These past few days I was really busy doing research for a couple of school assignments and as always, learned a lot of fascinating stuff about career choices in mechanical and civil engineering, architecture, graphic designing and I must admit, my favourite of the five, surveying.
Yesterday while I was typing the last of the pages of this assignment, I was also listening to some music from a local radio station. They played a lot of my favourite “oldies” music which in turn brought back memories from the days of vinyl/gramaphone records and how I saved money when I was 14 years old to buy a new record of one of the very popular songs of that time.
Oh, the joy when I could finally go into the shop and pay for this “seven single” record and went home to play it on the record player that I also bought with my own money earned from a few weekend jobs in a local shop!
With new technology taking over our lives, the vinyl records had to make way for cassette tapes and then came CD’s. Nowadays everybody is downloading their music to iPods and cell phones and the once popular vinyl records are gathering dust in a box in the attic.
A few years ago while a friend of mine was visiting, we went to a private museum on a farm a few kilos out of town. The owner, an old lady in her 80’s, had a large collection of vinyl records as well as one of these really antique gramaphones associated from an era known as His Master’s Voice.
She took out a “78” record with an Afrikaans song that was recorded in the late 1930’s and played it for us. Not only was I amazed at the clarity of this record but also delighted because the song is one of my favourite Afrikaans songs and a song made popular again by a very good looking male singer (David Fourie) a few years ago. The name of the song is “Kaboem Mielies” and it literally means “popcorn”. Click on the link to listen to it if you are interested. The quality of the video is not so good so here is another version of the same song. My granddaughter and I love to dance to this song.
Sadly many of us don’t have gramophones anymore even if we still have a lot of records and even if we do have one, we don’t listen to the records anymore. So this brings me to the real reason for tonight’s post. Turn these old, useless records into super decorative bowls for your child’s music theme party!
While my friend and I were visiting some local craft shops after our visit to the museum, we saw handbags made from vinyl records and I remembered that I once saw photos of bowls made from records. So with some “free time”, we decided to make some bowls.
After a little research I found two methods that can be used to do it. In the first one you use boiling water to soften the edges of the record and then quickly bend it into desired shapes. I had some trouble with this method.
The record softened on contact with the boiling water, but hardened up again as soon as it was taken out of the water and before I could even start shaping it. I do believe that with a little more practice, it could work very well and if you only want to make one or two bowls, it is a good method.
The second method of softening the record in the oven, worked excellently and once we managed to complete the first bowl, we enjoyed it so much that Adri (my daughter) decided to make some as well and in the end we had six bowls.
The only drawback in making the bowls, was the decision of which records to use. Although it is years since I last listened to any of them, they all have special meanings and memories of good times in my life. Luckily I have many of the songs on my computer and on CD’s, so the bowl-making session began with a good old “Rock and Roll from the 50’s” album.
How to make bowls from old vinyl records:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Clean the record with dish washing liquid and water and dry well but take care not to damage the label on the record.
Use a little cooking oil and lightly oil one side of the record. Center the oiled side of the record over an inverted oven proof glass bowl and place in the preheated oven for two to three minutes. The record will soften, droop and form four pleats.
Use a pot holder to remove the glass bowl and record from the oven. Place on a heat resistant surface and using your fingers, shape more pleats or turn the edges inwards or outwards. You have to work fairly quickly as the record is workable for about 30 seconds before it hardens up again.
However, if you are not satisfied with the way your bowl looks, just put it back onto the glass bowl and return to the oven for another two to three minutes and reshape the pleats. You can even put it onto a baking tray and after some minutes, the record will wilt into the original flat form and then you can start from scratch. Leave the finished bowl to cool completely.
Use different sized glass bowls and even glasses to shape your bowls. They can be big and shallow or deep and narrow. If you like, you can decorate it further with glitter glue or puff paint. Use them for fruit, candy, cupcakes or any other snacks you will have at the party.
Here are photos of two bowls that my friend made – the first one with a big “33” record and the second one was with a “45” record. You can really see the different shapes that you can make by just shaping the record with your fingers into pleats.
As always, have fun when you plan your child’s birthday party and I hope you have a rockin’ good time when you make bowls from your old vinyl records.
Tip: If you don’t want to use your own records, you can always try to find them at flea markets or second hand shops. Many times these old records can be collectors items and you would not want to use these.
Warning: Do not let children do this on their own. The records and glass bowls are very hot and should be handled with care.