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How to Upcycle Vinyl Records: 30 Ideas to Get Started

It doesn’t matter what thrift store you go to, you’ll likely find vinyl records! The good news is, there are some great ways to upcycle vinyl records!

Vinyl records are very versatile and you can do a lot of things with them. A lot of people like to keep them looking just the way the are, other people like to paint them or cover them. You can bend, mold, and cut them into almost any shape you’d like. The possibilities are pretty much endless!

Here is a quick overview of what you can do with vinyl records. I hope this will give you some ideas of what you might want to create with them. A lot of people put their creations on Etsy and resell them. Others like to add them to their retro decor.

How Do You Paint Vinyl Records?

A lot of people like to use vinyl records as a canvas and make beautiful art work on there. Of course, they only used the scratched and unplayable records. Just do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll see a lot of amazing artists showing their work.

Here is a simple step-by-step for how to paint vinyl records:

  1. Clean any dirt or dust off the record with some water and a clean rag.

  2. This step is optional. Some people like to primer the entire surface to get a surface that pain will adhere too. It also also helps to fill in of the deep grooves and give the record a smoother surface.

  3. If you just want a solid color on the entire record, you can use a spray paint that is specifically for good for plastics. You’ll probably need two coats and be sure to let it dry completely in between coats.

  4. If you used a light colored primer and wish to paint a design on, you can now use a pencil to mark out your lines or simply start free hand painting.

  5. There are a variety of different paints that work well, from water based to oil to acrylic. Use whatever you like and even experiment with different types to see what gives the best results.

How to Melt Vinyl Records

For a lot of the projects you find on this post and on Pinterest, it will require melting and bending of some sort. This is one of the things that make vinyl records so great because you can find a lot of new uses for them just with a few simple bends.

The process of melting vinyl records is different depending on what you’re planning to make.

If you are making a bowl out of your record, all you need is an oven-safe dish that is smaller in circumference than your record. Preheat the oven to 200-degrees. Put your bowl on a cookie sheet upside down and put the record on top of the bowl. It will take about 3 to 5 minutes for your vinyl record to melt and be shaped like a bowl. Make sure to keep an eye on it and check it often.

You can also put the record right side up and put the record on top of the bowl. Then place something heavy (oven-safe) in the center of the record. This way when it melts, the heavy object will push it down into the bowl and help shape it.

If you want to melt 90-degree angles, you can use a cardboard box, tape the record to with with the location of your angle hanging off the edge. Then place a piece of paper on top and iron over the area until it’s completely bent over. Be sure not to keep you iron in one place for too long because the paper will start to stick to it.

Make sure to let the records cool completely after melting and shaping so they can become strong and firm again before you handle them.

How to Cut a Vinyl Record

There are a few different ways to cut a vinyl record that you will need to know depending on the type of project you want to work on. Some are easier than others and have a cleaner finished look.

Here are a few ways you can do it:

Put the record directly in the center of a 200-degree oven for a few minutes to soften. If you want to cut a specific design, make sure you draw it on with a pencil before you put it in the oven. Once it’s soft enough, you can use a utility knife to cut through the vinyl. Make sure to wear an oven safe glove or potholder on your other hand to hold it in place. If it hardens before you’re done cutting, just put it back in the oven for a minute or so. Lastly, you can smooth out the edges with fine sandpaper.

Another way to cut vinyl records is to get a hot knife that will cut through vinyl and plastic. Start in the center and work toward you, making small punctures until the knife starts sliding through easier. When you’re done, carefully punch out the piece you cut. Be careful not to damage intricate pieces by pressing them down firmly with your non-dominate hand and using your other hand to pull up on the excess record piece.

There are a lot of great ideas out there and this is just a few of them. If you come up with a creative way to upcycle vinyl records, I’d love to see your creations. Feel free to leave a comment below!

1.) Laser Cut Shapes

The possibilities with this are endless. From small cutout pieces to large works of art like this, you can do so many things if you have laser cutting capabilities.

2.) Vinyl Record Clocks

There are a lot of great vinyl record clock ideas online. Especially those the keep the center label and theme the clock around the album. You could even paint these to have a special background!

3.) Vinyl Coasters

These are such a great idea for retro themed decor. However, you’ll probably want to mod-podge the record labels so that the don’t get water damaged.

4.) Phone Case

Okay, so who wouldn’t want a vinyl record as their phone case. I mean, how cool is that. And it really doesn’t look that difficult to make either!

