Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bottle Cap Tray


*Edited 1/5/13* 
Hello everyone! First of all, I am glad so many people have enjoyed this project. When I did it and wrote the tutorial over 2 years ago, I never thought it would be my number 1 hit project to date. A lot of you have asked questions here in the comments and emailed me with particular unforeseen problems and I have tried my best to come up with solutions and ideas to remedy these problems. And a lot of you have had success, even using other things than bottlecaps, which is great! 
If you plan to do this project, be aware that it is not a thrifty project...however it can be....bottle caps are are recycled, trays can be found on sale....but the acrylic water, while not super expensive, is not exactly cheap. I have explained the process in the manner that I did it back then and I still use the tray to this day for exactly what I made it for. I have spilled coffee on it, sugar, made a mess on the tray and wiped it clean with a wet towel. What seems to be the biggest issues are that the acrylic is not hardening like mine did. I can not explain the reason behind it, other than the companies have changed their formula??? I do not know...my remedy for that is to spray a couple of layers of polyurethane sealer on it, that should get rid of the tackiness. So don't give up, don't throw in the towel, there is a solution for every problem...even in this craft project. Read through the comments, email me, I will help you as much as I can.



I like using trays for various tasks around the house and was on the look out for one to keep my coffee station area nice and tidy. Enter Hobby Lobby. HL is known for it's deep discounts and that is where I found the most hideous pink glittered tray I have ever seen. (Vase is from Goodwill, it got painted too....) It was under three dollars and I could only hope that primer would cover up that glitter-gone-wrong! Thankfully it did! I primed and painted it glossy white
Don't ask me how I thought of using bottlecaps in the bottom of it...I really don't know, I just wanted something fun and funky. I spray painted a whole bunch of them in my three favorite summertime colors, Blue Ocean Breeze, Ivy Leaf and Pumpkin Orange, and some white, all from Krylon. It actually took some time to collect this many caps, I wanted to do this earlier in the summer, it just took a while! Just a word of caution if decide to try this project, make sure the handles are high enough, giving you plenty of room to contain the fluid and whatever you are submerging. At least half inch clearance.
I started laying the caps in and played around with the pattern until I was happy. The staggered pattern really worked with not too much wasted space (it wasn't a perfect fit).


Next, I used what is called acrylic water to pour over the caps. Now this 2 part epoxy is sold at HL and Michael's, but I found it the cheapest at Walmart, in their Floral Dept. I followed the directions, mixing the compounds and poured it on. It's self-leveling, which is great! The tough part was waiting the 48 hours, because it cannot be disturbed at all, and my house is full of disturbances!!! :) Luckily, the acrylic hardened without any incidents, and was ready for use!



It turned out really cute and retro funky, just what I wanted!! It will keep my coffee messes contained!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're inspired! I bet a lot of different things could be "captured" under the acrylic! Pictures or buttons, anything!
*Edited*

I've had some questions about some of the caps floating up a little after the acrylic was poured. A few tricks I can suggest: pour very slowly and watch for floaters. Use something like a skewer or toothpick to push the cap down (not your fingers). Also, "tap" the tray a few times too on the counter to release any air bubbles. Finally, if the floater just won't settle, lift it out, let the acrylic settle into the space and then put the cap back down in the liquid. Any of these methods should work. If you should have any more questions don't hesitate to email me.

115 comments:

  1. I think this is the cutest most original idea I've seen in blogland in a while. I LOVE IT! I'm posting this on my tumblr {http://thesweetlifebydesign.tumblr.com/}

    Thanks so much for sharing the how to. where did you get all the bottle caps? we just don't have many bottles around here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. love this idea. it is so cute & retro. the colors are fab also. i am sticking this in my to do list!! thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. SUCH a cute idea.
    LOVE it :)
    And original too!
    ~Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very cute idea ~ I love the colors! It's amazing what a little spray paint can do :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is absolutely adorable! You amaze me with your creativity. I sent a friend over to see your blog, and told her you do AMAZING things over here!
    Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  6. Totally cute! I love the bottle caps! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That is one neat idea. It really is possible to learn something new everyday.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is so cool. I love what you did with that. I don't even own a bottle cap. I guess you have been saving those. Looks so good.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bravo!!! That is a totally clever and awesome idea.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is so sweet! I am totally going to copy you! Where did you get the bottle caps? Have you just been saving them? I night drive from utah to wherever you live to steal everything in your house! (Fair warning right?) And thanks so much for commenting on my blog it really means a lot to me!

