How to Make an Upcycled Bottle Cap Table!

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My husband has been saving bottle caps for as long as I’ve known him, saying that someday he planned to make something out of them. He wasn’t sure what it would be, and the bottle caps kept accumulating. Inspired by the colorful collection, I decided to turn them into a practical gift for him. And given the volume of caps, I thought it would be good to make something that used A LOT of them!

In combing through Pinterest, I found lots of bottle cap craft inspiration. The ones that used the most were tables, so that’s what I set off to make for him.

Here is a list of the items I needed to cover a 2’x3′ table:

  • 1 small table
  • Lots of bottle caps (I used 486 for a 2′ x 3′ table)
  • 1″x2″ wood strips for trim
  • 2″ wood nails
  • Wood filler
  • Aluminum foil
  • 16oz Gorilla Glue
  • 2 quarts ready-mixed grout
  • 2 quarts of pre-mixed epoxy resin
  • Sandpaper
  • Large grout sponge
  • Grout float
  • Bucket filled with warm water
  • Newspaper to catch the drips
  • A well-ventilated, minimally dusty room in which to work
  • At least 3 days to allow for curing time (in other words, don’t start this on Christmas Eve!)

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I found a sturdy, basic little table at a local thrift shop. It had a cluster of tiny princess and heart stickers stuck to the top, which I decided to just leave since I didn’t require a perfectly smooth surface.

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I started by separating the caps by color, then laying them out to see what type of pattern I could make given the colors and quantities I had. Once I figured it out, I removed the caps, placing them in cups by color.

IMG_8308In order to make the grouting and lacquering easier, I added a rim to the edge of the table by nailing on some 1″x2″s that I had cut to size.

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Because the table had rounded edges, and I am not skilled or patient enough to cut the trim to fit, there was a gap that had to be filled.

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I improvised by stuffing in some tightly wadded aluminum foil into the corner to fill in the space.

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Then I filled in all of the gaps with wood filler to prevent any grout or lacquer from seeping through. Once the wood filler was dry, I sanded it and removed any loose pieces.

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Next, I glued the caps into place starting from the outside. I used Gorilla Glue, which worked well. It provides a strong hold, but doesn’t dry instantly, so you can adjust the caps as you work. You don’t need to use a lot per cap, just a few drops. Once I had glued down all of the caps, I let it dry overnight. The instructions say it is 80% dry in 2 hours, but fully cured in 24.

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Next, I grouted the caps to give it a tiled effect. Using a grout float, I carefully worked the grout in and around the bottle caps, making sure there were no gaps. I then used the float to smooth the top to make it even and to the point where the caps were just visible. I then used the dampened sponge to wipe across the grout until the bottle caps were visible and the grout was even. It took a lot longer, and required more patience than I had anticipated! I then let it sit for 24 hours.

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Finally, I covered the entire surface with epoxy resin, making sure to fill in all gaps. I again let it sit overnight. While not perfect, I was very happy with the results!

Artist of the Month: Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle

IMG_6104The following was written by Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle.

Sprout Bottle is a handcrafted, reclaimed beer bottle, garden kit.  Each 4-pack is uniquely blended with organic soil, fertilizer and seeds and packaged with recycled materials to lighten our impact on the planet.  All of our ingredients are sourced in the US and distributed from Virginia.

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Sprout Bottle strives to provide a high quality, unique product that is sustainable and affordable. As part of our commitment to be sustainable, Sprout Bottle has partnered with 1% for the Planet.  This means that 1% of all Sprout Bottle sales goes to save land, protect forests, rivers and oceans, make agricultural and energy production more sustainable, getting toxics out of the environment, plastics out of the oceans and more.

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You can find more about Sprout Bottle on their website, Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

How to Make Gift Tags from Repurposed Cardboard

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I like to offer tea to anyone who visits my studio, so I keep a box filled with a variety of herbal and black teas. Last week,  I refilled my tea box with the two most popular flavors, which happen to be made by Tazo.

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As I broke down the boxes to put in the recycling bin, I noticed the beautiful pattern on the inside of them, and realized they would make wonderful gift tags. You can do the same with any other lightweight cardboard. Whenever I come across packaging that has an interesting pattern or a colorful solid side, I make it into tags.

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A while ago, I purchased a hole puncher designed specifically for making gift tags. While this is a super-convenient way to make them, you can also just cut out your tags freehand.

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I like the classic tag shape of this particular punch. You can find a similar one by Uchida on Amazon.

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I then used a small-sized round hole punch to create a hole for a string or ribbon.

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Finally, I threaded a 14″ piece of twine through the hole. And, voila, a lovely repurposed cardboard gift tag. I was able to make 10 tags from a single box. You can have fun experimenting with different packaging. Happy crafting!

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Team EcoEtsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction!

The details have been announced for Team EcoEtsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Silent Auction. The auction, which runs from April 19th to May 3rd, will feature t-shirt bags filled with eco-goodies that the talented Team EcoEtsy members have donated. There are six bags up for auction, each filled with over $100 worth of eco-goodies, representing the following themes: Baby, Health and Beauty, Home, Paper Goods, Fashion and Jewelry.

The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. For a full list of the items being auctioned and auction details, please visit the Team EcoEtsy website.

The auction will begin on Monday, April 19, 2010 and end on Monday, May 2, 2010. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 3, 2010.

Props to Miss Malaprop

missmalI recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by Mallory, author of Miss Malaprop, a blog dedicated to highlighting the best in “independent designers & artists, eco-friendly and sustainable products, New Orleans & Gulf Coast based businesses and issues, and people & organizations who are working to make the world a better place.”

Mallory is a writer and has also been active in helping to renew New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She is also a gifted designer, creating upcycled and reconstructed clothing. While she no longer sells her items, she is open to custom orders. For more about her designs, see the Dismantled Designs page on her website.