When your record is out of order, no matter the reason, don’t rush to throw it away. Instead, your old friend can serve you in another way! To do that, you need to learn how to cut vinyl records, what precautions to take, what tools you need, and what you can create from them.
Depending on your technique to cut through the vinyl, toxic gases may be released, or you may cut yourself. Don’t be alarmed, but if you choose a technique that involves heating the vinyl, you should follow simple precautions:
- Use a protective mask that covers your mouth and nose, so you don’t inhale the fumes.
- Wear heavy gloves.
- Install a fan, or move to a well-ventilated room.
What can I create with old records?
Before I tell you about possible designs, it’s worth pointing out that you probably won’t succeed the first time. Here, as in any other endeavor, experience and practice are important. So make sure that the old record is not so cherished that you will get upset if you finally ruin it.
So, you can make the following:
- A coaster for glasses or cups. You can cut out just the label, or you can cut up individual coasters.
- A guitar pickguard.
- Clock. A battery on the back, a couple of hands in the center, and the clock are ready! But you can also cut out an original design.
- Jewelry or wall decorations. This is where your imagination will fully unfold. You can find a lot of design templates online.
- Vases for flowers or bowls.
Ways to cut vinyl records
As you probably already know, vinyl records come in different sizes, and for cutting vinyl records into shapes, you may need special tools or improvised ones. Here are the most common methods with and without heating techniques. Heating records makes them easier to cut, but can be dangerous, so be careful.
It’s probably the easiest method. Simply place the plate in a preheated oven at 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 minutes (use baking paper). No longer than that, or the plate may melt. While the plate is hot, use scissors, but try not to burn yourself. Sketch the plate beforehand so that you don’t waste time when it’s already hot. In the process, you may have to heat the plate again to finish your drawing.
Heat the plate in parts, and cut with scissors. In this case, no toxic gasses will remain in your oven, and the plate will not melt because you control the process yourself.
The fumes from the plate may not be as horrible as is commonly said, but still, this method should only be used in a well-ventilated room, and stay away from the laser.
You have to buy this tool, but it gets rid of the extra heat on the plate. The cuts are sharper than from scissors, and you can create more intricate designs. You can also use a wood carving tool instead of a knife.
It is the finest option because you can both cut and sand with different attachments. Simple tips for you:
- Cut just beyond the markings (it’s better to apply them with a simple pencil) to avoid slipping.
- Use a wire brush attachment for refinishing and sanding.
- Use gloves.
No matter what method you choose to cut the record, you should sand the result to eliminate bumps and nicks or to refine the pattern. Take 120-300 grit sandpaper and smooth out all the edges. Spend a little time on this because, in this case, your product will have a well-finished look.
All of the above methods require some skills, but the result will surely please you. After all, what can be better than a thing made with your own hands? I wish you good luck, and I hope this article will be helpful to you, no matter which method you choose. Don’t forget to observe safety precautions!