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Displaying Vinyl Records: How to Make Album Cover Frames

Updated on October 5, 2017
Anthony Altorenna profile image

I like spending time in the garden, around the house, fishing and in the workshop. Many of the projects in my articles are original designs.

DIY Album Cover Frame
DIY Album Cover Frame

Display Your Favorite Album Cover Art and 45 Rpm Record Sleeves

Back in the days of vinyl LP records, recording artists and their record companies created album covers with colorful graphics and photos of the band to help market the musicians and to grab the attention of records buyers. Record stores often staged large displays to help promote the albums and to increase record sales.

Many album covers became iconic symbols of the artists and the music business. Instead of relegating our classic albums to storage on shelves and in the back of closets, use an album cover frame to display your favorite album covers and LP records in this easy-to-make DIY Album Cover Frame. Breathe new life into some lost album cover art and bring back the nostalgia of your favorite music by hanging your collection of albums on the wall. Better yet, group several album covers together to create some visual pop culture impact.

Specialty album cover frames are available through a variety of online retailers (and we've included a few prime examples below), and making your own album cover frames is an easy DIY project. This album cover frame also provides easy access for removing the album from the frame. You can hang the cover art on the wall, yet still, listen to the music.

Here's how to make an album cover frame in less than an hour.

How to Make an Album Cover Frame

The Cutting List

Things You Need:

  • 1 ½ x ¾ inch straight grained wood
  • 13 x 13 inch piece of 1/8 inch Plexiglas

Select a straight grained wood such as poplar, which takes paint well. Poplar is available at most home centers, is relatively knot free and inexpensive. Made from 1 ½ inch wide x ¾ inch thick stock, a five-foot-long section of poplar is enough wood to make an album cover frame and costs less than $5.

Rough cut the 1 ½ x ¾ inch stock into 15-inch lengths.

To hold the glass and album cover, the frame requires cutting a groove known as a rabbet and this is cut easily using a table saw. Position the fence ½ inch from the blade, and raise the blade 1 inch above the surface of the table. Using a push stick, position a piece on wood on its narrow edge and then run it through the saw. This will create a narrow, 1-inch deep slot.

Run all four pieces through the saw, making sure each section is run through on its narrow edge.

Adjust the fence ½ inch from the blade, and lower the blade to just ¼ inch above the table. Lay the stock flat on its wide edge, with the slot facing the table and positioned closest to the fence. Running the piece through the blade cuts away the waste piece, leaving a rabbet or groove for the album covers

Cut a 45-degree miter on one end of each piece, positioning the stock on its narrow edge. Carefully measure to make the second miter cut on the opposite end. The finished piece measures 13 1/16 inches long on the short side, and 14 1/16 inches on the long side. Cut correctly, all four piece will fit together to make a perfect square.

Some Assembly Required

Use glue and brads or small finishing nails to tack the corners together. Repeat on all four corners to complete the frame.

Cut a backer board from a thin piece of plywood, Masonite or heavy cardboard. The back needs to fit snugly against the frame. Cut a matching piece of clear Plexiglas.

Fill in the small nail holes with wood putty and lightly sand the frame smooth. Be sure to ease all of the corners with light passes of fine sandpaper. Spray several light coats of paint, allowing the final coat to dry thoroughly overnight.

Assemble the album cover frame by placing the frame on its face and insert the clear Plexiglas panel. Position the album cover against the Plexiglas, and then insert the backer board. Use small strips of wood as "stops" to hold the album cover in place, tacking the filler strips to the frame. The new album cover frame is ready for display.

To play the album, simply remove the small wooden stop blocks and remove the album from the album cover frame.

Album Cover Frame Plans

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Then one day you find, ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

— Pink Floyd, Time

Did You Keep Your LP Albums?

Before iTunes and CD's made vinyl records obsolete, music buffs had large collections of LP albums. Did you keep your album collection?

Did You Keep Your LP Albums?

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Got 45 RPM Record Sleeves?

Make an Album Cover Frame for Your 45 Rpm Picture Sleeves

Just like the larger LP albums, the record companies packaged 45 RPM records in decorative sleeves featuring artwork and photos to promote sales. Today, many of these record sleeves are very valuable and highly collectible -- and they just look great! Get these picture sleeves out of the closets and hang them on the wall along with your favorite album covers.

