Beta Project: Vinyl Record Frames

For the past week or so I’ve been working on a project to design and build wall frames that will hold some of my favorite 12" vinyl records to display. I love and miss the days of actual album art, and since the 2500+ records I have are all on a shelf (and rarely if ever get played anymore), I wanted to be able to enjoy and see them in a better way. :bulb: :headphones: :notes:

Also they needed to be easily removed, so there is a slot opening at the top to insert it, and an opening at the bottom to stick a finger in to raise the record out high enough to grab it from the top.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and refuse to buy premade ones from Ikea or Urban Outfitters that I’ve seen out there. I found a concept design to get some proper dimensions that worked, and revised/reworked it to create a version of my own that I could cut with the GF and assemble and finish myself. :smile:

I don’t have/use a CAD type of 3D program yet, so it took a little trial and error to get the file design to work just right using Illustrator. I used 1/4" plywood for all of these so far.

First version simply had 45° angles at the corners and was tricky to line up and then glue/clamp. Had to be very careful not to slightly bump or slide the layers too much when assembling and putting the clamps on.

First version pieces just cut…

First version clamped and glued for 24 hours.

Sanding and finishing to remove excess glue and make the edges flush.

Sanded and looking pretty sharp!

Testing it out with a record in it…

Slot on top

Opening on the bottom

Design flaw. I couldn’t even fit my pinkie finger in to lift the record from the bottom, so I had to use a pen to get it out. I want them to be hung on the wall and to not have to fully remove the frame to turn it upside down and get the record.

2nd version I made the frame pieces line up a little better with a simple ‘zig-zag’ in the 45° angle, and I also removed the back little piece at the bottom so I could easily raise the record with just a finger to remove it. The frame was a little easier to line up and assemble, but this still wasn’t perfect and the pieces ‘drifted’ slightly while I glued and clamped it all up to dry.

I now realize that I need to make an actual joint . This is something I’ve never done before (as I have never used or designed for a laser cutter!) and with a few tests I got it figured out. I’ve also never really built/designed something like this using joints before. It’s just a learning process, and really wasn’t that difficult to figure out and make work. :wink:

On the 3rd version the new joints were slightly off by a .01 overcompensation mistake (that I fixed now), but I had already cut the pieces out and didn’t want to throw it out, so I used a file to remove the necessary amount to make it work. Some of the joints were a bit too loose, but I’m glad I was able to salvage the pieces to make it work. :slight_smile:

I also chose to cut the 4 ‘inner’ layers out with solid corners instead of joints to make the lining up easier and more stable when gluing/clamping.

3rd iteration cut pieces laid out (before filing).

Glued and clamped.

The new opening at the bottom.

Detail shot of the top corner.

Sanded and ready for the next step.

Ok, so I tried to use stain on the first 2 and having never attempted it before, I wasn’t too stoked on the final results. It’s messy, and kind of a pain to do. I love the look of having the wood grain on a frame, but it really showed the sanding marks (guess I did kind of a rush job even though it felt very smooth to the touch), and there are certainly little marks and spots where the stain was either too light or too dark and just didn’t look as perfect as I wished it would have. Gonna have to practice it a bit more for future projects. I’m learning and definitely don’t consider myself a ‘woodworker’, so this whole project has been a good process of discovery and trial/error with mixed results. Overall they turned out OK but not great, so I plan on just using spray paint to finish the other 2 I have right now. On the first one I treated the stain as paint and didn’t realize I needed to wipe it off after 5 minutes or so, and because I was doing it so slowly and carefully at first it was drying and was just a mess to try and fix, so I hung it and let it dry for about 6-7 days. It was still pretty sticky so i used a rag after staining the 2nd one and wiping it (correct method, but still messy to me and not perfect in my eyes) and got it to a usable finish. Don’t judge me! :smirk:

1st and 2nd versions hanging to dry.

1st version finished and hanging test.

2nd version finished and hanging test.

Both together.

