Thrift stores are drowning in old records so go use 'em! Give them a second life and send them through the mail. You risk a couple bucks and the payoff can be great.
NOTE: Since writing this, others made me aware that etching PVC is bad for the chlorine gas. So, don't do this. I'm still leaving it up for the idea of using records as letters, however, because that worked a treat.
Step 1: Get Some Records
I paid the astonishing sum of one dollar per record at the thrift store a block away from my apartment, but at least the profits from the store, Out of the Closet, goes to AIDS research. Any quick trip to a flea market or garage sale could've gotten me a crate of old records for the same price.
But look at these gems! A Star is Born? Christmas with the Canadian Brass? Free to Be You and Me?
OK, I admit that I've never listened to any of these although Free to Be You and Me seems to have some huge nostalgic value for my friends. Whatever... it's time to destroy them.
Step 2: Etch!
Make a design in any graphic design program that you like. Here I used Illustrator.
Here, I laser-etched the records, but that's not recommended for safety reasons. I'd recommend printing a stencil or just using a silver sharpie.
Step 3: Stamp It and Send It
I dropped off four of these at the post office yesterday. One (pictured) travelled only inside of San Francisco. Another is going down to Palo Alto, CA. The other two are on their way to Brooklyn.
Since I live with the person who got the San Francisco record I was able to get a picture of it. If I get pics from the others, I'll update with those as well.
UPDATE: all the records made the trip in one piece.