Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wall Decor: Black Framed Vinyl Records

I collect vinyl records and love to listen to them.  I, like many music enthusiasts, feel the "record" is a dying art--not just the musical format, but the actual album ART.  The jackets, the sleeves, the booklets, the lyric sheets--old vinyl packaging is rich with art and graphics.  I have often purchased records just for the jackets, with secondary consideration for the music.  You can't get that tangible, beautiful artwork on iTunes.  That's a shame, and something future generations won't have any concept of.

But still, even though I have beautiful records in my collection, I still never get to see it when it just sits on my shelf.  So, for our one year anniversary, my sweetheart gave me the perfect gift--a two-birds-with-one-stone gift that sent my heart soaring! 

He and I built this large cluster of black frames to cover our shamefully bare wall in our living room, and finally give my album covers the attention they deserve.  Here's how we did it:

Kyle bought some lumber at the hardware store.  The boards measured 4"x 1" and were 8 or 10 feet long.  He cut them down to about 14 inches long and then cut the widths to make frames of varying depths.  The shallowest is about an inch and a half, the deepest is 4 inches, with about 3 sizes in between.  I hope that makes sense, I wasn't there for that process.

Next, he cut a groove with a router into one side of each frame.  The records sit inside the groove.

We worked on the rest of the process together, first assembling the cut strips of wood into a square.

These elbow-shaped clamps were indispensable.  They made it possible for all of the edges to line up exactly with no overlap, making very clean corners.

Then we drilled holes into the corners and put dowels to secure the wood together. 

Add a drop of wood glue.
Let the glue dry.

REPEAT THIS PROCESS 16 TIMES.  (or however many frames you want.)

Piles of finished frames.

 I used a rotary sander to thoroughly sand the doweled corners, and smooth out the entire frame.
 Spray Paint:  I ended up using 3 different kinds of flat black spray paint.   If you can, use "artist's spraypaint" purchased from an art supply store.  Montana paint is excellent.  It covers really well, has very dense pigment, and dries smoother than the "industrial" type paints I purchased from Lowe's and Walmart.  On the Left is the Montana paint, about $6.50 per can, on the Right is industrial paint from Lowe's, about $6.50 per can, and not pictured is cheap, generic flat black from Walmart, $3.50 per can.  I used 6 cans of paint for two coats on all 17 frames.

Eventually, I covered most of the frames by laying them on newspaper on the driveway, but it was awkward to get every nook and cranny, the frames stuck to the paper, and it was a fairly windy day.  So, later on, to finish the second coat and the last 8 frames, I hung a line in my backyard and tied the frames to it.  They dangled on the line and I spray painted them, getting a very even coat, almost no dripping, and great coverage.  (Failed to get a picture.)  They dried quickly, dangling in the breeze.

Last step was to lay the frames out on my living room floor in the arrangement I wanted, and decide how to group them.  Once I decided how many small groups I wanted and how the groups were arranged, we screwed the frames together with 1.25 inch black drywall screws.  I put D-rings on the back, and hung them on the wall like this:

I color-coded the different arrangements.  Each of the colored groupings is an independent piece, and can be moved to other parts of the house, etc.

And this is the finished project with a few records in the frames.  The records are meant to be easily taken in and out.  The deepest frames can also be used as shelves for bricka-brack and whatnot.

I love it! 


  1. That's just plain sexy... I wish I were half as creative as your little finger. :-)

  2. dang... that is pretty HHOOOTTTTTTTTTTTT

  3. What an awesome project! It looks great. I love that it can be separated into smaller arrangements. Very versatile!

  4. That is awesome! My mom is always wanting to find a way to display her old records, especially her Beatles ones. Maybe I'll let my dad know how you did this! Again, this is just too cool.

  5. That is really awesome! I agree with you that the record jackets are something that you cannot have in iTunes. You can have the music removed to your playlist, but you could still reproduce it from the other sources. However, losing the covers can definitely be heart breaking!

    Ruby Badcoe