Look, don't get us wrong, we think the best use for any record is on your turntable soundtacking your life. But even for the most careful record collector, natural wear and tear — warping, scratches, and skips — can get in the way of that. We've all, at one point or another, found ourselves tragically in possession of record that can no longer be played. Luckily, there are a number of ways to repurpose records that will showcase your love of vinyl and bring new life into your favorite listening space. And you don't even need to be a master crafter! We'll show you how.
Need to bring a little law and order to that dusty old bookshelf? Look no further than your old/unused records.
This one’s a real easy one. All you’ll need will be an unwanted record, a heat resistant baking tray and something sturdy and flat (a wood plank works great!) to rough-out any wrinkles in the record. Once you’ve got all your gear, go ahead and get some water boiling!
Once you have some boiling water, pour it into the baking tray until you have about an inch worth of water. Then, take the record and slowly feed it into the water as it begins to bend. From here, you’ll need to decide for yourself just how long you want the bottom (the part that goes under the books) to be. Any length is fine, so long as you make sure it curves at a 90° angle — this is where the sturdy and flat tool comes in.
Once you have the length you prefer, take the tool and run it along the now-warped bottom. This is to flatten it out and get rid of any of the kinks. After this, bring the tool over to the curved part, and hold the record pressed up against the wood at a 90° angle for about a minute. Voilà!
A perfect way to repurpose an unwanted record into something useful and stylish!
There are only a few things you’ll need to turn a record into a clock. The record, of course, and a clock kit. Clock kits are really easy to find, and cheap! A quick search on Amazon brings up tons of results, most under $10. Just pick one you like, and soon enough it’ll be a stylish record-clock!
The whole operation part of this project is incredibly easy. All you need to do is remove the hands from the clock kit, insert the part the hands were attached to into the hole in the middle of the record, and put the hands back on. Some folks like to spray paint label in the middle of the record to make for more agreeable decor—if you decide to do this, just pop the record back into its sleeve, tape the edges of the circle in the middle, spray away with a paint color of your choice, and repeat the first couple steps with your fresh lookin’ record.
And just like that, you’ve got a unique and fully functional clock on your hands! You’ve also got a great how-to manual right here to send your friends when they inevitably demand to know your secret.
An incredibly easy way to turn that old record collecting dust into a fully functional vessel to fill with anything your heart desires.
The first step is to preheat your oven to 200°F. It’s important not to set your oven any hotter, because it will cause the record to begin releasing toxic fumes! Next you’ll need a ceramic or oven-safe bowl to place in the oven. Once the oven is preheated, place the bowl upside down in the oven and then place the record on top of the bowl, in the center. Set a timer for six to eight minutes, and let the oven take it from here.
Once the timer goes off, the record should be droopy, floppy, and totally malleable. Throw on an oven mitt or two (the bowl will be a lot hotter than the record), and pull the bowl and record out of the oven. From this point on, it’s a high-octane race against the clock. You’ll have one minute to shape the record into the bowl shape you desire. The easiest way to do this is to turn that bowl you placed in the oven right-side-up again, and push the record down into the bottom of it, while pressing the sides of the record firmly along the sides of the bowl. You may want to hold the record in place while it begins hardening, to ensure it doesn’t move after release.
Ta-da! You’ve got a brand spankin’ new bowl on your hands, ready to fill with whatever you please. One thing to note, however, is that you’ll need to hand wash them when they need to be cleaned. They will return to the aforementioned “droopy, floppy and totally malleable” state if placed in the dishwasher.
**Bonus: with a hole in the bottom already for drainage, these record bowls make wonderful planters!
Jonah is a production student at UW-Madison. Most nights he dreams that he is Spider-man and hopes that maybe one day he will be.