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Joystiq presents

Recycle your junk into a DS accessory

One of the more fun, crafty trends that has come up in DS fan culture is the homemade DS case. Clever fans are always looking for unusual materials from which they can make cute DS Lite cases. The results are often eye-catching and whimsical, and, on occasion, turn out to be useful as well. The crafters save money on materials, and waste less not only by not buying a new DS case (with disposable packaging) but by opting not to throw away something that has outlived its original usefulness.

We're going to look at some of the recycled-material DS cases we've featured in the past, as well as a couple that we haven't. Then, finally, we'll present our own craft project, which is more on the 'silly' end of the DS case spectrum. It totally holds a DS, though!

As it happens, one of the richest resources for recycled case material is pants. Pants not only cover your legs and provide you with handy pockets, but, when they've stopped being useful for those purposes, can be pressed into service covering and providing pockets for your game system. Three separate DS craft projects that we've covered make use of this abundant resource.

First, John Spain took a pair of jeans and, rescuing the material from a life of obscurity as everyday trousers, crafted this clever DS Lite case using fabric glue. It uses a wraparound design to provide pockets for games and even headphones. He provides step-by-step instructions for this no-sew project at his blog.

Our second pants project evokes the comfort of an old pair of pajamas, because ... it used to be an old pair of pajamas. Incidentally, it also evokes the delicious flavor of some of Frito-Lay's crunchy snack foods. Pajama pants are an excellent source for case material, because the same cozy softness that makes you feel all comfy also keeps your DS from damage and scratches.

The next case, like the last two, uses pants, but differs in purpose. This case, made from a pencil case and some corduroy pants, rolls up to secure 36 DS cards. In addition to being thrifty and responsible, this item fills a need that nothing else on the market does: mass DS card storage.

But pants aren't the only resource available to the eco-conscious DS crafter; other materials can be pressed into service for holding DS systems and accessories. For example, sushi mats, combined with a bit of ribbon, can make adorably idiosyncratic DS cases. Perfect for the person who finds themselves in possession of a sushi mat, but lacking the desire to mash up rice and seaweed into attractive little rolls. Similarly, the ubiquitous home-repair solution, duct tape, can be used to create a DS case. Which is good, because it is often very difficult to find something to do with duct tape. This may not technically be recycling, but it's repurposing, which is close enough. One crafter made a waterproof case by lining his homemade DS case with a Ziploc bag. If a) you have too many Ziploc bags or b) your DS is constantly in danger of getting submerged, you may consider such a plan.

You can even make a comfortable stylus from what would normally be garbage. It's quite easy to make a big, more hand-friendly stylus by simply jamming your DS stylus into an empty pen case. It's even easier, and requires less cutting, if you use a smaller Phat stylus.

Sometimes, recycling doesn't require any craftiness at all, just an eye for what can be used for something else. For example, an Altoids gum tin makes a handy-- and minty-- carrying case for DS cards. The hardest part is getting through all of that gum. As a bonus, it'll imbue your cards with a Curiously Strong scent.

Should you get tired of your PSP, you can use the included nylon case as a nice no-effort DS Lite case. It's also useful if you just feel like carrying one system at a time. Using a game system case for a different game system is a very light repurposing, but it is still less wasteful than having separate cases or buying another case when you have one lying unused.

Finally, we'd like to reveal our own world-exclusive recycled-material DS case that we made over the weekend. Pocky is the snack food of choice for Japanophiles everywhere, and also happens to be yummy. While very quickly working our way through a box of the creamy-coated cookie sticks, we noticed that the box was only slightly larger than a DS. We decided, then, that it would make an amusing showpiece of a DS case. We cut some felt to the approximate size of the inside of the box, glued it in with some Elmer's glue, and fifteen minutes (and zero dollars) later, we had one of the most ridiculous DS carrying cases we'd ever seen. It won't protect our DS from a big fall or anything, but it'll certainly keep it from scratches.

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