I don’t know what it is, but I love vinyl records. I love listening to them. I love the way they look. I love the way I feel when I hold them. There’s just something about vinyl records that makes me happy on the inside. Maybe it’s just the historian side of me that loves tangible objects and my resistance to the wave of digital media. I like holding a musty-smelling record in my hands. Obviously, you can’t do that with downloadable music.
Whenever I go to a thrift store or a garage sale, I immediately find the boxes of records stashed in the corner. I feel like an archeologist sometimes—blowing the dust off the albums hoping I find that rare gem worth hundreds of dollars. Even though I have yet to find the Holy Grail of albums, I do find interesting albums or cover art that draw my attention. I might not know or even like the artist, but album art feels like a lost treasure in our digital age, and I can use these pieces to make art for my home.
Old albums are a unique and cheap way to add decorative pieces to your home. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Frame the Album Covers
One thing I love about vinyl albums is that the covers of them are usually pieces of art themselves. Sometimes I’ll buy an album just because I like the art on the cover. I’ll probably never listen to it, but it’s a unique piece to frame. Most craft stores sell frames specifically designed to hold albums and usually you can pick them up for between $5-$10. I also like to use these frames to display my treasures. Not only can I show them off, but the frames protect them from getting dusty or damaged.
- Display the Records on the Wall
Another thing I saw several people do is take the albums themselves and attach them to the wall. This is a cool idea especially if you can find albums cast in various colors. Even if you can’t find any colorful albums, you can paint them with acrylic or spray paint. I stumbled upon some red and blue transparent albums that will pop really nicely and add variation to my planned album wall art project.The options here are only limited by your creativity. You could simply put the albums on the wall in a grid pattern for a clean, simple look or you could chaotically stack them together for a more dimensional piece. What I plan to do is break a couple of painted records and then reassemble them on my wall with exaggerated spaces between the pieces, so it kind of looks like the records are exploding on the wall!
- Label Coasters
At a couple of shops, I saw people selling coasters made from the inner label part of records. The shop owners sold them for nearly $5 for a single coaster! You can make them at home if you have an electric drill motor and a 4 ½ inch diameter hole saw attachment for it. Simply clamp the record to a piece of scrap wood and center the hole saw attachment on the record. Slowly cut out the label, sand down the edge, spray with an acrylic coating, and let dry for several hours. Then display them proudly on your coffee table.
- Album Bowl
At the same shops I see the marked up coasters, they often also sell bowls made from albums. They usually run about $20 or more dollars. Just like with the coasters, you can make these awesome bowls at home. Start by heating your oven to about 200 degrees. On top of a baking sheet place a metal or oven-safe bowl upside down with the record on top. When the oven reaches temperature, put the baking sheet, bowl, and album in for about 8 minutes. At about 8 minutes the record starts to soften and warp. With heat resistant gloves or oven mitts, pull the bowl and record out carefully. To form the album into more of a bowl shape, put the album inside of the bowl you used in the oven. The record will cool fast once it’s pulled out of the oven, so try to work quickly.
With a little time, creativity, and some spare vinyl albums, you can make some pretty neat conversational pieces for your home. Whether you need a few bowls to hold snacks for a party or have a huge bare wall that needs to be filled with some kind of art, these simple craft ideas will bring both a modern yet retro touch to your home. Plus you can make them yourself, and you can brag about that when all your friends ask you how much your wall art or chip bowl cost.