The most important aspect of mix CDs is the music, of course. But I still get a little sad when I see this:
In this day and age, mix CDs are meant to be special! Sentimental! Forever-style keepsakes! So why not present them in artistic and aesthetically-pleasing ways that represent that? Here are some cool updates on jewel cases, liner notes, and Sharpie art that better reflect just how awesome homemade CDs are. Get ready, because your friends (and crushes) are about to be sooooo impressed.
1. Create a keepsake case out of felt.
Put a little personalized note alongside the track list in the pocket. Tutorial here.
2. Make this easy paper sleeve out of inexpensive parcel paper.
Then illustrate or otherwise decorate to your heart's desire. Directions here.
3. Or use card stock.
Punch a hole and wrap with twine to include a little tag, as seen above.
4. Make this rad packaging out of a paper bag.
Full tutorial here.
5. If you don't want to do a ton of work, there are printable cases online.
Print the above case onto card stock and you're good to go. Here's the PDF.
6. Make a collage, then accent it with paint.
You can use a glue stick for thin paper or rubber cement for card stock.
7. Add order to a wild-looking pattern.
Glue notebook paper or an index card to the back for the track list.
8. Use multiple mediums!
Go crazy with letter stickers, drawings, wrapping paper, markers…whatever you want, really.
9. Paint it with watercolor.
Give each song a different stripe of color. Gorgeous.
10. Get a label maker involved.
The decoupage tactic of cutting words out of newsprint is also cool for projects like these.
11. Sponge paint it!
Cut a kitchen sponge into a heart shape, dip in a mix of paint colors, stamp, done.
12. And you don't even have to craft to make it look great.
Just use a fine-point Sharpie and colored pencils to make cute little illustrations on the tracklist and CD.
THE CD ITSELF
13. Copy one of these simple Sharpie designs.
There are plenty more to be found here.
14. Or replicate your giftee's favorite painting in marker.
This “Starry Night” one is pretty great.
15. Why not just fill the whole space with little doodles?
You could make teensy cartoons of all their favorite things.
16. Or, conversely, use negative space.
Fill in most of the CD with a black marker, leaving the design part blank.
All told, I think that just as long as you put in more effort than this, you'll be pretty much fine.