Five Useful Ways to Recycle Your Records Without Holding an Art Show

Gallery 28's Vinyl Transformations exhibit (which continues through April 2) features redecorated LPs from local artists like Genea Barnes and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and benefits the North Beach Citizens. But it also begs the question: Is the 12-inch dead? Now that we've stopped playing our records and started displaying them under track lights, it looks like the answer is yes.

So what's a hoarding vinylphiliac to do? Glad you asked. We think our once-cherished records deserve a better fate than being painted and framed and hung on the wall. We think they deserve to be used. What's more, we think the record is an untapped source of immense potential, and can actually be repurposed to meet every basic human need. Thus we've consulted Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the Internet, and come up with a list of vinyl-repurposing projects that will get you actualized and clutter-free in one fell swoop.

1. Physiological: Make Some Bowls

Mr. Maslow kindly pointed out that, in order to be fulfilled, we need to be alive, so things like eating are important. You cannot ingest your records -- hello internal bleeding -- but you CAN make them into a nice set of chip bowls. The fine minds at Sick Of the Radio and wikiHow can guide you through the process.

2. Safety: Get Thyself a Roof 

Another important step on the path to self-realization is security of property. How better to secure your dwelling than by shingling your roof with Motown B-sides? Though we don't know what genre he used, Nashville musician Matt Glassmeyer constructed his porch roof from 350 old records. Image via Treehugger.

3. Love: Make a Record Baby

No, we're not suggesting you fire up the Barry White and get all American Pie with your vinyl -- after all, your copy of The Man is now a chip bowl, and that's disgusting. No, you probably won't find romantic love with your records, but you can sculpt them into your very own mini-me for companionship. Steven Deo's Vinyl Baby is just one example. Image via Crooked Brains.

4. Esteem: Sew a Vinyl Dress

You're fed, housed and (sort of) loved: It's time to get your self-confidence on. A vinyl dress, like this one made by designer Maison Martin Margiela, ought to do the trick by drawing stares (but also probably blood). Image via The Find.

5. Self-Actualization: Move On

Congratulations. Your house is clean, you're a happier person, and you have a bunch of new crap. You can now become actualized. This involves Zen-y things like morality, lack of prejudice, and most importantly, acceptance of facts. It's time to face the tinny, compressed music: iGadgets are here to stay and the record ain't never comin' back. In order to convince yourself of this, we suggest you go and get that one, lingering Velvet Underground EP you stowed away in the back of your closet and fashion it into an iPod case. It's time to move on. Image via Treehugger.

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