Old computer monitors

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

My DH bought home a bunch of old computer monitors, said he thought it would make a cool display with my plants. I have not used them yet. Still trying to figure out exactly what to do with them. Any ideas would be welcome here. I was thinking that I should have the grandkids paint them and then put flowers in where the tubes were.

Kinda stumped here...

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Ok.. Taters55 uploaded three pictures to my pallet thread. I really like some of these.....

This message was edited May 16, 2013 1:50 PM

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(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

A few more...

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Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Ok. If my phone will upload. Here is what I came up with.....

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Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Nope.. Headed to the library..

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Ok,, now to show off what I made today!!

1st. pic is of the monitor case after I removed the insides
2nd. pic is the top where I broke out some of the grill so that my morning glories can grow out the top.
3rd. pic is of the dirt going in.
4th. pic is fully planted with various plants, some sedums, vilolas, wandering jew, and morning glories.
5th view shows how the water dragon enjoying the plants.

Now I need to get the other 3 monitors set up and see what I want to do with them.

Hope everyone likes these.

I have 3 towers that are DOA and some wires and keyboards, might use the mother boards to make a planter box..

Stay tuned!!!!!

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(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

Very nice! Are you going to paint them?

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Not this one. But will let Goober paint the others.

mulege, Mexico

I like the cat house that Linda Kay posted. Most cats would love a spot like that. kb

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Well I have 2 catz. I should make one for them.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

My favorite was the aquirum that LK posted... SOOOOOoooooo cool!!!

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

I want to know how that was done. I have tried to figure it out. But either I am to dumb. Or it is photoshoped....

Newark, DE

My guess is.... it is a small aquarium and the front frame fo the montitor is mounted to it. You can't see the sides in the photo so it may not be a cmplete monitor shell at all. It gives the illusion it is.

If it really is inside the whole monitor, then it would likely be a very small aquarium used for a single goldfish or babies. You could also make one to fit using a silicone sealer on the glass just like they use to fix leaky aquariums or construct them.

(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

How to build a fish tank out of an old PC...



This message was edited May 23, 2013 3:39 PM

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)


Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Very creative. I just have to add a word of caution though. Some parts of computers and monitors contain toxic substances, mostly heavy metals, I believe. You or you DH may have already removed the circuit boards and other harmful elements. If not, they may not only harm your plants but also leach harmful substances into your soil.

Again, I think your designs are incredibly creative and I applaud your reuse of items that might otherwise go to the landfill. If you already know about the hazardous materials in computers and have taken steps to remove them, please disregard my post. I just wanted to make sure you were properly advised. Otherwise, rain could leach harmful chemicals into your soil, possibly effecting your plants and even effecting your health should you decide to grow vegetables in effected soil.

The remainder of this post is made up of a few quotes indicating some of the materials involved and also some links.

Below is a list of some (not all) of the hazardous components in computers (source: http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-old-computers.html)

"Computers contain substantial amounts of substances that are harmful to the environment and living things. The following are some of the well-known and potentially dangerous substances:

brominated flame retardants: used in the plastic cases and cables of computers to reduce the flammability of the electronic set, and has been found to affect nervous system, thyroid and liver health in both humans and animals;

cadmium: used in nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries for portable computer sets like laptops and netbooks, and has been found to cause damage to lungs (when fumes are inhaled) and kidneys;

lead: used in cathode ray tube (CRT), glass in computer monitor, as well as in soldering of parts in the computer, and has been found to cause damages to the nervous and brain system;

mercury: used in flat screen monitors, fluorescent tubes etc, and has been found to reduce mental abilities, fertility and even cause death"

The following quote is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Recycling
"Computer components contain many toxic substances, like dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cadmium, chromium, radioactive isotopes, and mercury. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight, much of which is in the lead glass of the cathode ray tube (CRT). A typical 15 inch (38 cm) computer monitor may contain 1.5 pounds (1 kg) of lead,[2] but other monitors have been estimated to have up to 8 pounds (4 kg) of lead.[1] Circuit boards contain considerable quantities of lead-tin solders that are more likely to leach into groundwater or create air pollution due to incineration. The processing (e.g. incineration and acid treatments) required to reclaim these precious substances may release, generate, or synthesize toxic byproducts."

