Vinyl Record Frames

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Posted in WorkshopFurniture

Introduction: Vinyl Record Frames

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in the Bay Area. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fa...

The saddest thing about the advent of digital music might be the loss of album art. At 12" X 12", a vinyl album sleeve is the right size and proportion to be a work of art worthy of hanging in a gallery. I made these vinyl record frames to display my favorite cover art while keeping quick access through a slot in the top.

Step 1: Design

The frame needed to have a cavity with beveled corners at the top to allow the record to slide easily in and out, and needed trim for the front of the frame to keep it in place. I made the interior space 12 7/16" wide to give the sleeve some room to move easily in and out, and made the frame just barely cover the edges of the sleeve at 12 1/8" across in each dimension. It's important to obscure as little of the sleeve as possible because most album art goes all the way to the edges.

Although vinyl sleeves maintain a 12" X 12" perimeter within a few millimeters' tolerance, they vary widely in thickness. Because of this, I doubled the intermediate piece to make the gap bigger.

I left the front of the frame open so that you can just slide the record out by hand quickly to throw it on the turntable.

Step 2: Templates and Assembly

The templates are attached in this step for easy fabrication. I laser cut these pieces because it was the fastest way to do it, but this could easily be fabricated using the method I described in my Digital Fabrication by Hand instructable.

The PDF should be printed at 36" X 36" as shown in the layout, but you could also tile smaller pages for the same effect. That being said, this design is so simple that it might be easier to just go with the dimensions on the diagram in the previous step and just lay it out with a pencil and straight edge.

I cut out the trim pieces with mitered corners to save wood, but it might be easier to just cut everything out in whole pieces as shown in the templates since the separate pieces are tricky to line up perfectly.

The assembly process is super simple- just glue, brad nail, and clamp together until the glue dries. I recommend finishing the wood before assembly since it would be tricky and messy to get the finish into the record cavity.

I added some keyhole hangers to the back of the frame when I was done- this seemed like the most secure way to hang the frames on the wall. Using picture wire would be tricky since presumably I'll be taking these records out frequently to play them.

Step 3: Listen in Style

I'm really happy with the way these turned out. Records of varying thicknesses slide in and out easily, and it's nice to have a revolving gallery of album art in my living room.

2 People Made This Project!

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61 Comments

Fantastic idea! Great instructable. Thank you for this.

Fantastic Instructable, Jon~ It's so refreshing to find folks who still appreciate anything connected to vinyl LP's

Great concept and many possible ways to refine the idea. BUT...as a museum consultant and professional framer I beg you: please, please be sure to seal any part of your frame that will come in contact with your album cover with some type of acid free tape. One of the comments about UV glass should be considered as well. Plain window glass provides about 1% UV protection. Acrylic provides a bit more but (can) introduce gases toxic to your album cover and/or vinyl disc. If you must display your album in direct light (sunshine or fluorescent) invest in UV protective glass such as Tru Vue(tm) available through most frame shops.

Straightforward and classy looking...I'm definitely adding this to my project list.

Thank you for this project. Very nice.

OMG!!! Autobahn! Where did you find it? And is it the german version or the english version?

Thank you for this project, it is very nice.

2 replies

I got that one at Amoeba. It's the English version, but it's still awesome! http://www.amoeba.com

Thanks. I didn't know this website.

While i love this idea i'm super poor at the moment from spending too much on vinyls (the irony). I'm going to try use my corrugated card roll and let you know how that pans out :)

1 reply

Sounds legit to me! I love corrugated cardboard as a building material.

JON-A-TRON, please find my website www.ecorglobal.com. I NEED to talk with you about what I am doing that is very similar to your frames. We are making something with our 100% chemical/VOC free material ECOR that you may be interested in. My email address is joestapley@ecorglobal.com Send me an email and I will call you if you are interested.

1 reply

ECOR!!! You're not going to believe this, but I saw you guys at a green building expo in SF like 5 years ago. I've been thinking since then that I should reconnect and se what you're up to and what new products you might have. I was amazed at how lightweight / sturdy / flexible your samples were. I'll email you shortly.

How about some of the iron-on veneer to hide the ugly plywood edges?

3 replies

Call me a purist, but I like exposed plywood edges. I find iron-on veneer to be dishonest...

No, not really, as it is also made from wood, and also then plywood which you have already used. A purist would only use a solid wood:) OK, it is just a fine tuning of finishing work. For exhibits, no one likes the look of the more raw edges unless it is painted. Therefore the idea of the iron on edging, (which by the way usually has to be put on with contact cement anyway, or so I find) makes it less rough, and more finished in appearance, especially if you stain and finish the surface with a satin poly. Anyway, it is certainly a choice of taste, or in my case what is excepted as a finished product in the field. There are standards of presentation that must be looked at as well. Museum exhibits, science, Nature Centres etc, want a finished look to the work. Unless of course it is part of the 'theme' in presentation. Rarely do you have plywood edges exposed as it is not considered to then be a finished display presentation also due to the look of saw burned edges that is not uniform nor polished in appearance. You can also use the plastic edging to finish edges if you happen to use the surface material with the synthetic top finished products. Just a thought:) Anyhoo, just my experience in presentations and what is required and accepted in workmanship. And Hey, I LOVE the idea, as it gave me another variation/way to do more game activities, hunt and search etc. The layer of wood behind, or background also protects the mounting surface behind the frame as well. Kids are rough on things! Thanks!!

I definitely see where you're coming from. What I mean is that I find it dishonest to the material. The nature of plywood is that it's layers of wood veneer stacked on top of each other with alternating orientations for strength, and it's in the form of a larger panel that is cut up for use. When it's cut, the edge exposes these layers.

I understand that using veneer edging or otherwise hiding the exposed edge is considered proper finishing (most people would agree), it's just that I have a deep-rooted instinct (no doubt leftover from studying architectural theory) to let a material present itself as it really is. To me, using veneer edging is an effort to make something that is not solid wood masquerade as solid wood.

I guess at the end of the day I'm trying to ennoble something that's humble, like plywood that can be found at any Home Depot.

This is also a great idea for Exhibits too...topic or visual on one side, flip it out to read the info on the topic! Great idea!! Thank you!! The idea of the hole at bottom to push it up is great, but just a 'c' shape at the top lets you pull up the panel or record too. :)

cheers! Vicki

1 reply

Do you really need the closed back? Woulkdn't it be sufficient to just have the square frame?