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So in 1989 or so, you finally started cleaning out your record collection to make way for bigger, better, badder A/V equipment. You faced a conundrum, however - you enjoyed a lot of these LPs. How could you so callously turn your back on them? Hence, you loaded them into a box that migrated, in one way or another, from your bitchin' sound system to your less than bitchin' attic.

Fast forward a decade or so: you're moving or cleaning or whatever, and you find this forgotten stash of vinyl trash. Immediately, a thought leaps to your mind: I actually spent money on a Barry Manilow record?! Then you start looking through them and laugh at your own past musical taste. These are too funny to throw away, but too useless to keep around.

What's a body to do? Why, turn them into bowls, of course! Sure, it'll have a hole in the middle, and you probably won't want to eat cereal out of it, but it's great for popcorn, chips, Cheetos, etc.. It also makes a great conversation piece ("No way, you bought The Stranger too?!") or a cheap yet interesting gift

  1. Preheat your oven to 200° Fahrenheit (not Freiheit), and remove all but the bottom rack.
  2. Procure a coffee can - I prefer the 13 oz. cans, though a 2 lb. can will produce a shallower bowl if you're into that sort of thing. Place said can on the bottom rack.
  3. Put that muzak masterpiece on the can, close the oven door.
  4. Ponder some of the universe's unanswered questions for 1-2 minutes (What the hell is "Open Arms" doing on the Heavy Metal soundtrack?). Watch the record droop over the coffee can.
  5. Open the oven, pull out the bottom rack as far as it will go. Put on some oven mitts, and start shaping your new bowl.
    • It'll be doing a clamshell thing, usually there'll be three ridges (you'll know what I mean when you see it), which won't make for a very good bowl. You can make a new ridge by lightly grabbing a bulging out ridge between your thumb and fingers (thumb on the outside, people) and slowly pushing.
    • The bowl won't be malleable forever - by pulling out that bottom rack you're letting it slowly cool while you work it. This is a good thing! If you find that the bowl has cooled down too much, shove the bottom rack back into the oven for a count of about five seconds (I mean, I'll give them the Stevie Nicks song, but Journey?!).
    • Sometimes the record will floop down perfectly - if so, kudos to you my friend. Beware, however, as some of the sides may have melted together! Carefully peel these apart while still quite warm, as they have a tendency to rip if you try to pry them apart once they've cooled.
  6. Carefully remove the coffee can from the oven, let the record cool for five minutes or so, and there you have it! A piece of nostalgia in bowl form (with a hole in the middle).
LP bowls do have some impracticalities, aside from the hole in the middle issue. First off, unless you're way better at this than I am, they won't stack with anything, not even another LP bowl. Second, washing them is a bit of a pain - don't put them in the dishwasher! I've heard they can melt. If you immerse them in water, the label in the center of the LP will eventually get wrecked. As long as you don't put anything goopy or harder to clean than buttered popcorn in the bowl (don't butter the popcorn in the bowl) a dishtowel with warm, soapy water on it run around the edges will keep your bowl clean. Enjoy!

Thanks to Cassie for the idea

4/27/03 - jasonm has pointed out that often, vinyl LPs can contain poisonous materials left over from manufacturing. While these may be released via heating, it would take _quite_ a while in an oven at such a low heat. So as long as you don't leave the LP in while you head to your local Disc-Go-Round to offload those Bell Biv Devoe CDs, you should be fine.

Addendum: Just to cover my ass against the vinyl junkies out there - I mean in no way to imply that CDs are better than vinyl. I own some cherished vinyl myself. I merely present this node as an opportunity for folks who can't believe they didn't throw out that Xanadu album once Reagan left office to have some arts n' crafts time with their old musical embarrassments.

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