Vintage vinyl, reincarnated as bowls


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Robert Murphy, a Montreal-based graphic designer, photographer and installation artist, had a collection of vintage vinyl albums – 3,000 of them. “I had to get rid of them, and I was convinced at least one would be worth a fortune,” he says.
Actually, none of them were worth much as 33 rpm records, especially with scratches and pits. So Murphy, who designs under the label OddBob Design, thought of an alternative. He recalled a Boy Scout project from his childhood.

“It’s been done since the 1940s – put your vinyl LPs in the kitchen oven and let them soften up so you can shape them into wavy bowls,” Murphy explains. Improvising on the retro craft project, he built his own thermal-forming machine and produced a modern version. His GrooveBowl is 4 inches tall and shaped a little bit like a speaker trumpet with straight (rather than wavy) edges.


The artistic reincarnation of an otherwise useless album has transformed forgotten Tom Jones and Liberace LPs into retro-inspired accessories. “This isn’t just recycling. It’s up-cycling,” he maintains. The bowl can’t hold liquids (there is that hole, after all) and isn’t dishwasher or microwave safe. Murphy suggests using the bowl as an art piece or to serve nuts that are still in their shells.

If you’re not picky about the artist on the label, you can buy a generic GrooveBowl for $15 plus shipping on Etsy or Artfire. “Some people much prefer paying $75 for Abbey Road by the Beatles,” Murphy says. And for some reason, Bruce Springsteen GrooveBowls are selling briskly right now. “I keep looking for better titles. Some of these albums are so kitsch that they’ve blown right back through the cool barrier.”

Collector GrooveBowls come packaged with the original album cover and sleeve. You can even send a sentimental favorite to Murphy for custom bowl-shaping. Contact him at

For a chance to win a collector GrooveBowl, join Murphy’s GrooveBowl fan page on Facebook. He gives away a bowl to one fan every Friday.

-- Debra Prinzing