One of the joys of owning vinyl records is the cool artwork that appears on the covers. Artists used to put a lot of work into the design of record covers. And when you think about album artwork there are probably a few classics that come to mind.
Here are a few good ones.
Pink Floyd ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ (1973)
The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ (1969)
Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ (1991)
Instead of leaving all your records stacked so that you can’t appreciate the covers, why not consider using some of them to create your own wall art.
You don’t need to be a carpenter or crafty individual. With a few basic materials, you can easily build a record cover artwork wall without breaking your bank.
Here are the best tips for arranging your record cover artwork installation.
What You Should Consider Before Getting Started
The first step in setting up a wall display with record covers is to choose your covers.
Consider choosing a theme. For example, you may want to select covers that fit a specific style, such as old jazz record covers or psychedelic covers from the 60s and 70s. You could also go with a movie musical soundtrack theme or a showcase the career of a specific artist.
You also need to decide whether to use covers from your own record collection. Some of the techniques for hanging the covers can damage them.
If you want to save your covers, another option is to find old records at thrift stores and yard sales. You can often pick up a stack of old vinyl records that no one wants for a few dollars. You can toss or save the records and use the covers for your wall art.
After selecting your covers, you have a few different ways to display them on the wall:
- Use record display frames
- Hang records in plastic sleeves
- Use screws or nails for shelving
- Tape covers to the wall
- Attach the covers to thick foam core
With each of these options, you need to decide where the display is going, how many covers you want to use, and how to arrange them.
NB! Feel free to check out our top 10 picks for record player stands as well.
Tips for Arranging Your Album Covers
It helps to draw out the plan on a piece of paper. You could also lay the covers out on the floor to get a better sense of how the final display will look.
The easiest layout is the grid. You simply arrange the covers in equally-spaced rows. For a clean look, leave two to three inches between each cover.
Another option is the staggered look. You use still rows but start each row slightly to the left or right of the previous row. You could also add more height to the room by staggering the position of the columns instead of the rows.
If you have a mixture of 33s and 45s, consider making a collage-like display. Start with one cover in the center and then position the other covers around it. They don’t need to line up or remain even. However, this looks best when you maintain the same gap between each cover.
For example, you can scatter the covers around in a mosaic, while ensuring that each cover has a one-inch space around it.
No matter how you arrange the covers, you should try to keep them straight. Before nailing, taping, or hanging a cover on the wall, mark the position of each cover with a pencil.
As you hang each cover or frame, use a level to ensure that it’s straight before moving on to the next cover.
1. Use Frames to Create a Record Cover Display
Several companies produce wall frames specifically for showcasing record cover artwork. These frames allow you to display the cover without damaging it, which is great if you plan to use covers from your existing collection.
With the Show & Listen Album Cover Display Frame Set, you get four frames in your choice of black or white. While this isn’t the least expensive way to hang covers, it’s the best way to protect the artwork.
The display frames allow you to remove covers and put different ones in. Over time, you may decide that you want a fresh display or want to try a different arrangement. You can switch the covers without needing to rehang the frames.
Instead of buying frames, you may be able to recycle them. Use frames from old paintings that you find at yard sales.
While they may not perfectly fit the covers, you can use a large sheet of poster board to create a border to cover the extra space. Simply cut the poster board to the size of the frame and then position the cover directly in the center.
2. Build a Display with Plastic Record Sleeves
Another way to build record cover wall art is to use the plastic sleeves designed to protect the records. With 12-Inch Record Outer Sleeves from Square Deal Recordings & Supplies, you can easily hang your records without ruining the covers.
These sleeves come in packs of 100, providing a cost-effective way to arrange the covers on the wall. As you’re unlikely to use all 100 sleeves for your wall art, you should have quite a few leftovers for protecting your record collection.
Each sleeve has a slight lip. Use two small nails in each corner of the lip to hold the sleeve in place on the wall, with the opening facing outward. You can then slide the cover into the sleeve.
As with the display frames, this allows you to easily switch out the covers. In fact, it’s a little easier because you don’t need to open a frame. You simply slide the cover out and replace it.
With the plastic sleeves, you may also consider arranging the covers without any gap between them. This works well with a grid layout or staggered look. If you have enough covers, you could even arrange them to form a shape or letter on the wall.
When hanging the sleeves, remember that the lip adds an inch or two. Start at the top. When you add the second row, nail the lip one or two inches above the bottom of the upper row, so that the top of the cover is directly below the upper cover.
3. Use Screws or Nails to Create Small Shelves
Record covers are lightweight and don’t require a lot of support to remain upright. To take advantage of this, consider using nails or screws to build small shelves.
You only need two screws or nails per cover. Place the screws or nails six-inches apart and then place a cover directly on top. The screws and nails are more than enough to support the covers.
These L-shaped copper-plated screw hooks help secure the covers, and they’re easy to screw into the wall. You get 50 hooks, which is enough to hang 25 covers.
To keep a strong breeze from knocking the artwork down, you can add a small nail or tack just above the top-middle of the cover. However, if you position the covers at least a half-inch from the wall, the angle should keep them in place.
As the covers don’t weigh much, you shouldn’t need to use screw anchors. The screws or nails can go directly into the drywall.
4. Tape the Record Covers to the Wall
If you don’t care about damaging the covers, you can tape them to the wall. This is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to create wall art with record covers.
As with the previous methods, you should plan the layout before placing them on the wall. Start in the upper right corner, and work your way across the wall.
Quality double-sided tape should hold a record cover to the wall without falling for many months or possibly years. Just make sure that you remove the record and inner sleeve first.
If you want the most secure tape, try the Gorilla Tough & Clear Double-Sided Mounting Tape. It’s made by the company that produces the ultra-durable Gorilla Glue that holds almost anything.
The benefit of using tape is that you don’t damage the walls, but you may damage the cover.
5. Attach the Album Covers to Thick Foam Core
Foam core is a dense board made from foam and commonly used in various arts and crafts projects. It also provides a way to create more of a 3D effect with your wall art.
Check out this Youtube video for a cool foam board intro.
Choose differently colored sheets of foam core to contrast the colors of the album covers. Cut the foam core into 13-inch squares. This is just a little bit bigger than the standard 12.375-inch record sleeve cover.
Nail, screw, or tape the foam core squares onto the wall where you want the covers to go. Tape or glue each cover to one of the foam core squares, leaving a border around the edges.
Last Thoughts on Using Covers for Wall Art
Artists used to put a lot of work into the design of record covers. As most people primarily listen to MP3s and streaming services, you don’t see a lot of album art.
Digging up some old records and using the covers for wall art is a great way to show off the unique photographs and designs.
Remember that some of the tips discussed may damage the covers. If you want to avoid creasing or denting a prized album cover, use the display frames. You can safely showcase your favorite albums without risk of damage.
If you don’t care about preserving the cover, the rest of the suggestions are inexpensive, quick, and easy. You simply need to decide on the layout, and then tape, nail, or screw the covers in place.