ARTSY: Vintage Record Bowls

This is seriously the easiest crafty project ever and has become my favorite go-to gift of the past few months. I've seen these around at art fairs, etc. and always wanted to try my hand so I Googled instructions. There are several sets of instructions out there now, including a few YouTube videos as well. We made these at a recycled Christmas crafts girl party I held in November and they were a huge hit with my arty friends and, again, so easy.

First you start with the records. My neighbor gave me two huge boxes of old records that didn't sell at her garage sale last summer, so I already have a great stash, but you can pick them up for around 50cents a piece at any thrift shop. For the holidays, I used lots of old Christmas albums, but it's fun to select a group based on the gift receiver's tastes. And don't worry, I went through the boxes first and pulled out the all the albums worth keeping because I love listening to vinyl.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Find two glass mixing bowls that nest together nicely, and place the smaller one upside down in the oven to preheat as well. Then, center the record on top of the bowl and close the oven door. Check on it, oh, 5 minutes later and it should look something like this:

Please PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE DIRTY OVEN FLOOR, but do notice how the vinyl has softened and is drooping over the sides. At this point, carefully place the larger glass nesting bowl on top to smoosh down the sides. Leave them like this in the oven for about 1 minute. Remove the whole shabang with oven mitts and let sit for about 1 minute on top of the stove to cool. The vinyl will harden quickly and pop easily out of the glass bowl molds, resulting in the cutest things ever:

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the ruffles on each bowl are darling and unique to each bowl. They look like ribbon candy, especially if you're lucky enough to come upon the colored records at the thrift shop. While they are not food safe, they look great on a buffet to toss keys or spare change into or in the bedroom as a jewelry catch-all. I lined them with newspaper and filled them with microwave popcorn, nuts and hot cocoa and handed them out as New Years gifts for my extended family. There are wonderful artists doing more elaborate and cool things with reused records, especially here in Boise, but this is an easy, make-it-yourself gift for all ages.