doing with your video tapes, we highly recommend that you digitize the memories first. This will preserve your home movies in digital format, which preserves the memories as your tapes degrade. 

Digital files also take up significantly less space and make it much easier to enjoy memories on any device like a cell phone or laptop. This makes it possible for future generations to view the memories without access to a VHS player. In addition, you can share digital home videos effortlessly over social media and email. 

You can digitize VHS tapes yourself, but it requires a VCR or camcorder to play the home movies. Plus, it takes a lot of time because you will probably have to digitize them in real-time. That being said, there are some decent-quality options for VHS to digital converters that work with or without a computer. 

The other option is to have a professional digitization service like Capture to create high-quality digital copies of your precious memories. This ensures the highest possible quality while also ensuring that the tapes do not become damaged during the process. Capture’s service also comes with complimentary Memory Cloud access, a satisfaction guarantee, and protection for your memories using our state-of-the-art security and tracking system. 

 

Another option is to donate or recycle VHS tapes. You might be able to donate old home movies to the Salvation Army, libraries, museums, Goodwill, thrift stores, antique shops, and other places that may be interested in the footage or the cassette tapes themselves. 

If you are wondering what to do with old Disney VHS tapes then selling them on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist may even be an option. You might also want to check FreeCycle to give away stuff to people in your area. 

In addition, you can make sure that the plastics don’t end up in a landfill or the ocean by sending your old VHS tapes to an e-waste recycling center. However, you can’t simply put them into a recycling bin because the magnetic tape is Mylar tape and may contain hazardous waste and toxic chemicals. 

Some recycling companies that accept old electronic waste include GreenDisk and TerraCycle. GreenDisk offers Technotrash cans that you fill up with all your old electronics. Then, you send it to their recycling services for a small fee, which makes it convenient to recycle VHS tapes as well as all your other electric equipment that you don’t need anymore. TerraCycle, on the other hand, offers freer recycling services and you can search for a drop-off point on their website. 

Finally, some Best Buy locations recycle old electronic devices and encourage visitors who are decluttering to bring in their VHS and audio cassettes as well as a wide range of other analog formats. Whoever you choose for recycling VHS tapes, just make sure you ask them how to prepare the tapes before sending or donating them. 

 

Repurpose

The final option is to upcycle or reuse your VHS tapes for another purpose. This unlocks a ton of creative opportunities for your videotapes. Here are 15 of the best ideas that Capture experts have heard over the years. 

 

1. Make a VHS tape lampshade

You can use VHS tapes to make a lampshade by removing the magnetic tape and wrapping it around a frame. The light will shine through the Mylar tape and create a one-of-a-kind lampshade for your home. While most VHS cassettes are black, you can combine them with clear audio cassettes to use the full tapes to make a lampshade as well. 

2. Create a VHS tape mosaic

You can use the different components of your VHS tapes to create a unique mosaic. Most VHS tapes have black and white components and may contain red or silver parts as well. Plus, you can color or paint the parts to create an original piece of art. 

3. Make a VHS tape purse or wallet

VHS tapes make great wallets and purses that epitomize nostalgia. The case can be used to hold cash, ID cards, credit cards, make-up, and anything else while the magnetic tape can be repurposed as the handbag strap. You can even add zippers, decorations, and more to make it your own. 

4. Use VHS tape as ribbon

Use the magnetic tape from your VHS cassettes as a ribbon for your hair, to put on Christmas gifts, or to use to decorate a flower vase. In fact, VHS tape can be repurposed for pretty much anything you use ribbon for. 

5. Create VHS tape jewelry

Magnetic tape can also be used to make sparkly, shiny bracelets and necklaces that look cool and much prettier than you’d think. It’s possible to make it look like rope. You can also use the labels from VHS movies and other components to create emblems and jewelry decorations. 

6. Use VHS tape as shoelaces

Remove the VHS tape from the cassettes and use it as durable, attractive, and unique shoe laces. As a bonus, you can use some of it as a belt or sash. Before you know it, you will have an entire VHS tape wardrobe! 

7. Make a VHS tape picture frame

Your VHS tapes contain precious memories, so it makes sense to combine those VHS cassettes with other photo memories. Use the whole tape to construct an interesting frame or take off the flap portion to make a thinner frame for your photos. 

8. Use VHS tape as a plant hanger

VHS tape boxes can be used to hold and grow plants, both artificial and natural and some sellers sell VHS planters on Etsy. In addition, you can use the magnetic tape portion to hang the plant for a unique, vintage plant hanger. 

9. Make a VHS tape sculpture

Use the VHS tapes as building blocks and pieces to create a sculpture or deconstruct them for smaller pieces to sculpt artwork. If you have children in your family, then they may also like to use VHS tapes as toys to build. 

10. Create a VHS tape birdhouse

VHS tapes make great birdhouses. You can punch out one of the white reels to create an opening and add a place for the bird to stand in the lower one. Then, you can even hang the birdhouse with the magnetic tape inside. 

11. Use VHS tape as a jump rope

Kids love to jump rope and it’s a great workout for adults, so why not use your magnetic tape to make a jump rope?! You can even roll it up and tie it together to make good handles for the ends. It’s durable enough to last a while and won’t involve spending any money. 

12. Create a VHS tape notebook cover

You can use the covers of your Disney, blank tapes, or other movies to make a notebook cover. You can also use tape labels or even the magnetic tape to decorate notebooks, binders, folders, and more. This can be a fun project to do with the kids and tell them all about the glory days of VHS. 

13. Use VHS tape as a hair accessory

You can use the Mylar tape from VHS cassettes as a decorative hair tie, use it to make a bow, or even use the reels as ponytail rings. Additionally, use magnetic tape as a bandana or headband that keeps your hair out of your eyes. 

14. Make a VHS tape rug

A VHS tape rug can display an awesome, nostalgic aesthetic. To create a VHS rug, all you must do is weave the magnetic tape together into a pattern that holds. There are instructions online, but the result is magnificent and, of course, unique. 

15. Create a VHS tape wall hanging

It’s possible to use the boxes, cassettes, and tape to make awesome wall hangings or doorway beads. With the cassettes and boxes, you can display them in different patterns to make a coordinated piece of wall art. Try hanging the tape strips in doorways and across walls and add your own beads and accessories to bring it to life. 

 

Conclusion

Whether you are wondering how to dispose of VHS tapes or what to do with old VHS tapes that are getting in your way and cluttering up your home, there are plenty of options including donating home movies, recycling, and reusing them to create new art, crafts, designs, and more. 

However, whichever of these more than 15 ideas you choose, make sure that you digitize your home movies first to preserve them forever. Capture can turn your VHS tapes into high-quality digital files to share, view, and cherish. Click here to learn more about our VHS transfer service! 

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