There was once a time when ready-made, sturdy, and durable baskets for storing LP records were easily procured from behind any gas station, corner store, or supermarket in the form of the lowly milk crate. In the days before 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and the newfangled MP3 players, vinyl was king and this was readily evident for a dairy industry that saw it's crates disappear in such large number they were bleeding money, prompting them to change the size of their crates to prevent a 12" LP from sitting happily in it.
Today, the LP has largely waned, but the shrunken milk crate remains the standard, frustrating record collectors searching for a strong but cheap storage crate for their records. Crates similar to those of the olden days can be had for cheap, but they are an inferior breed to their elders, being made of thin and flimsy plastic. When I went looking for a suitable alternative to the venerable milk crate, I found myself looking at a pile of discarded newspaper racks. Their grating would work well.
Anyway, in this Instructable I'll show how to make steel mesh baskets suitable for keeping records in. I used plastic coated sections of an old news stand (the same stuff as from my bike rack), but "hardware cloth" is a very similar material that's available from hardware stores and if you can find some that's squares are 3" you can easily use that and paint it to your liking. These baskets should last a lifetime and can hold around 50 12" LPs without a problem.
Step 1: Cut Out Metal Grating
After cutting out the outline, you'll probably want to file or grind the ends of the cuts smooth since they're probably going to be pointy or sharp.
Step 2: Shaping the Basket
Lay the basket on one of it's sides now. Grab a rag and a hammer, lay the rag over one of the vertical pieces near it's bottom edge with a few folds. Beat a square corner onto this piece of bar, remove the rag, and repeat for each other vertical bar. You just need to get the corner at a right angle, not the whole side, as this can easily be done once the corners are correct. You may also forgo the rag since that's just for keeping the paint/ plastic coating from being knocked off.
Step 3: Securing the Corners
Give the whole thing a good paint job if you like and your basket is done. Load up on records and you're good to go.