Some detail close-up shots…

Overall, I admit they look OK with the stain, and maybe I’m being a bit too critical, but I’m kind of a perfectionist. I am indifferent with the final results of the stain, and now I know what to do better next time! :grin:

I am very pleased with the overall result of the project though and will post finished versions of 3 and 4 after I try painting them to update this thread! I just wanted to share the progress.

3rd version (filed joints) fully sanded but without paint, and pretty tight looking with a record to test.

Thanks for reading this far and checking it all out! :+1:


Great project! I think they all look great. My only observation, how do you get the record out of the bottom one with the other one hanging right above it?


Hehe… good point. Luckily these are just hanging on a push pin just so i could take photos for the post. I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I put em up for real! :slight_smile:


This is great! I sold all my vinyl when I moved across the country. In the past I had made something kind of like this, but a lot more primitive, to hold some of my favorites (Wish you were here was on that list).

One thought, what if you made a little half circle cut out on the front and back of the bottom so you can just push the albums up with your finger instead of risking the pen?


Thanks! :slight_smile:
I did try something like that on screen working out the idea, but the record only sits about 1/4" below the outside edge so to push it up it really needed a full opening to push it up high enough from the bottom with a finger.


great job. I really like the evolution of the joints as you went along. They look really nice by v3 with the rounded entry corners and finger joints!


Great idea, and very nice record collection! I really like how you managed the interlocking corners.


I’ve seen lots of cool joints for wood on pinterest, but I wonder if one for this project could be designed to look like the old 45 record inserts :slight_smile:

Edit: adding svg for this shape record (1.8 KB)


Thanks! Yeah, v4 is perfect. The joints fit smooth and tight on the 1/4" plywood. Makes the assemble easy to line up now and minimal edging in the layers when glued and clamped. :slight_smile:
I don’t know much about joints, but am learning some others to try soon. And a few other revisions to the overall concept to develop the project further…


:grinning: Thanks @Rita.
Most of my collection are 12" singles for DJing in the past. I worked at a record shop in Huntington Beach for a number of years when I lived down there before moving to Seattle 8 years ago. Now I play CDs, or more often use usb sticks on the newer CDJs when possible, and sometimes a controller and my laptop. So much easier than lugging around a heavy record bag to gigs! And I do have a fairly decent collection of actual albums and double packs, etc. of many favorites and truly collectible releases and limited editions, special pressings, and more.

This design does work with some double vinyl albums with their extra thickness (depth), but on a few I’ve tried to put in, the width across isn’t enough as the actual album packaging varies on many of them. I wanted to have a series of frames that are all identical to have a pattern on a wall, but will definitely have to make some that are ‘custom’ fit for specific ones!


Definitely gonna do this, and actually make one for real! Thanks for the idea. I do want the joint to be more than a simple finger joint rectangle thing… to make it artistic with the design and concept. Even engrave some pin stripe lines or patterns maybe, but don’t want the frames to take away from the intent to showcase the release artwork itself. Hmmmm…


This is amazing. I love frames and have tried making them pre laser having, it is not easy at all! Awesome work, and very cool collection. (Daft Punk was my music all day yesterday, today is more of a Budos Band kinda day)


Thanks! Definitely have plans and ideas for other custom frames for sure :slight_smile:

1 Like

Pink Floyd gets my vote. Funny you should pick “Wish You Were Here”, chap on the right reminds me a little of your next President and the other guy, Sylvester Stallone maybe?

Edit: Good job!

Edit edit:

Source: Tumblr


Nice to see a real frame made on the glowforge. It is one of the projects on my list.


FSOL… yesss


I really like the way your joints look. Super job. :thumbsup:


Awesome! :slight_smile::squee:


Love the progression from…I need this, to trials and error, then to success!
Glad you held out and made it yourself. Much more satisfying…:grin:


This is fantastic!! My business partner is a bit of a Vinyl collector. I ought to make something like this for her! :smiley: