7 Incredible DIY Ideas for Recycling Old TVs

Don’t want to throw away your old bulky TV, but it’s taking up too much space? Turn it into a monitor and save money, turn it into a bar, or turn it into a cool 80s themed clock and instantly start a conversation. Check out these and more ideas for repurposing old TVs below.


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Note that most older televisions are equipped with CRTs whose charge is powerful enough to seriously injure or even kill you. So make sure to unload your old TV before emptying it and if you don’t know how to do this, ask an electronics expert to help you.


1. Hack an old TV into an audio visualizer

Want to improve the audio quality of your podcast, audio productions, or YouTube vlogs, but can’t afford to splurge on an audio visualizer? Transform an old TV into one and save money while putting that 70s TV to good use. And since it’s just simulating an oscilloscope, this DIY idea doesn’t require years of electronics experience (you only need to be careful with cathode ray tubes which can contain charges).

Besides an analog TV (preferably black and white), you will also need a music player with a headphone jack, electrical tape, male-to-male stereo cable, electrical tape, solder, flux solder, a soldering iron and a screwdriver. disassemble the TV as shown in the guide on Instructables.

2. Turn an old TV into an 80s-themed clock

Analog TV technology may be outdated, but it still gives off a cool retro vibe, and the best way to experience it and use that old TV in practice is to turn it into a clock on the 80s theme. When finished, your cool clock will display the time in retro-themed melting numbers and in four different color themes you’ll love. The best part? This will be an 80s themed clock with a web based setup!

Besides a CRT TV, you’ll also need a micro USB cable, an Adafruit HUZZAH32 Feather, an RCA terminal block, and jumper cables to complete the setup shown in the demo above. Check out the step-by-step guide at Instructables To complete this project.

Related: Interesting projects that use ESP32 to generate composite video

3. Old ambient LED light from a TV with Kodi

Ambilight TVs are all the rage these days. They add a beautiful, colorful and immersive touch to TV viewing by making even a small screen appear larger while reducing glare. But they are also quite expensive. Fortunately, you don’t have to blow your budget, because you can always equip a standard TV model with an LED array to achieve the same effect.

You will need a power source, 5V or 12V, a 5A step-down converter, a Banana Pi M3 or Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and an LED strip (use WS2811 if you are using a 12V power source, or WS2812B if using 5V). Stick the LED strip to the back of the TV and note the direction as you will need to make six connections as shown in the step by step guide on Instructables. Next, prepare the Banana Pi or Raspberry Pi, connect everything, configure the software and connect an app to control Kodi remotely.

4. Make a Light Panel from an Old CCFL Backlit TV

If your old TV is already broken, make good use of its still functional components. In this case, to be precise, recover its CCFL backlight to make a light panel. Unscrew the backplate and carefully remove the internal parts until the old screen is exposed.

Next, remove the metal border securing the backlight panel and collect the CCFL panel with the board it is mounted on, connect it to its driver, then plug the first into your socket, and voilà! You will have a working CCFL light panel. For more DIY lighting ideas, you can check out the best Arduino LED projects.

5. Turn a 70s TV into a Monitor

Modern monitors are great, but imagine playing on that clunky wooden TV from the 70s that made your childhood more interesting. When you’re done with this DIY project, you’ll be able to do it and have a cool-looking retro monitor to amp up your media center.

It’s pretty simple too. All you need to do is remove the CRT tube and circuitry from the old TV and replace it with an appropriately sized modern monitor as shown in the YouTube tutorial above. Consider reusing the circuits from the old TV to further reduce costs if they are still functional. Check Instructables guide to easily complete this project.

6. Seinfeld-themed aquarium from an old TV

This simple DIY project allows you to create a more spacious home for your pet fish while giving your old TV a new place in the living room.

Wear gloves as it will likely be dusty and remove the back plate to access the innards. Cut the power cord using wire cutters and all wires connected to the circuit board, including the tube and anything connected. Unscrew the four screws from each corner to remove the tube and do the same for the circuit board and remaining parts.

Disassemble the tube to get the screen from the old TV, sand it, attach it to the case and assemble the rest of the aquarium, as explained in the step-by-step guide on Awesomeness Projects.

7. Transform an old TV into a bar

Old televisions make unique liquor cabinets. So if you don’t have anywhere to store your bottles, make good use of your old TV by transforming it into a bar.

As with most DIY ideas for recycling an old TV, start by discharging the TV using a quality insulated screwdriver or, if available, a discharge cable. Next, gut the interior of the TV and equip the walls and floor with 6mm thick composite wood. Replace the original backplate and your bar will be ready to use. Feel free to add lighting or printed stickers for that extra oomph.

Related: Amazing Tech DIY Ideas to Instantly Improve Your Man Cave

Reinventing Old Technology Using Analog TVs

Whether you’re bored and looking for something to occupy yourself or you have a TV from the 80s and looking to put it to good use, one of the DIY ideas above is a great way to restore the old technology. Try one out or use it as inspiration for your own TV recycling project.


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