Record Bowls





Introduction: Record Bowls

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

A record bowl is a classic project where you can reuse an outdated item: a vinyl record. With CDs even on their way out it's safe to say that many records can be safely molded into something new without the world losing any of its music.

In this Instructable, I will be showing off two versions of this bowl. The classic style and a newer one.

Step 1: The Classic Record Bowl

Reshaping the vinyl requires getting the record a little hot. Not too hot, though.

The easiest way of doing this is to set your over for 220F/100C and tossing the record in there for a few minutes. When it's completely warmed up it will have the texture and floppiness of a fruit roll-up. You can now shape it any way you want.

Other methods include dipping the record in boiling water or heating it up with a heat gun.

Step 2: Shaping the Bowl

To shape the bowl you can do a few different things. You can:

- drape the record on top of a bowl. Once the record cools it will have a similar interior shape as to the bowl.
- drop the record into a bowl. The outside of the record bowl will then have the same shape as the bowl.
- drape the record on top of a cylinder such as a can of soup.

Once the record cools, it will harden into place and stay that way. If you're not happy with it, just toss it back in the oven for a bit and start over.

Step 3: Record Bowl With Cuts

This variation starts with some cuts in the record to help guide the shape. The cuts here were made with a rotary tool like a Dremel.

The cuts here are lines that begin at one circle and end at another. Each cut ends 30 degrees off from where it began. So if one cut were to begin at 12 o'clock on the inner circle, it ends at 1 o'clock on the outer circle.

Step 4: Heat and Shape

Set the oven to 200 degrees and drop the cut up record in for a few minutes. If you set it up on a beer can (photo from lamp shade instructable) you can see the vinyl begin to sag when it gets warm enough.

Working with the vinyl is a funny thing. When it gets hot the vinyl is floppy and feels almost like fruit leather. After a few seconds you can shape the vinyl and it will begin to hold its shape. At this point, start working the material as fast as you can. Even with just 12 bends to make on the record I didn't have enough time to get everything right.

The good news is that you can hit the reset button by putting the record back in the oven. If you want to completely start over, heat it until it gets back to the floppy stage.

To just finesse a couple parts of the piece you will have to be much more attentive. Turn the light on in the oven if you can and watch carefully. Once the record starts to sag just slightly, open it up and take it out. This should give you enough time to fix a couple of bends. Repeat as necessary.

If you have a heat gun you can heat up a localized area to make specific fixes.

Step 5: Fill With Fruit

If you're going to put some food in the bowl you should wash it with some warm soapy water first.




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    82 Discussions

    Great instructable, going to pick up some records at a thrift soon that no one cares about any more (very outdated music) and aren't valuable to do this. I can't stress it enough, but people, please don't do this to good artist's vinyl that people still enjoy! Give 'em to friends with turntables, or hell, sell them, they'll still fetch cash if they're not abused. With that cash you can buy unloved records at thrift shops, and still have money left over!

    Please tell me you didn't do that to those records. Hall & Oates and Huey Lewis & The News are great artists, their records should not be wrecked!

    It is utterly appalling that people are doing this to these pieces of history. It's like taking old books and making them in into toilet paper. You all should be ashamed.

    3 replies

    Trust me, there are plenty of records that really no one appreciates anymore. Go to a thrift shop that has records, go through the selection, and see how many folk music, classic music, gospel music, organ music, and other unpopular genre music vinyl records you can find. Go back in a few weeks, and you'll see, they still haven't sold them. Those record make fine subjects for these reuse projects, else they will just be trashed and no one ever appreciates them in any shape or form then. I agree that more popular and wanted vinyl should not face this faith, but these kinds of records can have a second life this way.

    Not all music is a beautiful piece of history. I can think of quite a few bad records. Besides, I think you should appreciate that the records aren't going in the garbage. There is no need to get hostile on instructables. I love the idea of making the cuts supamoto.

    anyone know if the vinyl can be handled with bare skin after the heating process? or is it too hot, because like some materials IE aluminum foil, it is safe.

    1 reply

    When I first made them I did handle and shape them with my hands. It got to be uncomfortable if I handled them too long but if you can shape quickly you will be fine.


    4 years ago

    I love this! I would use scratched records.

    I really like this I have so many out dated records and know clue what to so with them, now I do. Tks

    I really want to try making but our oven isn't working so I was wondering if I could make this a heat gun. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Yes you can. You need to be more careful about it to get it evenly heated and not overheat it, but definitely doable.

    Thanks for the inspiration :D
    I made a few of these for a party I was hosting where the theme was "retro"! We used the big LPs as tip jars and the really small ones for nuts and chips (I made sure to wash them properly before and after usage of course by hand). Was too popular though so now I only have like two out of 15 left :/

    1 reply

    Nice! Never tried this on a single so glad to hear that worked. Would be even better with color vinyl.

    I'd feel so bad! but there is this guy always trying to sell his old records!

    do u have any ideas what to make out of VHS movies?

    1 reply

    I've been wondering that myself. VHS are cheaper than thrift store vinyl at some places. People have even given me box loads of them. What to do? I'm always up for making a chair with them like Legos. haha

    Can I coat the vinyl with some sort of protective layer? Like a varnish or something like that?

    1 reply

    AFTER being fired in the oven, I wouldn't see why not.....just test it first, if it is solvent based, to make sure it doesn't end up melting/dulling the surface of the vinyl.