How To Melt Your Own Record-Setting LP Bowl
Making a bowl out of a vinyl record is one of the most simple projects there is. There are very few items needed to make it work, and not a whole lot of human intervention once you’ve gotten started. And your end result is a sinuous LP bowl, great for holding keys or guitar picks, or for hanging on the wall, or a million other things. (They also make great cheap but cool gifts!) Check out how I used this one as the centerpiece on my kitchen table. Rad, right? And it took me almost no time to make.
GET THIS STUFF FIRST
All you need is:
- An oven-safe bowl.
- An oven
- A vinyl record (don’t you DARE use a nice one that an audio geek somewhere [cough cough] might love dearly, look for the scratched up or shitty ones. More on this later.)
- Gloves / wooden spoon
The bowl you choose as your base is the most important part of the project, believe it or not. Because here’s what happens: you put the record on top of the bowl, and let it melt into the form of the bowl. So, is your bowl broad? Deep? Shallow? Small? The end shape of your record bowl will reflect this shape. (For instance, these use deep bowls, because the vinyl folds straight down.)
I tend to think they look best with something like a large serving bowl or large salad bowl underneath, something not too deep. (Deep bowl = steep sided record bowl.)
But this is a DIY, isn’t it! So let’s get around to actual instructions.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR REALLY SIMPLE RECORD BOWL
Get your supplies together. Clean off the record,wiping dust or gunk off your bowl. Turn your oven to around 200 degrees F, maybe 250. Use an oven thermometer if unsure.
Put the bowl face down on a cookie sheet . Put the record on the bowl. Make sure it’s centered.
Sit on your hands for 5-10 minutes while it melts. You are allowed to look at it once or twice; only touch the record if you can see it’s looping in a weird direction. I use the end of a wooden serving spoon to tease it into a new position. You might be able to just put on gloves and use your hands– just make sure not to grip it too hard or move too fast.
Take it out and let it cool– keep your hands off! Go eat a cookie or something!
Make your LP bowl cooler by
using records with sentimental bands or titles, well-designed labels, or with great colored vinyl itself. When I moved across the country a few years ago, a dear friend made this record bowl for me. I’m not sure if you can tell, but the name of the record is “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It really meant a lot. (Sign up for my mailing list and be the first to get a heads-up with the DIY for this Invisible Floating Bookshelf goes up!)
However, again: do not use good records for crafting! Me and the other vinyl nerds will cry and cry.
I got this blue record for a dollar, however, at local record store End of an Ear. If you don’t have a lot of indie record stores in your area (trying to check my Austin music privilege here!), try garage sales for cheap as free stuff, and Half Price Books will often have scratched up vinyl they’re happy to unload. Or, just, ask your parents, your elderly neighbor, and/or the thrift store down the road.
Take it a step farther by using different techniques to make the bowl (using a can to shape the vinyl, using two bowls, etc). Here’s a good rundown of a couple of other options, both using cans in combination with a bowl to shape a deeper finished product.
I like it a little more freestyle than that, however. I really think the Calamity Jay way is the best. I’ve tried others and this is the one I think is the easiest and looks the coolest.