If you’re like me, you walk into Pier One or Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel and want one of everything. And if you’re like me, you can only afford one thing — period. Just one. And something relatively cheap at that.
Every time I see something in a store that is moderately crafty, I think, “I can make that.” So why pay good money for decorations when you can make your own?
I have to say, sometimes it works, and sometimes it just ends up being way too much work. After trying to buy enough material to sew my own canvas curtains, it actually ended up being cheaper to just shell out $30 bucks at Tuesday Morning for a pair that already have the grommets in them and everything. But there’s something so satisfying about sitting back and looking up at something you made yourself. It makes all that hard work and effort worth it, and it means so much more than that bowl you just bought from Target.
One of the projects that my boyfriend has come to be quite proud of is his recycled record bowls. This doesn’t require a whole lot of crafty talent, but produces a pretty cool and useful accent piece. I’ve even seen them selling for more than $50 on Etsy!
What you need: Records you don’t mind ruining, black felt, white chalk or marker you can see on the felt, scissors, oven-safe mixing bowls, baking sheet, medium-size can of something that won’t get ruined in heat, heavy duty oven mitts, craft glue.
Step 1. Get to a Goodwill and find some cheap vinyl. It doesn’t really matter who the record’s by, but look for some with a interesting-looking center label. My favorite is this purple Capitol Records one I found.
EPs (7-inch records) can be great for holding keys, paperclips and small knickknack things that get lost. Regular 45s are good for fruit, TV remotes, or you could put a napkin in the bottom and have a fun retro party serving dish.
Step 3. Choose a bowl. Make sure your bowl is oven-safe. These glass mixing bowls said safe for oven use on their bottoms. Also, be sure to wash any bowls you use after you finish making your record bowl. Who knows where that Goodwill record’s been? Mixing bowls work the best, and we found that the middle-sized bowl gave us the shape we were looking for. While you’re deciding on a bowl, remove one oven rack and move your other rack to the lowest position. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
Step 4. After you picked your desired bowl, place it right-side up on a baking sheet, with the record hole centered with the bottom of the bowl. Then, place an object on top of the record to weigh it down while it melts in the oven. We chose a can of green beans. When the record starts to melt, the can begins to fall into the bowl, starting the record bowl shaping process.
Step 5. Set your timer for 6 minutes, but check on your record after about 3 or 4. Some records take 6 minutes to do their thing, while others can take up to 10 minutes to melt properly. Just keep checking the oven and making sure they are melted enough to begin shaping.
Step 6. The following steps happen rather quickly. After the record starts to melt and then can falls into the mixing bowl, you need to start shaping your record bowl. If it’s not melted enough, put everything back into the oven. This takes practice. My first one was not exactly pretty. You don’t want to leave the record in too long because it starts to get to flimsy and melt to the bowl. (It will pop out once the record cools.)
Once your record looks like it is starting to give way and the can has fallen into the mixing bowl, take the mixing bowl out of the oven and start shaping it as quickly as possible. You want the record bowl sides to be wavy, but you want to make sure the bottom is flat. Using heavy-duty oven mitts, adjust the melted record so it is again centered in the mixing bowl. It will have shifted during the melting process in the oven. You want to make sure the label is as close to the center as possible of what will be the bottom of your record bowl. Then, using the can (it’s still hot, keep those oven mitts on!), push the bottom of the record out to flatten it and shape the bottom of the record bowl.
Step 7. Let your bowl cool. Find a cup/mug/bowl that’s about the size of the record label. This bowl I have worked perfectly. Trace it onto the felt, then cut the circle out. This will serve as a buffer for the bottom of your record bowl.
Step 8. Using craft glue, glue the felt circle to the center of the bottom of your record bowl. Press down gently on the bowl for 30 to 40 seconds, giving the glue some time to set. Also warn people that they shouldn’t serve dip or any liquidy type food. The bowls won’t be dishwasher safe. Then, sit back, and start filling your bowl with knickknacks.
We experimented with several size mixing bowls. We even inverted the mixing bowl with one record to see what would happen and got this interesting square shaped bowl. Making these bowls is a relatively simple and super cheap way to get reuse some old records and get accent pieces that turn out different every time. I’m looking forward to giving some of these away for house warming/birthday presents!
What trash have you turned into treasure lately?
Check out my other blogs to see some holistic accent pieces or how to incorporate color into your decorating scheme.