Creative Ways to Reuse An Old Printer

Old HP All-In-One

The following is a guest post.

Many of us have an old printer lying around that we just don’t use anymore. While it’s pretty easy nowadays to simply Google directions to your local computer parts recycling center in order to drop off your old printer, but where’s the fun in that? There are many exciting alternatives to giving your whole printer away to a recycling center. There are still valuable uses for your old printer; you just have to be creative about it.

Printer BBQ

Many larger printers have metal outer casings that can be artistically repurposed into just about anything. Why not turn your old junk printer into a new BBQ? Much like in the picture below, you can turn your old printer into a portable fire pit. In my experience, if you line the inside with heavy tinfoil, it will focus the heat much more efficiently without scorching your printer case as badly.

BBQ Printer

Put another print on the barbee!

Printer Planter Box

Whether you’re a novice gardener or you have more green thumbs than you know what to do with, making a planter box out of your old printer is a great place to start. As pictured below, your average desktop printer can easily be given a new life as a planter unique planter box.

Printer Planter

Now prints flowers! (Photo credit: Ravmatt via

Large or small, you can turn your old printer into the most eye-catching planter boxes on the block with just a few modifications. Just make sure that when you gut the internal components from your printer that you don’t crack the outer shell. If the outer shell does get cracked, it is possible to fix it, but it will leak water until it does. Once everything is gutted and you have your planter sealed, you can then donate the unused component pieces to your local computer recycling center.

Printer Safe

Now that your trusty printer as served you in the document world, it can keep your valuables secure in its afterlife as a great hide-a-safe. By gutting some of the internal components, especially if it has an internal paper tray, you can create a great place to hide a small strong box. Thieves will look for hours before they would think to open up an old printer to find valuables. You can even dress up the old printer by having a “fake” plugin and by keeping old papers on top of it to make it look like it’s still in use.

Printer Safe

Is it an old printer or a new safe? Burglars will never know…

Turn your old printer into extra cabinet space

As someone who works from home from time to time, I know how easy it is to let your home office space get cluttered. There are so many things that are best stored within arm’s reach, like snacks, or extra office supplies, or even extra computer parts. If you don’t have enough drawer space, or you don’t want all of your items sitting out in the open, then you can turn your old printer into a handy, clutter-free storage bin. As seen in the pictures below, an old, Epson front-loading desk printer can be gutted, and turned into convenient self-storage for your desk. You can even store your extra vitamins and medications in there for extra medicine cabinet space.

Printer Pantry

When it’s closed, it looks clean and uncluttered

Printer Pantry

Open it up to find tons of hidden storage space.

Printer Pantry

Use your old printer to store snacks or even bread for the family.

Bread Box

An old printer makes a perfect avant garde bread box for the modern kitchen.

Turning your old printer into a handy and unique bread box is simple too. Just take the insides out using a rubber mallet and a flat-head screwdriver, or needle nosed pliers, then line the inside with heavy-duty aluminum. Toss in a few loaves of freshly baked bread and you have yourself a safe and fun bread box that will be the envy of the whole neighborhood.

At the very least, you can always just recycle or donate your printer to a local charitable organization, but barring that, you can have a bit of fun with your old printer. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back from giving your junk printer another life as something that’s useful in a different way.

Author Carla Eaton has a B.A. in Mass Media and writes on the topics of business, technology, and design. She currently blogs for, who specializes in Dell printer cartridges. She enjoys re-purposing many things around the house including, printers, television sets, and old computers. When she’s not repurposing, she enjoys TexMex cooking with her family.

4 thoughts on “Creative Ways to Reuse An Old Printer

  1. What an absolutely brilliant article! A friend of mine repurposed a massive old air conditioner unit into a compost pile, and I was so impressed! I hadn’t seen anything quite like it…until now.

    Great tips, and excellent ways to keep junk out of landfills!

  2. Pingback: Un plóter, un xilófono o una caja fuerte: 10 maneras de reutilizar tu vieja impresora | FIRS

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  4. Okay.. I’m sorry for necroing this, but seeing as how it showed up within the first two pages of a 4 term Google search, it seems pertinent.
    For one, is this a joke article? There’s a thousand-and-one how-tos and whatnot for repurposing old printers for a myriad of applications given that they are essentially robots in a box.
    I can appreciate the humor of writing such an article that only reuses the cases/shells as they are the least useful part and the most impractical to store in your garage, but..
    Your very first example is extremely dangerous. You do not specify a model of printer to use for a fire pit, so you are essentially suggesting that any model is fine. Printer cases are most often painted, contain plastic bits and mechanical lubricant where shafts and gear cogs had been, and some are not solid metal, but alloys that can contain even more toxic materials never intended to be subjected to fire…and you’re roasting shish kebab s over it all. So after the cook gets a heavy dose of potentially toxic fumes, his friends and/or family get to eat the meat that’s been smoked with those same toxins!

    FYI, your “fire pit” is a computer case and not a printer. Look at the warping and uneven discoloration on the -outside- of the case.

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