Much as it pains their elders, young crafters seem to have developed a taste for vinyl record art. So if you’re one of those that can’t stand to see vinyl records vandalized, you may want to skip this. But if you’re into DIY vinyl projects, we have over 30 ideas you can play with.
You might still be worried about offending the oldies. You can assuage them by sourcing your vinyl records ethically. You could buy blanks online or scour discount bins for unwanted records – the kind no one will fault you for destroying. So let’s get started on those ideas!
1. Okay, Boomer!
Killing a vinyl is the quickest way to piss off a parent or grandparent. So if you’re feeling especially rebellious, you could set up this vinyl record art project. Melt the record just enough to stretch its sides. The expanded record should be big enough to cover your … relevant areas. You can then drape it over yourself as at a naughty but tasteful photoshoot.
2. Gorgeous Skylines
Sculpture is a popular form of vinyl record art because it’s easy to melt and carve. You can cut it into shapes with a utility blade or sharp shears. You can also melt it for a few seconds and mold it into any design. So if you know a city or town with an instantly recognizable skyline, you can snip said skyline onto an old record. Extra points if the name is on the label.
3. Cute Vinyl Bowls
Bowls are the easiest version of vinyl record art. All you do is place the record on top of an oven-proof dish and slip it into a hot oven. After a minute or two, the record will start to sink into the bowl as it melts. Pull out the heatproof dish and press the vinyl lower into the bowl, letting it take shape. Tug and carve the sides into your preferred contours and let it cool.
4. Hat Racks
For the scissor-shy vinyl artist, this is a clever piece of vinyl record art. You’ll enjoy it if you feel ‘some typa way’ about defacing vinyl records. This project leaves the vinyl intact. Vinyl records have a small hole for the record player’s spindle. Widen that hole or get some 7-inch records that already have those big holes. Glue several records together and add hat hooks.
5. The Notebook
Not that notebook, but you might treasure this vinyl record art just as much. You can start with an ordinary notebook and an old vinyl record or two. Cut the records in the shape and size of the notebook cover and drill holes for the notebook spiral. Carefully unclasp the spiral and slip the vinyl record over the front and back book covers. Smoothen those vinyl edges.
6. Perfect Paintings
If you’re the type of artist that paints, vinyl record art may appeal to you. It’s a small makeshift canvas and you have limited space the work with. The circular shape also controls the kind of painting you can do. Use paints that can cling to the vinyl material, or use a primer layer to help the paint stick better. This image has waves crashing on a mountain.
7. Star Wars Stencils
Not all vinyl records had music on them. Some were comedy albums with stand-up routines while others had movie-related materials. If you can find a soundtrack record that you’re willing to kill, you can carve up relevant images. For this Star-Wars-themed vinyl record art, you can see the Death Star, and Imperial Galactic Fighter, and an Imperial Star Destroyer.
8. Articulate and Abstract
Do paintings of vinyl records count as vinyl record art? Technically, yes! And this abstract painting makes the perfect party poster. In the painting, the top edge of the vinyl record melts into pretty splashes and spirals in purple, pink, and mustard yellow. The headphone icon suggests it’s a party for one … or maybe a silent disco. Either way, it’s a snazzy piece.
9. Stratocaster Vinyls
Vinyl records traditionally came in three sizes – 7, 10, and 12 inches. Each size had its own speed, capacity, and functionality. But for vinyl record art, you can sometimes find vinyl records in different sizes and colors. For this piece, a 16-inch vinyl record is cut into the shape of a Fender Stratocaster. It helps if the music is by a star that typically played one.
10. Simple Clock
Because we mostly use our phones to tell time, clocks and watches are largely decorative. And an old vinyl record makes a great clock. You could go with the simple version of painting a clock face onto the label and installing clock mechanisms at the back of the vinyl record. But you could also opt for vinyl record art in form of a timepiece. We’ll look at a few of those.
11. Vinyl Wine Holder
Wine ages best in a basement cellar but when it’s time to enjoy your favorite bottle, you need something to stack them in. Wine holders are also essential accessories for dinner parties where multiple guests will bring you a bottle. This pretty piece of vinyl record art lets you stack in style. Add as many layers as you like but keep them balanced to avoid tipping.
12. Afros and Curlers
Depending on where and how you grew up, you may see this as a powerfully puffy afro … or a head full of overnight curlers. Specifically, these are retro hair rollers – they used to be quite popular before hair rods and curling irons hit the beauty streets. For the hair, you could opt for smaller 7-inch vinyls. If possible, look for odd-sized vinyl in cute colors for fun effects.
13. Cutout Clock
Here’s a slightly more artistic vinyl clock. You’ll still need the central clock mechanism, that’s what makes the clock tell time. As for the numbers, this clock has them cut into the edges of the vinyl. Other clock face options include stencils of famous people, bicycles, animals, or any design you like. You could find the musician’s image and use it as a frame for the clock.
14. Colors and Silhouettes
Even if you ‘don’t get modern art’ you’ll probably feel drawn to this vinyl record art painting. It’s simple and colorful, with a back record in the middle and colorful silhouettes all around it. The shapes and shadows take the form of various musical instruments. You could easily fit the entire orchestra along those vinyl edges. It’s a pretty splash of color and sound.
15. Musical Clock
If you want a vinyl record art project that’s intricate and beautiful, consider something like this. It’s quite elaborate and will need lots of cutting and carving. The clock is dotted with musical motifs like a keyboard, a G-clef, and an F-clef with lots of quavers and semiquavers. The midsection shows an image of clock cogs and screws, almost as if the face is see-through.
