Introduction: Record Bowls

Picture of Record Bowls

A record bowl is a classic project where you can reuse an outdated item: a vinyl record.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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Fill With Fruit

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



TheRealDutchOwner (author)2015-11-19

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!

shewasjustso (author)2010-08-18

A perfect use for my old Hall and Oates, and Huey Lewis and The News records. Thanks so much!!

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!

tbgtbb (author)2013-03-12

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.

TheRealDutchOwner (author)tbgtbb2015-11-19

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.

jamie.reilly.58 (author)tbgtbb2015-02-20

I use scratched and otherwise unplayable records. There are enough of em out there.

eyeofjade (author)tbgtbb2013-12-14

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.

bobert610 (author)2012-06-18

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.

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.

allteixeira (author)2014-05-06

Have you tried this process with CDs ?

ecohrs (author)2013-12-11

I love this! I would use scratched records.

cdcrock (author)2012-12-03

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

rrkrose (author)2012-11-04

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.

fungus amungus (author)rrkrose2012-11-05

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

Osquar (author)2012-06-08

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 :/

fungus amungus (author)Osquar2012-06-10

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

WhyHello (author)2010-12-31

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?

OrlandoArtist (author)WhyHello2012-02-29

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

farflungfloyd (author)2011-12-21

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

Goodhart (author)farflungfloyd2012-01-07

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.

emilicious9800 (author)2011-08-26

How do you hold it while its hot? is it too hot to touch once out of the oven?

It's hot at first, but cools down pretty quickly. I would slide it out and hold it by dancing my fingers underneath it so I didn't touch it for long. After a few seconds it would cool enough to hold.

Then again, I have a higher tolerance for pain than most. YMMV

tinker234 (author)2011-08-02

hey could i add a plastic coting to make it food safe are these microwave safe thatnks tibnker 234

doomsdayltd (author)2011-07-26

great i knew i should of picked up some vinyls from the thrift store last time i was there, making nice things from crap that Barry Manillow made

JohnDeere312 (author)2011-07-12

Just finished mine! They turned out great! I got some records at the Salvation Army for 50 cents a piece, its like a 50cent bowl! They're awesome and perfect for jewelry bowls and snack bowls! Great instructable and project!

ArtsyFartsyGirl (author)2011-06-23


ArtsyFartsyGirl (author)2011-06-23

SACRILEGIOUS!!!!! My old albums are almost my most valued possessions!!!!!!!! But I do like that Dali clock!

Twinmum (author)2011-04-03

This made me smile. When I was a kid, I learnt to do this at a holiday club I think. Back then, old 78's were still reasonably easy to get and they soften a lot easier. I think we just had to soak them in hot (boiling?) water.


spue (author)2011-03-20

Nobody has mentioned that "Vinyl" also known as Poly Vinyl Chloride releases carcinogenic gasses when heated. It is TOXIC stuff. I make these outdoors on my gas BBQ. NOT INDOORS!

excessive.insurgence (author)2010-06-16

is this dish washer safe? or does it need to be hand washed?

I would suggest hand washing it with medium hot water and soap. As it might deform, causing you to have to redo it. I hope that helps.

I'd worry about the heat from the dishwasher melting it. Best to hand wash IMO. But hey, you can always "hit the reset button" by putting it back in the oven. So try it out and find out.

ThreeWestCreative (author)2010-12-07

I forgive you for your assault on the best sounding music medium on earth (as I put the needle on one of my 150 records). hahahahahaha HOWEVER, since I tend to buy records from thrift stores with the occasional crap record misplaced in the record jacket of something HOT, I would love to use those to make awesome bowls for my home. :) Thanks!!!

studystudyforever (author)2010-06-14

That great, thanks

adsandy (author)2009-12-19

This is a great instructable- thanks! 

cooldog04 (author)2009-11-28

By "a few minutes" they mean 5-10 :) just to clarify

fireman115 (author)2009-10-04

That"s the pic from the hanging record clock

a02138 (author)2009-08-12

sweet tutorial. thanks!

jahreed (author)2009-01-23

I have made wavy bowls that turn out with varying degrees of success...what I would really LOVE to learn is how to make bowls like these

anyone have a clue?


fungus amungus (author)jahreed2009-01-23

You'd need two forms to shape it. One for above and one below. Heat it up and press it between them.

trumbum (author)fungus amungus2009-07-15

umm .. i thought that it would like .. crinkle around the edges cause it doesn't have the right shape ?

I did this project using actual oven safe bowl on baking sheet.Record comes right off after cools and hardens. .I'm sure you could find a glass or ceramic bowl with the outside shape of what you need. Bake ; record will start to take shape can manually use hands to help it along, and reheat as needed.

alessiof76 (author)2009-05-19

Great idea!
Please tell me that vinyl was ruined or I start crying!
I prefer analogic music..
I'll try whit CD bowl but i must find very little fruit for it !)

ReCreate (author)alessiof762009-06-04

cassette tape is about as analog as you can get now a days

alessiof76 (author)ReCreate2009-06-04

I had a nice sound system I sold to get married and buy the house turntable, preamp and amplifier vacuum tubes (selfmade) horn loudspeaker selfmade (80Kg for each I won an award for these in 1998) but I think the turntable sounds better than CD unless you pay over 5000 euros I have hundreds of records but do not throw away no one maybe I am mad but is just my opinion

ReCreate (author)alessiof762009-06-04

records to me are: Over sized Contain Small Amounts of data, In this case, Music The music sounds bad it just sucks

alessiof76 (author)ReCreate2009-06-04

If a player your turnabe costs less than $ 1200. I agree with you: is the better CDplayer. but if you want to listen to REAL music you need to spend a lot (or rather listen to live music) if you not distinguish the mp3 from the CD is better to close the speech

ReCreate (author)alessiof762009-06-04

Yeah, Even worse. They Produced low quality sound And they are complicated, Thus expensive for one that will sound better than average players

naruto the ninja13 (author)2009-06-03

are this things food safe? cause once im rich im opening up a 1960s stlye resturant and imagine eating spaghetti of a real record!

thepelton (author)2009-05-19

I recall making something like that about thirty five years ago. Made a great flowerpot, since you didn't need to add a hole in the center of the bottom for drainage.

About This Instructable




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