Published in the Fall 2005 issue • DIY
Give old, unloved vinyl a groovy new life
If you aren’t a vinyl collector yourself, chances are your parents have a box of unused and outdated hits on vinyl rotting away in the basement. There may only be a few gems in that treasure box, but don’t let the rest go to waste. Record bowls are a fun and easy way to reuse old vinyl. They look great in your room and make excellent gifts. Plus, they’re easy to make: all the tools you need are probably already in your kitchen.
- 1 record (that you never want to listen to again)
- 1 cookie sheet
- 1 small bowl
- 1 medium bowl
- An oven
Preheat the oven to 250°F, making sure the rack is in the middle of the oven. (You don’t want it too close to the top or something funky will happen.) While the oven warms up, you can prepare your record.
Turn the small bowl upside down on the middle of the cookie sheet and place the record on top of the bowl’s flat bottom. Try to make sure the record’s hole is centred, but it doesn’t really matter if it’s not perfect.
When the oven is nice and hot, slide the cookie sheet in and set the timer for 4 or 5 minutes. This is the fun part: watch the record fold downwards and warp as it begins to melt. It won’t take long for the record to become soft.
Meanwhile, your medium bowl should be open-side up and waiting on the counter. You’re going to use it to shape the record.
When time’s up, take the cookie sheet out. At this point, your record will be lying in waves around the small bowl, with the label flat on top. Pick up the record, but be careful! It could be hot (mine are usually just cool enough to handle with my bare hands).
Now you’ve got to be quick. The record will cool and harden in a few minutes and you won’t be able to work with it anymore. Pick it up and flip it over into the medium bowl. The sides should fold up and create waves. You can shape these gently with your hands. It’s a good idea to have one hand holding the middle of the record down flat on the bottom of your medium bowl; otherwise your record bowl will have a wobbly bottom.
When you’re happy with the shape of your record bowl, or it starts to harden, leave it. In 5 minutes, it should be stiff and ready for whatever you want to do with it.
Tip: If you have trouble finding old records, check the curb on garbage night. The records I used for this project were trash until I rescued them. Thrift stores and garage sales are also great places to find unwanted vinyl. Look for colourful labels with pictures or fun text; they’ll be more exciting than plain black.