There once was a time long ago when people attempted to listen to their favorite musical ditties by first putting a giant black disc the size of a dinner plate directly on top of a boxy turntable “platter.” In order to transfer the sound embedded within each groove of the vinyl directly into their ear canals, they would then gently place a tone arm-mounted needle on the outermost edge of the record and wait for the magic to begin. Despite what you might think, these musical aficionados of yesteryear also drove cars, spoke fluent English and even consumed pre-sliced bread. And yet, for all intents and purposes, the vinyl record is now regarded as a dinosaur, or at best a novel, adorably vintage throwback. While select retailers are jumping on the retro bandwagon by selling a new, improved generation of record players and LPs, it doesn’t seem to be a trend with pervasive staying power based on the widespread appeal of digital music consumption. That leaves a vast inventory of dusty old vinyl cluttering attics, garages, dark closets and storage pods from sea to shining sea. It may be especially tempting to subject them to slow death by landfill-induced methane asphyxiation or fling them boomerang style into the sky, but these musical artifacts deserve far better treatment. Countless hours of crafty website surfing has revealed the mother lode of all vinyl record repurposing ideas, so go forth and multiply your personal and household DIY style!

vinyl record recycling

Did you know that old vinyl records can be transformed into… … a hand-stitched purse? Variations on the basic design are seemingly endless, from the inclusion of contrasting fabric panels and bold graphics, to recycled silk fringe trim. … a light-blocking window curtain for audio enthusiasts? Better yet, try making a bold, mandala-style room divider! … saddle shoes adorned with black, faux-patent leather detailing? This idea can be easily applied to a much-loved pair of kicks that are in desperate need of a facelift, or even a simple pair of scuffed but comfy flats. … a flat, two-tiered treat stand or wavy, triple-tiered storage tray? … a simple, wall-mounted jewelry display? … a durable, hard-covered notebook? (Seek out colored vinyl for an extra bit of pizzazz!) … a laser-etched clock? … a silverware holder for each table setting? … bookends for an audiophile? … a wine rack? … guitar picks? … colorful hair combs? Yes, even a hair band can be made with very little effort! … a picture frame? … a Rolodex-style business card storage unit or a conventional, compact holder? … hand-decorated wrist cuffs? … a decorative wreath? … human-like, three-dimensional portraits and sculptures? … decorative bowls for fruit or other random household objects? … waterproof beverage coasters? (Just make sure they’re laminated!) … garden planters? … a Christmas tree? … roof shingles?

A word of caution to crafting enthusiasts

If you intend to take on a recycling idea that requires heating an LP prior to cutting or shaping it, please proceed with caution. Records are made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contains carcinogenic ethylene and dioxin-laden chlorine, as well as phthalates and bisphenol A, the majority of which have proven to compromise hormone activity in the human endocrine system. Upon heating vinyl, chemical fumes can be inhaled into the lungs and even be absorbed through the skin if the material is handled by bare hands. So, prior to launching your vinyl record repurposing project, be sure to ventilate the area you plan on working in and make a point of wearing protective gear (such as goggles and gloves)!