    Mandi @ vintage revival

    ReplyDelete
  12. Acrylic water?? That is new to me and I LOVE the idea of using it instead of the old epoxy/resin mess I'm used to. Thanks so much for the tip. Your tray turned out so fun and colorful. I have a whole bag full of bottle caps....Hmmmmmm Thanks for the inspiration! Pam @ Sallygoodin

    ReplyDelete
  13. Excellent! Now you've got my wheels spinning. Hmmm. I'll bet back to you on that : )

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you everyone! The bottle caps are from various drinks, root beer, cream soda, and my FIL contributed a lot to my collection too!! :) It did take some time to collect as many as I needed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is awesome! I love the colors you chose for the caps...so bright and cheery!!!!

    Have a wonderful Sunday!

    LaKeta

    1luckeegirl.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is so clever! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's fabulous! I love the idea and I love the colors. I may be copying this great idea.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow, great job. The colors are perfect and the glossy goop is the perfect finishing touch.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is such a great idea! Next time I go to Hobby Lobby, I'm looking for a tray!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I loooooooooove it!!!!!!!!! I'm so happy I found your blog! You have GREAT ideas!!! Now, if I could just find some time .... :) Cheers, Erin

    ReplyDelete
  21. CAN I SCREAM....... "ADORABLE!!!!" love this so much, and the colors too. SO CREATIVE! thanks for linking, Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love it! Very creative! The colors are perfect!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wish my brain worked like yours...I would never think of doing this. I love the colors!

    ReplyDelete
  24. So cute, love the colors, so creative.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love what you did. It is beautiful. Also Thank you for visiting my blog and taking your time to write comment.

    ReplyDelete
  26. coming from craft o maniac...i just did a post on bottle caps too! im in love with yours!

    ReplyDelete
  27. THIS IS FANTATIC! I want this NOW!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is so creative! You are on a major roll girlfriend! LOVE.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Love the colors and the caps! I'm sure you have some super cute ideas for wrapping gifts, too! If you get a chance, stop by my Pretty Packages Party and share some of your talent! Its all week long, so pick up a button for a little reminder!
    www.blackberryvine.blogspot.com
    smiles!

    ps. I'm your newest follower!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love one-of-a-kind accessories for the home. You are so creative.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Michelle, I love this tray. The colors are simply amazing. Who would have thought bottle caps? I need to start collecting =) Fantastic job. I have featured this today. Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase Party. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is ADORABLE!! I'm putting it on my Facebook page! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Amazing & brilliant! who would have thought bottle caps could be used for this ... fantastic idea and i LOVE the colors you painted the caps!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, I love this! I have tons of bottle caps I could use for this project. I love the colors you used also. Thank you for letting us know the name sof the paint. Looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a great tray..So original,,My son-in-law make his own home brew beer and gets his bottle caps at a beer making supply store.You can also find them at some large Liquor Warehouse Stores
    Paula Gmomt3@aol.com.

    ReplyDelete
  36. How did you ever think of this? It's so terrific,love it...

    ReplyDelete
  37. What a fun idea......will have to start picking up bottle caps now :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Michelle, absolutely, positively brilliant! Original! Love it! Hopping by, by way of the Somewhat Simple linky party. Consider me your newest follower and fan! Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  39. i really love this! this may be a dumb question but how did you get the bottle caps to not be all bent on the top after removing them? my bottle opener always mangles them!

    ReplyDelete
  40. love this so much! i have been saving caps for awhile, not quite sure what to do with them. I don't think i'll spray paint mine, but so glad i ran into this idea! I didn't know the 'acrylic water' thing existed!

    ReplyDelete
  41. That's awesome! Love the colors - thanks for sharing. I think I'll have a beer now and start collecting my caps :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love this idea and will be featuring it on somewhat simple Wednesday the 11th! Thanks for linking!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Super! At first I thought they were those rocks you can buy in bags. I love it! I have an old Noritake tray (thank you, Sally Ann's) I use for my coffee stuff, but this is so fun and funky, I may have to start collecting bottle caps and play with your idea. Only problem? We don't drink anything with bottle caps like these. LOL! Maybe I'll have to buy some caps on ebay.

    ReplyDelete
  44. THAT is the cutest thing I've seen!!! I absolutely ADORE this tray!

