Heres how I did it, in full Technicolor details
Phase I - Painting
It may seem counterintuitive, but you want to paint the bowls BEFORE you melt them. Painting after is a huge pain, and actually, your oven will help the paint become a bit more durable. I used spray paint for all painting involved.
Create a good work environment (or an average one, as pictured)
I suggest you put a basecoat of white or black before you start (depending on the effect your going for - which will be described later.
For this record I did my next coat in red, while the white coat was still damp:
Using the paintbrush and the end of the paintbrush, make a few designs.
If you're happy with it, go ahead and take a break, allow a few hours for your record to dry. If you'd like to continue, thats ok too. I added a coat of faux hammered metallic spraypaint to mine, and continued with some designs:
Allow ample time for your record to dry. Preferrably indoors where it's not too cold or too damp (otherwise you'll be waiting a week for it to be dry enough to melt) These took about two days to fully dry.
When dry enough I painted the back of each a solid color. For these records this will be the inside. You can add layers as you did on the otherside if you choose. I mostly went with solid because I didn't feel like waiting on the dry time for anything more complicated
Phase 2 - Melting
You need some sort of small bowl that is oven proof so you can see the record droop. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Time will vary depending on the thickness of the record. If you're going to do this, insure you can see into your oven (you'll have to clean the window, I know, it sucks), and watch for the "droop"
Now, the process of taking it out (it shouldn't be too hot to touch) must be quick. I used a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray to mold my records from:
You'll have a few seconds to pull on the sides and mold it a bit more to your liking, but it will set pretty quickly. The good thing is you can remelt if absolutely necessary, but in my experience it gets more and more difficult to mold after every remelt.
So now you have a nice bowl:
Yay! You could stop here if you like, but why? We have more awesomeness to perform
Phase III - Mod Podge!
First, find an image you like from a magazine. You can use other media, but I've found the texture and retention of ink that magazines have works best. First coat the entire bowl in mod podge. It will take a while to dry the first time, but it makes for a more smooth look overall when you decide to add your clipping.
I chose this little guy for this bowl:
My bowl was dry, so I added a little more mod podge for him to stick to, stuck him down, and painted over him with the same stuff.
I added one to the other bowl as well, but as you can see towards the center, it had a bit of an accident:
To wrap up I suggest a few more coats of Mod Podge. I'm considering varnishing them with polyurethane to finish them off, and plug the hole.
Here are my fabulous glamor pics: