Okay, so Gerrijo mentioned some interest in the record bowls, and I just did a ton of them this morning so I'm going to share what I learned.
I started with a guide I found here: http://www.readymademag.com/feature_1_newspin.php
but I tweaked it a little bit and I'll explain why.
What we noticed with that recipe is that the ridges melted off the records and the sides ended up totally smooth. We figured that was either due to the heat or the oil. So to preserve the ridges we greased the cookie sheet ever so slightly, not the record itself. Then I turned the heat down to 300 degrees. That produced a cute ripple effect along the edges of the reocrd as you can see here:
(we're thinking about turning this one into a picture frame)
But at that heat the records didn't mold very well, so I ended up leaving the records in for an extra 15 seconds (that's 1 minute 45 seconds total) and it was PERFECT! Also, instead of doing all of the molding freehand, I used a bowl and molded the record upside down as you can see here:
It took quite a bit of guess work to find the bowl that suited my purposes. It's also REALLY easy to overwork the records and get wobbly sides. I found that just pinching the ripples into it once or twice did the trick. I'm also a big fan of the six-ripple effect. I tried a bunch with four and five, but there's something about the bowls with six ripples. They just look perfect to me.
And finally, if you're wondering what would happen if you left a record in the oven for WAY too long....
I wore old leather gloves because I'm a major wimp about hot things, and they worked like a charm. Here are some of my bowls drying...
A lot of them aren't keepers, but I learned a lot and I think my mom wants one of the junky ones to remember how much fun we had today. (I even started a fire once!) Plus records are ridiculously cheap at Goodwill, so I'm going to get a few more and try again.