This wikipedia page contains a chart (scan down to the bold caption "Hazardous"): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste
This is a quote from the same wikipedia page: "In the United States, an estimated 70% of heavy metals in landfills comes from discarded electronics"

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Wow,, I was unaware of all that. We completely gutted the monitors. But now I am concetened about using the cases. Will nerd to read up on this.

Thanks for the information!!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

You are very welcome. I'm so glad you understood that I was just trying to warn you - not wanting to rain on your parade, so to speak. I really love your very creative artwork and hope you will find a way to continue it, but just be careful about what materials you include.

Since you gutted the monitors, sounds like you should be quite safe with them. As to the cases, can you also gut them, or would that destroy the design? I think a lot of the toxins are contained on the circuit boards and the solder joints where the wires connect to the boards. You may be able to minimize your risk if you could encase the boards (and solder joints) back and front with a water-proof, non-toxic acrylic coating of some kind. Not sure which product, varnish or other. You would need to check around and be sure to read all of the fine print on the various products to be sure the one you choose is waterproof and non-toxic. Check various clear acrylic sprays in the craft department. Also check artist quality acrylic products. There is a clear acrylic medium (art department) often used to adhere things (paper, cloth, you name it) to acrylic paintings. I can't recall the exact name right now, and I don't know if it fits what you need, but it would be a good one to check. (If I recall name later, will post it)

A number of companies are selling products made from old circuit boards. I bought a set of coasters made from circuit boards for my office some years ago. (I'm an electrical engineer and software developer, so I think they are a cute addition to my desk.) The circuit boards used in the coasters are sealed in some kind of acrylic to make them washable; however, unlike your 'pots' they are not exposed to sun, rain, etc. You mentioned possibly making a container out of old circuit boards. While I think that would be cute, it does present possible problems due to the leaching of hazardous materials into the soil. If you decide to go forward with this idea, you should definitely seal the boards with some kind of clear acrylic product. Also consider making a cache pot, the type decorative container that holds a pot and saucer inside. This way if you are careful not to overflow the saucer when watering the plant, there will be no problem. I would still seal the boards though, as accidents do happen.

Although I didn't mention it above, the EPA has designated old computers and monitors as hazardous household waste, meaning they cannot be disposed of by simply tossing them in with one's trash. If sent to the landfill, they have to go to a special area where workers will disassemble them to remove hazardous and desirable materials. Yes, those computers/monitors also contain small amounts of rare and valuable materials such as gold. I think it's a very good idea to read up on this subject. You can get info online and can probably also get some info from the folks that run your local landfill and trash pickup services. The latter usually publish and disseminate info on this subject as part of their instructions for the public on what goes where in trash and recycling.

Best of luck to you. (If you are able to resolve the hazardous issues, you might want to consider marketing your art.)

Elfie @ Goodwater,, AL(Zone 7b)

Thanks for all the info. I am taling all the inards to a nice man I met resently. He takes all the recycleable stuff out and then properly disposes of the rest.

This is a better solution for me. As I donot have the time to do all the nesessary work to properly dispose of the bad parts. I will look into the outdoor Dhisives and sealers to see which are best for me to use with the monitor cases. I do wamt to dress them up a bit!

I have thought of selling some of my stuff, We are having a big craft show in October, and I might do some small gardens in various containers for that. I have lots of safe materials for that one on hand.

Again I want to thank you for all the information. ;)

Newark, DE

I once saw a coffee table made from circuit boards that was for sale at almost $2000. I looked for it and found even more stuff. Check them out DreamofSpring.


I hope they are safely encased or at least okay because some were made into clothes. Yikes!

(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

Hope they are sealed in polyurethane or something?

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