Part 2 in a series of 12
Hooray! The first of many handmade tutorials – I hope you’re excited . . .
These handy dandy bowls are actually made from real records! (You know, those things from the olden days… before CD’s, before cassette tapes, before 8 tracks? ) These make great gifts, and best of all, they meet some of the most important GPP criteria: A) Cheap, at approximately 50 cents a pop, B) Thirft-able at most any second-hand shop, and C) Upcycled – one of my favorite words!
I first saw these in the Historic Charleston City Market while on vacation with my family in 2009. They were being sold for about $10 each — a huge profit for this vendor — and I thought they were so clever, I bought one! Of course, I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to figure out HOW to make these.
Since then, I have made quite a few in various shapes and styles, so I thought I’d share the step-by-step process (so easy!) so you can make your own. ENJOY!
How to Make a Bowl out of an Old Vinyl Record
(“Old…Record”: that’s an oxymoron, right?
1. Acquire a record. These can be found in attics, basements, storage closets, and/or thrift stores. If you do not have any or have sentimentality attached to the records in their current flattened form, you can easily obtain one at a thrift store or on Ebay for pennies. Literally. If you’re hard-pressed to find a record that has a label or band you like, keep in mind that once it’s a bowl, you won’t see the bottom if you have anything in it, so it probably doesn’t really matter. Oh — and if you’re making these as Christmas gifts, it might be fun to use a Christmas album of some sort – thrift store shelves are often overflowing with holiday albums.
2. Work in a well-ventilated space. This is a really important one, since records emit toxic fumes. However, as long as you open your windows or door and don’t stick your head in the oven, you’ll be fiiine. Scout’s honor.
3. Remove record from album sleeve and place on a flat pan or cookie sheet. If you want to make a tray, then this is all the prep work you need to do. If you want to make a bowl, you may want to put the record on top of an oven safe bowl, turned upside-down (more on this in number five).
4. Place record and cookie sheet/pan in a 200 degree oven. This is not a fix-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. I would definitely advise staying in the room while the vinyl is heating up – it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. When the record is floppy, with the consistency of a fruit roll-up, you may remove it from the oven and begin to work.
5. Remove from and mold with hands to desired shape. Some people will tell you to use tongs; I find this completely unnecessary. Either place a towel on top or wear oven mitts, using your hands to pull up and crinkle the edges. If the record cools off before you can finish, simply place it back in the oven to re-soften and try to mold it again. It may take a few attempts… or you may get it perfectly to your liking the first time. If you want a very rounded bowl shape, you can place the record on top of an upside down, oven-safe bowl, OR you can add an additional bowl on top, which will round out the bottom even more as gravity pulls the top bowl down while the vinyl is softening. As before, use hands to further refine the edges; I recommend molding them into a wavy pattern.
6. Allow to cool. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and then you’re done!
These make great, unique gifts, especially ideal for a bachelor pad dweller or a music enthusiast. If you’ll indulge me while I channel my inner soccer mom, these would make great teacher gifts, too: fill them with wrapped candy, baked goods, or other small items, wrap in cellophane, and tie with a bow at the top — a lot more cost-effective than buying a container or coffee mug and doing the same thing (and who hasn’t done this at some point?)
However, because these emit toxic fumes when heated, they are NOT dishwasher safe, and I probably wouldn’t recommend using them for (unwrapped) food. Ok? Don’t do it. If you must clean them, just use cold water, mild soap, and a non-abrasive scrubber or towel.
Anyway, who needs to put food in these bowls, when you can use them for Post-it note storage instead? Right?!