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Things You Can Do With Scratched Old Records

Things You Can Do With Scratched Old Records

You might look at old, scratched records and feel like they’ve got absolutely no use anymore. What’s the point of a record that can’t play? While there is some truth to that, you don’t necessarily have to play it anymore to make use of it. 

One of the great things about vinyl as a material is how flexible it is. It’s very easy to shape and bend when it’s warm, making it the perfect material for some crafty hands. If you’ve got a scratched old record you’re not against sacrificing for the good of arts and crafts, there are some really fun projects you can sink your creative teeth into! 

Well, before we get too crazy, we can think of a few examples that don’t involve cutting up and completely repurposing the record. 

Hang it on the wall to create wall-art

Something anyone can do with the right amount of nails, glue or whatever you’d choose to use to stick some records to the wall. There’s an endless amount of approaches you could make to make it your own- Whether it be hanging them in a particular pattern, or even using their round shapes alongside other imagery. Circles can make for great balloons, wheels, eyes… The possibilities are endless! Even just a wall full of untouched but neatly aligned records looks really nice. 

Frame the cover and hang it up

It sounds so simple and obvious, but it’s definitely worth it. Vinyl records, especially in their common 12” size, come with large covers that are more often than not works of art on their own. From Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” to the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”, or some illustrated covers like “The Only Way Is Up” by Yazz and the Plastic Population or Billy Connolly’s “Atlantic Bridge”. If you like a cover enough, there’s nothing wrong with framing it! 

Make a cake stand!

The three different sizes of vinyl records lend themselves perfectly to being set up like a cake stand. There are a few approaches you could make- Placing a small metal pipe through the center holes of all the records, going from 12” at the bottom to 7” at the top. There will need to be something to prevent the records slipping and falling, though. Alternatively you could also use pipes with curled edges to rest the records on top of. 

Tick, tock, vinyl clock

While you CAN get super creative and cut up the record for this, you don’t HAVE to. You could stick with it in its original, rounded shape to make a clock out of it. The center hole makes for the absolute perfect spot to attach the clock’s hands and mechanisms in one neat, centered place. 

Vinyl record table

The surprisingly simple combination of a 12” record and a plant stand make for a very handy, makeshift table! 

Painting or decorating 

Acrylic paint is the perfect kind for painting over various materials and vinyl is no exception. Whether you want to paint something relevant to the album or just anything that crosses your mind, painting onto the record leaves you with a round art piece that looks great on display! 

If you don’t mind ravaging the foundation of the old records in question, here’s to more vinyl-bending crafts

(This portrait of Jimi Hendrex is completely made of old vinyl records!)

Now we get even more crafty and cool. But this is the part where you need to be absolutely sure that you’re not too fussed about losing this record in its original form anymore- As soon as you start any of these projects, your record isn’t really a record anymore. 

A lot of the crafts from here will take advantage of the fact that vinyl can be melted and molded in heat. We all have an oven we can use to soften and shape them! 

(Doors artwork completely carved out of an old vinyl record) 

Vinyl Art

Simple in concept but absolutely amazing on execution, it’s more than possible to create artwork from the vinyl material itself. Whether it’s in the likeness of an artist or something totally different, vinyl can be cut, shaped and bent reliably to craft them into whatever the artist desires. 

Some of the above could easily be applied to this craft, too. Hanging vinyl-made art on the wall, making a clock out of it and even painting the newly-shaped vinyl are completely doable and possible!

(A pair of characters sat on a bench, carved out of a vinyl record!)

Vinyl Bowls

Place the record in a ceramic bowl, and place them both into the oven for about 5 minutes. Don’t make it too hot! Just enough for the vinyl to melt into the bowl and start to take its shape. While it’s still soft from the heat, you can shape and morph it as you wish. 

If you want more than just a black bowl with a label in the middle, you can also paint them as you wish to. And don’t forget that records have a hole in the middle, if you want these bowls to be secure, make sure to seal the hole! 

Vinyl Plant Pots, Pencil Holders, Bird Feeders, Lights… 

Using the same method as above, melting the vinyl material in a heatable bowl in a gently heated oven, allows us to morph and bend the vinyl as we see fit while it’s still soft from being melted. A plant pot is perfect! Given how the plants need a hole in the bottom for drainage, the record already has a key feature. 

Pencil holders can be made just by curving the record into one long, round shape that’s ripe for holding pens, pencils and everything in between. Shaping the vinyl carefully into a lamp-shape makes for the perfect light, though it may need to be left in the hands of someone who can figure out how to wire it up properly. 

Really, if it’s of a reasonable size and shape, you can mold your record into anything you want to! 

Guitar Picks and Jewelry 

Whether it’s ironic or absolutely genius, vinyl records can be cut and smoothed into very viable guitar picks. However, cutting and sanding them has even more uses as well! Jewelry. Whether it’s a necklace, a bracelet or a pair of big vinyl earrings, cutting a record, sanding and painting it can make for some pretty cool jewelry. As there is with most of these crafty endeavors, there’s an unlimited amount of freedom in the shapes you can put together for the cause!

Books and Purses

It seems a little odd at first, but just hold on! 

By cutting the record in two clean halves, with a few crafty adjustments, you can put together two-sided things like purses or books. All they need is a middle, a spine in the case of a book, to link them together but leave room for what else is needed. However, for these particular crafts it’s pretty important to make sure the edges are smooth and sanded, as they could cut someone’s fingers if they’re not smooth enough. 

A scratched old record isn’t completely useless 

It may be beyond its use in terms of being played, but that’s not to say it can never be used for anything again! These crafty, fun projects are a way to see an old and well loved record off. A way to give it a new life and purpose rather than either wasting away never to be played again, or being thrown in the bin. 

Or if you’re not particularly crafty yourself, someone might be looking for some scratched up records for this purpose! If it’s not something too rare or valuable, there’s no harm in either giving them to someone that wants to give them more use or even giving it a little go yourself.

(A portrait of Slash, made completely out of a vinyl record)

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