With the advent of compact discs in the 1980s, the last nail was struck on the coffin of the classic vinyl record. For generations, the vinyl record, from its earlier thick and heavy 78 rpm version to the long playing record and the fascinating 45 rpm sized Extended Play releases, had been the only way to listen to music. Most homes of music aficionados will have a large collection of old vinyl records lying around somewhere. While many may be willing to invest in a high end analog system, for most people, it is just much more convenient to listen to music in the more popular CD or digital formats. However, what does one do with the huge stack of vinyls that might be left over from your college days or from your parentsâ music collection? Here are ten neat ways that you can recycle or upcycle them.
1. Vinyl time pieces
Long playing records are perfectly suited for wall clocks, and 45s are just right for a table piece. All you have to do is get hold of a battery operated clock unit, and attach it to a vinyl record. In order to do that, gently detach the hour, minute, and second hands from their axes. Slip the clock spindle into the hole at the center of the vinyl record. Tape the clock to the back of the record so that the top of the record is where 12 oâclock would show on the clock. Place the hands back on their respective axes. You can do without the second hand, since it typically is very thin and tends to get bent. Set the clock to 12 oâclock and mark out the 12 oâclock position. Turn the clock hands one hour ahead at a time and mark out the hours. You may want to extend the hands so that they show up better. Done.
2. Vinyl as canvas
Vinyl was mostly produced in black, but also came in other colors. Use them to paint on a circular canvas. You can use acrylic emulsion paint comfortably on vinyl. You may also want to cut out stencils of a repetitive pattern and then use a spray can to create stunning designs on the background of the vinyl. Some vinyls came with innovative graphics incorporated into the labels. You can try building your painting around these graphics, thereby drawing on the creativity of the original vinyl to create your own masterpiece.
3. Melted Salvador Dali clock
You can get the surreal effect of time melting away much in the same way that the Dada master Salvador Dali portrayed by using a vinyl record and an old wall clock. Take a vinyl record and put it in a very hot oven for about one or two minutes. Carefully take it out with oven mitts on, and drape it over any ledge-like place with about four-fifths of it hanging down. Hold down the one-fifth that is on top of the ledge firmly till the heat dissipates and the record sets in a melting clock manner. Now take an electronic wall clock and disassemble the main clock unit and the hands. Fasten the hour and minute hands after slipping the the movement spindle through the center hole on the vinyl record. Now you can hang this from any ledge in the house and it will serve as a surreal clock.
4. Vinyl decorative bowls
You can shape lightly molten vinyl records into attractive decorative bowls. All you need to do is to toss them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes and then carefully take them out and shape the edges into a bowl. Depending on how deep you want your bowl, you can bend just the edges or most of the record up to the label. You can make designs by making curved patterns while you bend them. Do remember that these bowls come with a hole at their center, and are inflammable, so you would not be able to use them to store liquids or as an ashtray.
5. Record boxes
You can use the album covers and the albums themselves to make decorative boxes. Just glue or stitch together the covers of long playing vinyls into a box. You can use the vinyl itself to make a cover or a handle for the box. These can turn into the ideal retro house decoration and storage solution.
6. Vinyl cutouts
Think of ways that you can use the colorful circular labels in designs of your choice. Stencil them on to your vinyl records and then cut them out. The easiest designs for this are silhouettes. You can mount these on the wall, or frame them, and hang them up. You can even hang several of them and turn them into a mobile art.
7. Vinyl bookends
You can turn your vinyl records into extremely creative looking bookends. Use a heated rod to bend two vinyl records along a straight line at their centers. Bend each of them to 90 degrees and hold them till they cool and set at that angle. You can now use these to keep your books together on a shelf, a mantelpiece, or on your desktop.
8. Vinyl jewelry
Use your creativity to come up with small designs that you can cut out of your vinyl records and then combine them with metal inserts and wiring to create original looking jewelry that you and your friends can wear. You can leave them in the classic black of vinyl or spray paint them in any color of your choice.
9. Vinyl coasters
Vinyl records came with a huge variety of labels, with the details of the artist, the tracks, and other material on them. Cut out the vinyl records to the size of the labels, and you can use them as extremely attractive coasters with a chic retro look.
10 Put them on sale online
You may find your vinyl collection suitable only for recycling or throwing it away, but there is a huge community of vinyl collectors and fans who are looking for the vinyl that you are about to trash. Put out the details of the albums you have, along with a note on their condition, on websites like eBay or Craigslist. You may be surprised to find that people are willing to pay you money for what you were trying to get rid of.