How to paint vinyl records so you see the grooves

Written by carl hose
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"Album art" uses old vinyl record albums to create works of art. Artists typically use acrylic or oil paint to create paintings directly on the surface of the record albums. The paintings often feature musical-themed art work or a portrait of the band or performer of the album. These vinyl art projects are fun to paint and collect. Learning to paint album art takes patience and a little practice, but when you've mastered the technique, you can paint album art worthy of display.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Spray paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint brushes
  • Vinyl record
  • Stencils

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  1. 1

    Decide what your design will be. If you have the ability to draw, you may want to make a stencil for your album art beforehand, just to make the paint application easier. If you use spray paint with stencils, be sure to mask the parts of the album you don't want paint to touch.

  2. 2

    Apply your design to the vinyl using either acrylic paint made thin with paint thinner, or spray paint with the can held at a distance of several inches. Some artists prefer letting the grooves of the vinyl record show through the paint, and either of these methods is ideal for making this happen.

  3. 3

    Use brushes dipped in paint thinner to apply detail work to your album art paintings. This keeps the paint on the brush thin and allows the record grooves to show through. Limit the number of layers of paint you apply. More than two coats will begin to fill the grooves and cause them to become hidden.

  4. 4

    If you find areas where the grooves of the record are completely covered, use paint thinner on a cotton swab to thin it out. The small size of the cotton swab allows you to thin out even the smallest details without affecting portions of the painting that already appear the way you want them.

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