5.) Earrings, Bracelets, and Other Jewelry

I’ve seen a lot of great earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc made out of vinyl records and they all look so cool! They can be made in all different shapes and size. The possibilities are endless!

6.) Vinyl Record Bowls

There are a lot of great tutorials on Google and YouTube to show you exactly how to make vinyl record bowls. They can be made nice and smooth like this one or wavy an unique.

7.) Wall Decor

You could put the records on the wall as is, no embellishments needed. Or you could paint or overlay them with beautiful designs like this one.

8.) Book Ends

This is probably one of the easies things you could make with old vinyl records. They are super easy to make and you can get really creative with them but cutting out designs or painting the records to match your decor.

9.) Side Tables

This side table is so cool and would be really simple to make. You pretty much just need a plant stand, some adhesive, and a vinyl record. You might want to mod-podge the top to keep it from getting wet.

10.) Magazine/Newspaper Rack

What a unique yet functional art piece to have in your house. Also, this would be so simple to make because you just need to bend the record and attach them together with some adhesive.

11.) Cake Stand

This would be a fun addition to a retro themed party. You could even use the parts from a cake stand you found at a thrift store to make this. Just change out the plates for the records and you have a custom piece for the party.

12.) Picture Frames

This would make a great gift for anyone, even if they aren’t into vinyl records. It makes for a very unique picture frame that would look great with any picture!

13.) Placemats

This one is pretty easy! You might not want to just throw a vinyl record on the table and call it a placemat though. You could pain them or decorate them some house. Plus you’ll want to mod-podge the top to prevent heat and water damage.

14.) Wine Rack

This would make a really unique and cool piece to set on your counter. Not only is it a functional piece but it’s also elegant and decorative. A great conversation starter for sure!

15.) Art Canvas

A lot of people like to use vinyl records as a canvas for their paintings. I’ve seen people who paint directly on the vinyl and others how to cover the surface with primer first. There are a lot of possibilities with this project!

16.) Lamp Shades

This is probably one of the coolest lampshades I’ve seen! It would make yet another unique piece to put in your home or music studio. All you need are basic lamp parts… or just buy a lamp at a thrift store and upcycle it too!

17.) Hanging Decor

Using the smaller LP records, you could make some very different hanging art pieces for both indoor and outdoor decor. You can play around with different lengths and attachments to make a retro-looking piece of art!

18.) Purses and Bags

These vinyl record purses and bags are really cute and perfect for every girl who loves the retro look. This would make for a very unique gift too!

19.) Vinyl Glasses

This is probably a little more advanced than the average person, but it’s such a great idea. With the right hardware, you would make all different styles!

20.) Tablet Stand

This stand even doubles as a wine bottle holder! This would be great in the kitchen if you use your tablet for pulling up recipes. For that matter, you might even be able to use the stand to hold your recipe book open!

21.) Hanging Baskets

Whether you turn it into a piece of art or a functional home organization item, this makes a really fun addition to any home!

22.) Utensil Holder

Wouldn’t this be so much fun hanging in your kitchen? You could paint it to match your theme and even cut out some fun designs to go along. Drill out different size holes to accommodate different utensils!

23.) Coat Rack

Yet another very unique item to have in your home. You could arrange in vinyl records in all different ways and add different hardware pieces to make it even more unique.

24.) Guitar Picks

These would be really easy to make and you could make a whole bunch of them out of one record. Plus, who doesn’t want a vinyl record guitar pick? 🙂

25.) Light Switch Covers

You could make these in a ll different shapes and styles. All you need is the basic measurements of standard light switches and you could have some rockin’ covers!

26.) Chair Seats & Backs

This chairs would be so awesome in a diner. The vinyl records can be heated up and shaped to be more comfortable as a seat and back too. It’s also smart to stake 5-10 of top of each other to give the chair more durability and stability.

27.) Desk Organizer

What a neat idea! This would look so cool sitting on someone’s desk and would make for a great conversation starter as well. Keep your desk organized in a cool way!

28.) Book or Journal Cover

If you’re someone who likes to keep a memorable book of all your adventures, this would make a great keepsake. You can cover your existing book or journal and make is something that is all yours.

29.) Yard Art

This is a broad category where again, the possibilities are endless! You could make a lot of very cute floral-looking yard art pieces out of vinyl records and a little spray paint.

30.) Bookmarks

These bookmarks might just be one of the easiest things you could make out of vinyl records. A great project for beginners who are just learning how to upcycle vinyl records.

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