Introduction: Vinyl Record Frames

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in Portland, OR. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fabr…

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.