To make a display frame for 45 RPM records, cut your stock to the dimensions listed in the following 'Things You Need' section. Then, go back up to the 'Make an Album Cover Frame' section of this article and follow the instructions to make the album frame.

Things You Need:

  • 1 ½ x ¾ inch straight-grained wood
  • 8 x 8 inch piece of 1/8 inch Plexiglas

Use a clear, straight-grained wood such as maple, pine or poplar to construct the frames. Each side of the frame uses a piece 1 ½ inch wide x ¾ inch thick stock. Cut the 1 ½ x ¾ inch stock into 8 5/16 inch lengths.

45 RPM Record Display Frame Plans

45 PRM Record Display Frame Plans
45 PRM Record Display Frame Plans

We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school.

— Bruce Springsteen, No Surrender

Sometimes, You Can Judge the Music by Its Cover!

Top 10 Iconic Rock Album Covers

Vote for the Best Rock Album Cover of All Time

Readers Poll: Vote for your favorite album cover. If I've missed yours, please add it to the comments section at the bottom of the page

See results

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth

— The Who, Substitute

How Much Are Your Old Albums Worth?

A Few Facts About Vinyl Records

Many believed that digital music would be the death of vinyl records but in spite of MP3 technology and streaming services, albums still enjoy a loyal following. Here are a few fun facts about records:

  • Not all vinyl records are black. Records are pressed out different colored vinyl. More expensive and often harder to find, some audiophiles claim that records pressed from colored vinyl have a higher distortion and lower sound quality than traditional black vinyl.
  • The first 12" vinyl record ever produced was a recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
  • Two records were launched into space in 1977 aboard Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. The discs were pressed in gold and protected by an aluminum sleeve. The recordings include songs by birds, whales and Chuck Berry.
  • Store your albums vertically. Stacking albums are their sides can cause warping, and can damage the grooves in the albums at the bottom of the pile.
  • One of the most expensive album ever sold: An early version of a Velvet Underground album sold for $25,000. Only one copy of this rare recording is known to exist.
  • Vinyl is back. After falling to record low sales in 1993, vinyl album sales are back on the rise and continue to increase every year.

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.

— The Beatles, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da

Top 10 Greatest Best-Selling Albums of All Time

This short video features the music of the Top 10 best-selling albums of all time, as compiled by WatchMojo.com. While you may not agree that these are the best albums of all time, the commentary adds interesting bits of information and the video clips are cool.

The list of the Top 10 Best-Selling Albums also brings back some great memories, and this might just be enough to inspire you to rescue some of those old LPs from the bottom of the closest, get a few album cover frames, and put the art work up on the wall. You'll be glad that you did.

Top 10 Greatest Best-Selling Albums of All Time

© 2011 Anthony Altorenna

Do You Have A Favorite Album Cover?

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    • profile image

      Mack 5 months ago

      Bob Seger - Against the Wind

    • Carol Houle profile image

      Carol Houle 3 years ago from Montreal

      Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones. That nasty zipper on the cover has scarred other albums and even damaged the rear of it's own sleeve. Most memorable? The first time I saw the cow on the cover of a Pink Floyd album. I wondered 'A floyd is a cow? What's pink about it?' Ah to be so innocent.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      MY BEST FRIENDS DAD, WHO OFTEN REFEREED TO ME AS 'COOL', PASSED ON..... AND I ACQUIRED 23 OF HIS 'MILES DAVIS' ALBUMS.... HOW COOL IS THAT...

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      This is a really neat idea for showing off old albums and 45's. It is also interesting to see what some of the old Beetle stuff is selling for on EBay. This is good stuff!

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 4 years ago

      Almost anything by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were great...and fantastic lens idea!

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 5 years ago

      Anything by Pink Floyd or Alan Parsons Project, original U2 pressings and the new Flaming Lips / Heady Nugs vinyl box is choice.

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 5 years ago

      Vinyl has never really died and the punk/ska kids embraced the format and have been releasing really interesting music. One of the bands I work with is releasing a 10" ep on record store day, tomorrow. We are putting it out on purple vinyl. I dig colored vs. black, but 180 gram virgin is the best sounding, imo. Great lens + Cool ideas.

    • DianaPrice LM profile image

      DianaPrice LM 6 years ago

      Stevie Nicks, Bella Donna. Oh how I love that witchy woman...hey, I need to make a lens about her!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Probably Sgt. Pepper or Rattle & Hum

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've always loved the Rod Stewart - Atlantic Crossing album cover.