Monday, 8 November 2010

Recycled Bottlecap Embellishments {Altered Element}

This is my first post as part of the new Altered Element Design Team, so I've been keen to work on something that's versatile and can be used in many different types of projects. Whether you're a seasoned crafter or a beginner, you'll be able to use these cute embellishments in your jewellery, interiors or scrapbooking projects - and as a bonus they're made from stuff that most people throw away.

Bottlecap Embellishments

What You'll Need:

Glossy Accents - A versatile 3D clear, gloss medium that you can use for lots of things. There's also a Matte, Sepia and Crackle version - so good!
Cord - I actually used a lovely Leather Cording, but I think these pretty Metallic Cords would be perfect with winter colours.
Bottlecaps - If you're not a big drinker, fear not. Ask friends or relatives to collect them for you or head down to your local bar, ask nicely and flutter eyelashes. Works for me!
Spray Paint - I used Plastikote Project Paint in matt white and bronze, but if you'll be sticking your embellishments down instead of hanging them, you can skip this.
A Selection Of Bits & Pieces - I used punched paper circles, buttons, small seashells and beads in my embellishments. These Alpha Beads and Spangles & Trinkets would also be excellent and are on my wishlist for next time I make these!
Hammer & Screw - Optional for adding a hole to hang your embellishment.

1. Before The Beautifying - You might like to clean up your bottlecaps by boiling them for a few minutes to get rid of any residual beer stains and tarnish. If you want to remove the small plastic inner, boiling will also help to loosen it up, but be careful trying to take it out while it's hot. We'll be covering this up anyway, so there's no real need to try this unless you're one of those people who like things to be as perfect as possible.

Before The Beautifying

2. Painting - I used Plastikote Project Paint to re-colour my bottlecaps. Just lay your bottlecaps face up on a sheet of newspaper and, with the spray about a foot away, lightly mist over your bottlecaps. A couple of light coats if better than one heavy, clumpy one.

Newly Painted

3. Adding A Hole For Hanging - If you'd like to add a small hole to your bottlecaps so that you can use them as ornaments or jewellery charms, it's pretty easy to do. Grab yourself a screw and a hammer. Hold the screw at the edge of your bottlecap, hit it really hard a few times with the hammer and voila. (Using a screw instead of a nail might seem counter-intuitive but I find that they don't bend and are, therefore easier to use!)

Adding A Hole For Hanging

4. Creating A Collage - I like to line the base of my bottlecaps with a punched paper circle. (If you haven't got a punch for this, just draw around the base of your bottlecap and cut out - or use beads and spangles to cover the base instead.) Layer up your collage using additional punches, stickers, sparkles and beads - sticking them down with a little dot of Glossy Accents to keep them in place.


4. Using The Glossy Accents - Don't shake the bottle - this will add bubbles. Just turn your bottle upside down really quickly, then squeeze onto a piece of scrap paper. Start adding to your bottlecap around the outside and then around the edges of your accents, then fill in the remaining space. Try to make sure that the hole for hanging is clear, but don't worry too much - it's easy to bang in another through the Glossy Accents.

Using Glossy Accents

5. Leave To Set - Your Glossy Accents will look less than glossy at first, but leave them to dry overnight (somewhere level) and by morning they'll dry to a hard, clear and glossy finish.

Hearts - At The Setting Stage

6. Hanging Your Charms - Use your screw to ensure that your hanging hole is free of Glossy Accents (just wiggle it about a bit - technical term) and then thread through some leather cording, knot and hang.

Bottlecap Embellishment Charms

I'm planning on adding these embellishments to my scrapbooking pages, gifts, mini-albums and jewellery - and how cute would these be on your Christmas tree? There's so many ways to make them work in your projects!

As always, if you have any questions or have a go at making some I would love you to let me know in the comments.


  1. SUch a creative use for old caps! You can add magnets to the back and put them on the fridge too. Hope you have a lovely day!

  2. Me, myself and I are happy dancing with confetti that stays on the floor for a year on your design team joyjoy. I guess I'll come visit ya! I was just thinking how kewl it would be to come a knocking on your door as a surprise. Is the mail still stupid across the pond? Is a post card or card able to get through? Happy happies.Almost forgot to say that your bottle caps are awesome!

  3. yayyy this is soo cute, thanks for it! I will try this, I think. If just I could find some gloss..... do you think nailpolish or glue would work?

  4. I like the idea of Christmas decorations - and, they would look cute as little fridge magnets.

  5. I love this idea they are a great idea for xmas decorations love them x

  6. Oh, those punched circles fit perfectly! I'm so pleased :-) These are *gorgeous* my dear, just as I knew they would be xx

  7. I love this idea! I have a pile of bottle caps I was saving for magnets, and I'll definitely be decorating the inside rather than outside now.

  8. Terrific tutorial! Great ideas. I am just the same with not finishing items I have started,

    Lucy x

  9. Very cool! I just read somewear that if you want to make sure the item you are putting in the bottle cap doesn't bleed with the thick coat you should cover it with tape first. I haven't tried this but it sounds like it would work.

  10. The Creative Muslimah - I couldn't reply directly to your e-mail, so hopefully you'll check back. A coat of clear nailvarnish might work if you apply a thin coat and leave it to dry before adding more for depth. It's possible though that glue and varnish will discolour, so I'd recommend Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze for longevity.

    Robin - I've never really noticed a 'bleed' problem when I've made things using Glossy Accents - though I have mainly stuck to using scrapbooking papers which tend to be of a better quality in that respect. There can sometimes be a bit of a problem with this when using Modge Podge, but it tends to work out okay if you apply it in really thin coats. :)

  11. Love this idea, very good use of bottle tops

  12. They're gorgeous! What a fun project, thanks so much for adding it to the One Pretty Thing Flickr pool! I'll be linking.

  13. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I've been wanting to learn for a year now. !rock!

  14. They are just lovely ! I was going to make some thing similar myself as I have a bag of new caps that I brought when making ginger beer in glass bottles .but as I don't make it in glass bottles anymore too dangerous some exploded. I can use the caps. I made magnet faces which are so cute on my blog please feel free to drop by and take a look under labels for recycled craft list.
    sherrie from Auz :)

  15. What a great idea! Can't wait to try it out.

  16. I am now following and I came here thru oneprettything :)
    I have never ever tried something like this but I really LOVE this and your tutorial is so well-written and easy follow that I guess now I'll have to try it!
    Thanks SO much!

  17. I love all the possibilities with these! I've been collecting bottle caps but couldn't decide what project to use them for. I think this is the one! Thanks for a great tutorial.

  18. This is an amazing idea! After looking at this page i've just been hit with loads of ideas to use bottle caps for! You're so creative clair :) Hollie xx


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