How to Cut a Shape From a Vinyl Record

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You can cut and reshape vinyl records to create a wall hanging, magazine rack, earrings, coasters, clocks and more craft projects. Refashioning celebrates the classic recording medium and gives albums new life long after your turntable has been sold. Cutting vinyl can be as easy as trimming paper, but it requires a little practice and safety precautions to do it well.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinyl record
  • Metal snips or utility knife
  • Paper cutter
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Cookie sheet
  • Sandpaper
  • Oven or heat gun
  • Heat knife or wood-burning tool (optional)
  • Safety gloves
  • Oven mitts
  • Safety goggles

Step 1: Design a template

Create a template for the image you're going to cut out of the vinyl by sketching a silhouette on paper by hand, using a software drawing tool, or employing a photo-editing program that will help adapt an image into an outline that can be transferred to the record. Remember that you're creating the image by removing the negative space. For example, if you're going to create leaf-shaped earrings out of vinyl, you'll need to trace the shape of the leaf onto paper.

Step 2: Transfer the template image

Once the template been drawn or printed on paper, cut it out and tape it to the vinyl record, leaving room to trace the edges of the image onto the vinyl. Using a pencil, draw an outline of the template, such as a leaf, onto the vinyl. Any extra marks left from the graphite can be wiped away later. Remove the paper template.

Step 3: Heat the vinyl

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the vinyl record on a cookie sheet and in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Using oven mitts, check if the vinyl is malleable. Once the vinyl has been removed from the oven, you'll have about 30 seconds to a minute to work on the material before you need to reheat it, so you'll want to have a workspace, such as a cutting mat or board, available nearby.

Step 4: Cut the vinyl

Using metal snips or a utility knife, cut along the lines drawn on the vinyl to create the shape. Depending on the thickness of the record, you may need to reheat and score the lines several times before completing the cut.

Step 5: Using a wood-burning tool

As an alternative to heating the record in the oven, a wood-burning tool or heat knife will also cut through vinyl. When using this method, place the vinyl on top of a heat-resistant surface and be sure to alternate cutting for 10 seconds at a time, allowing the surface to cool to keep the vinyl from warping.

Warning

  • If you're using a wood-burning tool, wear safety gloves; some of these tools get hotter than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6: Sand the edges

After all the cuts have been made and the extraneous pieces removed, sand any rough edges, or, if necessary, trim the lines. Wipe off any extra graphite marks left by the pencil.

References

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