Post #500: Homage to the punch card wreath

Posted on December 16, 2019


IBM punch (or punched) cards were a ubiquitous computer waste product in the heyday of mainframe computing.  Nearly every business, university, or government agency had boxes of used punch cards that were waiting to be thrown away. We would now classify them as WORM (Write Once Read Many) media.

Source:  Columbia University.

For reasons that are lost in the mists of time (or maybe not), somebody figured out that you could make a pretty nice holiday wreath out of used punch cards.  As I recall, all you needed was a stapler and maybe some spray paint.  And so, at some point in the 1960s and early 1970s, there was a fad for turning these discarded WORM media into a holiday decoration.

Source:  Googled it.

While that may seem pretty weird today, this wasn’t the only instance of converting trash to holiday decorations.  For example, there was also a fad for making wreaths out of another couple of ubiquitous waste products, dry cleaner bags and wire coat hangers.

Source:  Googled it again.

I think their success lay in the fact that they were holiday crafts that any kid could make.  And, in fact, the end product didn’t look too bad.

Fast-forward to the present, and the ubiquitous cheap disposable WORM media of the day has to be CDs and DVDs.  In bulk, these cost about fifteen cents each.  Like the punch card, once you’ve written on it, you can’t reuse it.  And so, all over the country, households have stacks of used CDs and DVDs that are waiting to be thrown out.

As an homage to the punch-card wreathes of my youth, years ago my son and I put together the modern WORM media analog:  The CD/DVD holiday wreath.  He posted the complete set of instructions on and they are still there (45K+ hits so far) if you’d like to see how to make one.  The trick is to space the CDs out so that they are nice and even, and then glue them up.