    ReplyDelete
  45. My goodness, that's brilliant. I'm off to get my husband to drink more beer so I can have the bottle caps - wait a minute, did I just say that. Anyway I love the idea and will definitely keep it in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  46. It looks awesome! Did you glue down the caps before pouring the acrylic water over?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for this amazing idea! My husband is very much into craft beers so we have a huge assortment of bottlecaps that he's collected. I made the tray, and he got very excited about it, even helping me with the layout of the caps :)

    Only problem is... it's been sitting for 3 full days and is STICKY. I used the acrylic water I found in the floral department at Michael's, but all the stuff they had was not permanent--meaning when you get sick of the floral arrangement you made, you can pull the "water" out, melt it and start over. I thought it would be okay and went ahead with it (it sounded like what you used! 2 compounds I had to mix together, and it was self-leveling). I obviously can't use a tray that is sticky. If I touch it, the stuff stays on my fingers a little bit... any ideas? I was thinking of putting an acrylic glaze over everything, but I want to make sure it hardens! Thanks in advance!!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Emily, I didn't even know that they made non-permanent stuff!
    Based on what is happening though, I doubt it's ever going to harden.
    Are you able to get the 'acrylic water' at Walmart? I keep mentioning that because it doesn't yellow over time (so far) and I'm afraid that other two-part resins will yellow.
    Hopefully you still have enough room to do one more layer over everything with the acrylic water. I think that will work and harden over what you've used, making the tray usable. I hope it works, please let me know! It sounds like a great tray!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anon, I did not glue the caps down, however, that would certainly eliminate any little 'floaters'! :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. WOW this is gorgeous! I sent you an email with a question! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  51. @Emily, I had the same problem. I even bought the Acrylic Water from WalMart. Mine is still sticky over a week later. Any ideas on what we can do? Maybe they don't make it like they used to?? I'm so sad because it turned out just like I had wanted it to, only sticky. :(

    ReplyDelete
  52. Michelle,

    I've been having some of the same problems with the acrylic water being sticky. Did anyone figure out what to do?

    ReplyDelete
  53. I think that that the solution is to spray 2-3 coats of a polyurethane sealer. That should do the trick.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This is so cool! I have a whole bunch of bottle caps, and have just been waiting for project ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  55. This is a fantastic project! Kudos for coming up with something this striking and original. I'm going to do it, but my biggest problem is that the only bottle caps I get are from the DH's beer bottles and they tend to come off a little misshapen and dented. I shall try tapping the dents out and see how it goes. Thanks for the fabulous idea!

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm definitely going to try something like this..I'm hoping that plastic caps from milk cartons would work too :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is great!
    I found you on Tip Nut!

    Thanks,
    Margaret
    Two in the Nest

    ReplyDelete
  58. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I just did this; I am obviously still awaiting the finished product as I Just added the acrylic water, but I am nervous for the results. The tray I picked and stained myself, unfortunately, was worth what I paid for it. **Be sure to check out the tray you are buying to make sure it is put together well and that the acrylic water will not seep out along all of the edges on the bottom. This happened to me and although I had set up with caution it still seeped through, I now have it sitting outside - CROSSING FINGERS that it seeps out and dries enough to allow me to bring it back inside to set.

    ANY SUGGESTIONS?! It was my first time so I will blame "beginners luck" :) and be more apt to check out the tray I am purchasing next time!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Rachel, that is a problem! Try wiping off any excess resin and use painter's tape to tape all around the tray (on the outside) and sealing it off until it hardens. Hopefully that will work.

    ReplyDelete
  61. So THATS how they get the bottle caps under a hard surface! I must go find this stuff! I'm going to do this with beer bottle caps (I love trying micro-brews) so I should collect fairly quickly. If you do this with paper of any kind, you must seal it in first, or the resin will stain the paper. Mod Podge is a great sealer- you just need to wait for it to dry!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I just read the other comments- I wanted to add using ETI resin will not yellow with time. Also, resin does NOT like cold weather, the hotter the better (70F+) or it will be cloudy and may take a long time to harden. ETI Resin has a blog and thats where I learned all this.

    I'm still going to check for acrylic water tho to see the differences!

    ReplyDelete
  63. This is fabulous! I'm featuring it on my "Top 10 Awesome Recycled Craft Projects" today at www.cheapcraftymama.com, be sure to grab a button if you want. Also I would love for you to share this (and any other creations) at my "Pin It and Win It Wednesday" starting this evening!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Would the acrylic water work to even out other objects that aren't level like bottle caps?