16. All Hail the Queen
When we do the clap, we’re likely thinking of the irrepressible Freddie Mercury. But Queen had three other band members, and this vinyl record art pays homage to all four. You can use this concept for any band – give the rest of the gang a chance to shine. Another idea is to look at the songs listed on the label and carve or paint some of those lyrics along the record edge.
17. I’m Batman!
If you fall on the DC side of the spectrum, you’ll probably enjoy Batman-based vinyl record art. The simplest version is to carve the record into a bat signal. Or you could incorporate that icon into a simple clock. But if you want to make Alfred proud, go big with this multi-record art installation. It takes 5 vinyls to depict this Dark Knight and the Gotham skyline.
18. Psychedelic Travellers
Maybe you’re a fan of the band. Or maybe you enjoy psychedelic rock in general. It could also be that you’ve never heard of either (the band or the genre) and you just like playing with colors. So if you can’t decide between your primaries and your pastels, use both! This vinyl record art looks a lot like an acid trip, but if you use neon paint, it will brighten your space!
19. Move Like Mike
Some pop icons are so famous you can recognize them just by looking at their shadows. Michael Jackson (#RIP) was one of them, and this vinyl record art uses silhouettes of his most popular dance poses. You’d have to be really careful when cutting out the stencils, but they’re easily downloadable online so that helps. Mount them on a bright background.
20. Artistic Festival Posters
Sometimes, a single item denotes an entire era. Just think of an artistically rendered vinyl record, CD, or cassette tape. Those three images represent mindsets and concepts that could fill pages of prose and their images really are worth a thousand words. So this line-art festival poster uses vinyl record art as shorthand for wide-open spaces, good vibes, and wild dancing.
21. Barely Recognisable
Acrylic paint does a good job of clinging to vinyl so it’s a good option for vinyl record art. Some painters want the vinyl recognizable as a record, so they stick to painting the edges. But if you want full coverage, you can paint the entire record white or black then use that as a backdrop for your painting. In this picture, the landscape is a mirrored mountain and sky.
22. Photo Frames and More
A carefully cut vinyl record makes a cute picture frame. The size of the cutout and the margin will depend on how big the photo is. And the sections you snip won’t go to waste. You can repurpose the center hole as a coaster and the edge pieces as jewelry. They make great bracelets, earrings, and necklace pendants, but sand their edges smooth to avoid injuries.
23. Pen Holder
If you melt vinyl records for a few minutes, they become deliciously malleable and you can stretch or pinch them into any shape you like. So instead of buying a generic pen holder, why not make this piece of practical vinyl record art? Black records are fine but you can get more aesthetic results if you start with a record that has a different base color. Or pre-paint it.
24. Molding Magic
If you’re more of a hands-on artist, you could get some real mileage from your vinyl record art. These projects are far more involving because you have to melt the vinyl then mold it into the shape you want before it cools, dries, and solidifies. You can carve abstracts or create something more recognizable. Be careful not to burn your fingers on molten vinyl.
25. Swirl of Butterflies
Butterflies are a recurring motif in vinyl record art. It’s an involved art project because you have to carefully cut out the wings and get the right details. This installation uses multiple butterflies swarming around a retro turntable, but you can use anything as the base of the swirly spirals. Mix the label colors or paint the wings if you want a more vibrant result.
26. Celebrity Cameos
The idea is basic. Trace a celebrity or download an SVG file from the internet. Some are free while others cost a few dollars. And as this display wall shows, you have so many ways to play with celebrity vinyl record art. Check out the middle of the top row where the record label serves as a headphone. And did you spot U2’s Joshua Tree in the third row? Nice!
27. Take a Stab at It
Your (physical) mailbox is probably stuffed with junk mail, advertising pamphlets, and bills. So chances are you’re a lot less excited about it than your dog is. But with this vinyl dagger, opening your mail becomes a fun activity. And if it’s something annoying, you can stab it for catharsis. Use two fused records to make a mail tray that goes with the vinyl letter opener.
28. Crowning Jewels
Vinyl record art dances around jewelry and pieces range from simple to elaborate. It’s easy to cut them into cute shapes and loop them through bracelet clasps or earring hooks. And because vinyl is such a versatile and malleable material, you can work it into intricate shapes and designs. The examples here include a skull, fleur-de-lys, and cassette tape pendants.
29. Wall Flowers
When you’re making a vinyl bowl, you’ll probably use a smaller record size. But these bowls aren’t meant to store things or serve fruit. They’re designed to be mounted on the wall. To achieve those weirdly shaped petals, you can use a heat gun instead of an oven. The gun gives you more fine control of the contours. You can color your wallflowers with spray paint.
30. Scratch That!
If you ever owned vinyl records for their musical value, you know the pain of scratching that precious piece. But for this vinyl record art project, scratching is the whole point. Use a sharp tool or a hot piece of metal to engrave patterns onto the vinyl. When you’re starting out, pick abstract designs or mandala-like petals. Later, you can experiment with words and fine lines.
31. Vinyl Rolodex
A lot of life has gone digital. You can now send someone an e-card straight from your phone and it’ll have all your business contacts. But in certain spaces, it still pays to have a business card. And when someone hands you one, you don’t want to use it. This vinyl record art helps you keep important cards on sight so you can survey them at a glance. Plus it’s a pretty piece.
What’s your favorite vinyl record art? Show us your photos in the comments section!