If you’re wondering what to do with all the old and damaged vinyl records you own, you’re at the right place! There are plenty of ways you can repurpose vinyl records. But first, you’ll need to cut them as per the template, and that’s when many encounter a problem.
Many DIYers choose to heat the records to make the cutting process easier. But some prefer not to do so for many reasons.
If you’re someone who falls in the latter category, this post is for you! We’ll share with you some excellent tips to cut vinyl records without heat.
Table of Contents
Why not heat vinyl records?
First, let’s start by discussing two main reasons why one doesn’t and shouldn’t heat vinyl records.
1. Heating vinyl records can be toxic
The major reason is that heating vinyl records in your oven is toxic. These records, when heated, releases carcinogenic fumes such as phthalates and dioxins. The gases can even leave a permanent residue on the oven’s exterior.
An oven is where you bake food for yourself and your loved ones. So, handling such a risky DIY project inside is undoubtedly a bad idea.
Even if one decides to heat their records in the oven, they should be careful enough to clean the oven thoroughly afterward.
Moreover, keep all the doors and windows open during the process and let the fumes leave your home interior as soon as possible, as inhaling the fumes for a long can be dangerous.
2. Distorted shapes of records
If you’re planning to warp the records into a bowl or a flower or any item that needs you to melt the record for handling, you can heat the records.
However, if you’re looking forward to simply cut the record to create interesting solid shapes, heating the entire record in an oven is definitely not a good idea as doing so warps records slightly.
Tools that help cut through vinyl
Cutting vinyl records without heating them is certainly a difficult job to do. If you try to cut the records simply using scissors, the record probably will break and chip not the way you want it to.
However, it’s not impossible to cut the vinyl records without heat. Here are a few ways that will help you with this purpose.
1. Rotary tools
If you’ve rotary tools stand-by, it can be one of the most efficient ways of cutting vinyl records. You can use the tools for both cutting and sanding purposes.
While cutting the records using a grinder tool, make sure you leave a certain mm space between the trace and cut lines. This is to make sure that no major damage occurs to the design, even if the tool slips and cuts a little deeper. Finally, sand the edges and clean everything up.
2. Wood burning tool or hot knife
Hot knives feature sharp blade attachments and can cut through vinyl and foam precisely. So, if you have it lying around your house, crafting your old vinyl records should be no big deal.
Let the knife heat for a minute or two and run along the trace with a steady hand. The best part is that you can easily get clean cuts even through complicated traces using this tool.
3. Heat gun
While heating the entire record in an oven where you cook food can be a bad idea, you can surely heat the portion you’ll be cutting using a heat gun. Heating the vinyl record using a heat gun also ensures that the vinyl doesn’t melt too much and maintains structural integrity.
Gently heat the record using a heat gun and quickly cut through the traced lines using a pair of utility or heavy-duty scissors.
4. Blue laser
Toxic fumes released while the blue laser cuts the vinyl record are significant. So, a quick caveat – do not carry out this process unless you have a highly ventilated space and plenty of fans to expel the fumes out as quickly as possible.
Also, make sure not to stand nearby the laser machine during the cutting process. As we’ve said before, the fumes are carcinogenic, and long-term exposure to such gases might lead to cancer.
Be wary of following things during the DIY
Before you cut your vinyl records, keep the following safety precautions in mind.
- Always wear a good pair of gloves while handling a heat gun or hot vinyl.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a good-quality mask to make sure that you don’t inhale the fumes directly.
- Perform the crafts in a properly ventilated room. Turn on fans, if you have any.
How To Cut Vinyl Records Without Heat?
Now that you’re acquainted with the tools for cutting the vinyl records. Let’s look at a step-by-step way to repurpose vinyl records.
Step 1. Design the template
Firstly, you’ll need a design, a template for you to follow. If you want to make a fancy art clock or beautiful numerous small pieces of jewelry, design the template accordingly. If you’re not good at hand-drawn art, consider using softwares. You can then simply print the design once you’re done.
Step 2. Trace the template into vinyl records
Once you’re happy with the template, it’s time to trace it. Cut out the design from the paper and trace it using a pencil or a visible marker. Cross-check the design once again. After this step, you’ll be cutting the record, and once that’s done, there’s no going back.
Step 3.Cut the records
Using any of the tools mentioned above, cut the design on the record. Be wary of all the safety precautions. If you’re not confident about the steadiness of your hand, consider cutting slightly outward from the design and leave a little space, a few mm, for you to sand later.
If the vinyl record DIY requires you to puncture the record, you can use a needle, a fork, or just something pointy that you can heat up to make a hole in the record.
Step 4. Sand for perfection
After all the effort you put into perfecting the designs and cutting the records, you surely don’t want your DIY to look like a beginner’s job, do you? Sanding the edges to give a smooth and clear finish is what levels up your DIY.
Use sandpaper of around 120 to 300 grit and smooth out all the rough edges. If you’ve left a little space to sand, later on, take care of such spaces too. If any marker or outline is showing, you can remove such leftover markings at this stage.
How to repurpose vinyl records?
You might be wondering what you can turn your old vinyl records into. If that’s the case, here are a few fabulous DIYs you can do using vinyl records.
Design your records using fabulous clock templates and add clock needles onto the center. Attach the battery to the backside of the record and adorn your wall or a table using the stunning repurposed clock.
Coasters are definitely one of the simplest crafts you can do using vinyl records. Like any other record DIY, trace the design and cut it. To make it more interesting, you can design or paint the coasters further.
Vinyl records jewelry is also one of the brilliant small business ideas. You can make many small designs from a vinyl record. Cut them using a hot knife for preciseness, sand the edges, attach the jewelry accessories, and you’re done!
Many love simply creating exciting designs on records and cutting them accordingly. For instance, cutting out beautiful butterflies from the record and adorning your interior with these is also a great idea.
Making vinyl record bowls is probably the easiest. If you have an extra oven beside the one you use to bake food, you can simply repurpose records on that with proper precaution.
To heat the record using an oven, put a record atop of bowl and add a heavy can on top of it. The temperature should be around 200 Farenheight. Once the vinyl starts melting, the can will exert pressure onto the record to create a warped vinyl bowl.
If you don’t have an oven to heat the vinyl safely, you can simply put the record on top of a bowl, heat it using a heat gun, and mold them carefully onto the shape of the bowl.
However, it doesn’t matter how good of a bowl you end up DIYing; vinyl record bowls should never be used for eating purposes.
6. Earring holders
If you’ve plenty of earrings to organize, punch holes onto the vinyl record and hang it on the wall. These holes on the record serve as excellent earring holders.
With the information provided in this post, you don’t have to poison your oven in order to heat the records anymore. Pick any of the four tools mentioned and follow the guidelines to cut the records into perfects shapes. We wish you happy and safe crafting!