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To create rugged, stick-free coasters from old record albums, the first thing you'll need is a stack of excellent-looking labels. You'll want to raid the 50-cent bins at your local thrift store or salvage yard. Remember, it's all about the looks, so you'll be shopping for label appearance, not the music itself.

Step 1: Find Excellent Record Labels on Scratched Up Old Records

You'll need:

  • A 4.5" hole saw drill bit. Use this exact size!
  • An "arbor" to support the bit in your drill's chuck (ask your hardware store)
  • A piece of old scrap lumber
  • A grinder bit for your drill, similar to the one shown in this video
  • Two or three grades of sandpaper (at least one rough and one fine)
  • Pre-cut 4" felt discs (check Amazon)
  • Standard white glue and a small paintbrush
  • Matte finish spray acrylic (I like Mod Podge)

Step 2:

It's all covered in the video, but the nutshell version is this:

Cutting

Wear safety goggles! Pre-drill a hole in your scrap lumber 1/2" deep. Place an album with the spindle hole aligned with the lumber hole. Place your holesaw bit in the hole, with the sawteeth slightly above the surface. Spin up the drill. Here's the important part: Don't push straight down. Once the drill is up to speed, come in at a slight angle, and rock in a gentle circular motion. You should penetrate the vinyl in a few seconds. Once the drill comes to a stop, try and tap the label out. If it doesn't come, use a screwdriver to push it out.

Sanding

As shown in the video, unscrew the grinder from its bit, and push it through the record hole. Place a washer on the back side and re-attach it to its mount. Spin the label against rough sandpaper first, then medium, then fine, working all sides. You'll need a fair bit of pressure. Wear goggles!

Felting

Fold a felt disc into quarters, then snip off the point to create a square circle. Paint white glue onto the worst side of the label. Push down firmly. Warning: If you stack up your freshly glued labels, you'll find moisture damage on your labels the next morning - some moisture flows through the felt. Dry them without stacking the discs.

Finishing

Lay the discs out on plastic backing in good weather (or in the garage). Shake your can of matte finish lacquer well, then spray from a distance of 12". Let dry 15 minutes, then repeat. I ended up doing 7 coats to get a good solid finish that won't stick to wet glasses and bottles. Have fun!

<p>Cool idea. I wonder if you could use this same method to make plates from whole records.</p>
<p>You'd need a very large holesaw bit, and they don't come in sizes much bigger than this. Also you'd need to warp up the edges a bit to make useful plates. And they wouldn't be dishwasher safe because vinyl melts at very low temps. And they would have a hole in the middle of them.</p>

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