Sunday, March 3, 2013

Record Bowls/Stand

For a little while, record bowls were the home craft. A made a dozen, we converted one into a wall clock, and then... Uh, put keys in them? Hung them on the wall? We were gonna use them as snack bowls on our bar, but the hole makes that difficult. Years later, an inspiration from Pinterest led us towards this tiered set of trays that can serve as jewelry or craft storage, snack stand, purely decorative... That part is up to you.

What You'll Need:
  • Records you don't want to listen to
  • Threaded Rod (1/4" by 12" long")
  • 1/4" Hardware (Washers and Nuts)
  • 1/4" Acorn Nut
  • Pliers or crescent wrench
  • Series of oven-safe bowls
  • An oven

The hardest part here is mastering the art of record melting. Preheat your oven to 350*. Use the next few minutes to wipe your records down with a damp towel or sponge to get off the dust that has inevitably collected on them. This is your last chance to make sure that you never want to listen to this record again. We buy them at yard sales and thrift shops based on how much we like the labels. If you spend more than a dollar on any of these, pick worse records and melt them instead. If you make a record bowl out of Michael Jackson's Thriller, I will personally slap you for your poor choices.

Center your non-Grammy-winning album on your oven safe bowl. Slip it onto the top rack of your oven and close the door with the oven light on. Keep a close eye on it as it will start to droop within 20 seconds. By about 45 seconds, it will be completely soft and droop evenly around the bowl. Open the oven, turn the bowl with an oven mitt, and gently prod any folds with which you aren't satisfied with a wooden spoon or similar implement. Remove it from the oven with oven mitts and prod it ever couple seconds as it cools. Once it has gone from soft like a shower curtain to springing back to shape, pull it off the bowl. If you let it cool completely around the bowl and any folds fit under the rim of the bowl, you will have added a permanent lid to your bowl.

Confused? Check out the following video we shot to help explain. Note we didn't close the door, which results in a slower melting time but better visibility for you at home.

Fun times!

This completes one record bowl. To make this stand you'll need three, one of which will need a slight modification from its cousins. For the bottom layer, you need a concave bottom to keep the center hardware from resting on the surface it is stored upon. For that last one, press down in the center of the bowl with your oven mitt or a wooden spoon to bow the bottom down about a half inch. Once the bowl cools and you flip it over, this will leave a hollow underneath to hide the hardware.

Thread a nut onto one end of the rod about 3/4". Slide a washer on and slip the bottom record into place. Secure with a washer and second nut. Adjust your hardware spacing to leave a thread or two exposed on your rod and hold the record securely. Tighten with your wrenches or pliers.

Thread the next set of hardware down from the top, spacing your records according to taste. We did approximate thirds for each record, because we wanted the center stem to stand up at the top, but you could easily put them further apart if you prefer. Once done, you'll have the following set up:

At full size, the threads go the right direction. You don't need special reverse-threaded rod.
Note the bottom record with the curved base. Otherwise, you'll need to add feet of some kind, maybe by super-gluing on bobbins or something to the bottom. You can drill through and add feet with bolts or something, but be careful, as it is easy to break a record with tools.
Once done, place it where you like and fill it with something cool. Snacks for a party, little candies, potpourri, stuff at your craft table... This gives you some options.
Variations we have planned include using a 45 for the top record for a tiered look, using different sized bowls to change the look of the layers, or using square baking dishes for geometric layers. For triangles, use three coffee mugs with the handles turned inwards to make a tricorn bowl. Sure, they make colored records, but I'm fairly sure than any vinyl aficionado who catches you melting a limited edition will inflict some harm. The price you pay for a one-of-kind houseware.

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