    ReplyDelete
  65. I just made my own version!.. sort of.. The tray I used was wood, and the acrylic water seeped through the cracks. So I now have a fairly permanent (although, pretty looking) tray on my glass table top. :/

    Also, I poured the resin on after the caps had dried for an hour (which is what the can said) but a few of them bled. Be patient and wait until the next day. Patients is not a virtue of mine :)

    Hope my not so great luck helps anyone else that wants to try their own!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I gave this craft a try - with a little variation! I love the way it turned out! Check out my experience here: http://www.kissmysmash.blogspot.com/2012/06/fancy-caps.html

    ReplyDelete
  67. Love this tray and love the colors you chose! So perfect for summer! great job and thank so much for posting this tutorial! http://www.craftbaby.com

    ReplyDelete
  68. Made mine last night and it turned out really cute. I thought I had all the floaters contained, but a few made it through so mine isn't completely flat. Oh well, it still looks really cute.

    ReplyDelete
  69. This is super cute! What a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Such a neat idea with lots of color!!

    ReplyDelete
  71. I tried this on an old tray and used sand dollars. Wow...it took 5 containers of the acrylic water. What an expensive free idea! Be sure you mix the stuff really well. Mine looks like it has oil swirls on the top of it. I assume that I didn't mix enough. I still lie it anyway though. I put ocean blue and white stripes on the outside to make it look beachy.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I Love this tray. As you said the possibilites are endless. I work in a restaurant so the bottle caps are easy for me. My daughter is in college and thought about doing this in her school colors. I have ben looking for a tray and I finaly found one at Good Will for $1.50 so now I am ready to do this project. Thank You for the great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  73. How much acrylic water did u use for ur tray? I have the same size tray

    ReplyDelete
  74. Hi Almita,
    I used two boxes of the acrylic water...I wish I could remember how many ounces, but I can't. Next time I am at Walmart, I will look!!

    ReplyDelete
  75. I bought 2 boxes from Michaels. Each box contains 6 oz of Part A and 6 oz of Part B. hopefully it's enough! Thanks for sharing this great idea Michelle!

    ReplyDelete
  76. One more question.... When you pour the acrylic water, do you keep it in the center and expect the mix to level throughout the tray? Or do you pour it over the area of the tray?

    ReplyDelete
  77. What exactly is acrylic water? I'm having a hard time finding it. Could use your help please!

    ReplyDelete
  78. What exactly is acrylic water? I'm having a hard time finding it. Could use your help please!

    ReplyDelete
  79. What exactly is acrylic water? I'm having a hard time finding it. Could use your help please!

    ReplyDelete
  80. Acrylic water is a two part resin/epoxy mixture that dries/cures into a hard surface. It is commonly used (in my field) for flower arranging....used in clear vases (with artifical flowers) to appear water-like. It can be found at Michael's, and I found it at Walmart in their 'floral dept.' Although I'm not positive, I think you can find it at home improvement stores as well, but called something different, but still a two part mixture. Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I am getting ready to make this, as soon as I recollect bottle caps. I blogged about it and linked back to you.
    http://lipglossandflats.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  82. I've been saving beer caps for another project, and as I haven't gotten to that project, and my friends started saving theirs for me, I have quite a few. I'm going to do this tray and leave the caps unpainted. What a great tray for serving adult beverages outside by the pond. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  83. I remember my grandmother was collecting the top part of tin cans because apparently if you collect enough those you can use the material to build a wheelchair. I think it's really fun personally to collect bottle caps. I have many bottle caps from glass bottles in 80's and 90's The 80's bottle caps are usually more interesting. I noticed that your bottle caps are plain. What did the caps come from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The caps are from various sodas, but my FIL contributed a lot of Stella beer caps. I am not a drinker, so I just wanted the caps to be colorful, hence the paint job.

      Delete
  84. Dear Michelle,
    I came onto your blog fron pinterest and i really love the tray!
    I live in mauritius and i really don't know if we have the acrylic water here. Can you give me all the necessary details on the bottle for me to try to find it? Thanks a lot for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Mail: josephine@oneye.intnet.mu

    ReplyDelete
  86. Help!! I tried this thinking it would be easy but have had some issues. I found the acrylic water, after much searching, at AC Moore but it didn't harden. And when I poured it over the spray painted bottle caps the paint on some of them ran. I would really love to do this as a gift but I'm having some serious issues. Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, what kind of paint did you use on the caps? Did you let the paint cure overnight? Even when paint feels dry to the touch, it still needs to "cure".
      I did not have problems with my acrylic water, I'm thinking that the brands are making a difference (others have had that problem). I am assuming that it's tacky to the touch? If so, I suggest spraying several thin coats of a clear acrylic sealer, found with the spray paints. That should stop the tackiness.
      I hope this helps!

      Delete
  87. Great use of bottle caps. Its really amazing to see the use of these caps.

    ReplyDelete
  88. you can also get beer bottle caps from bars and restaurants that serve beer, you can ask the bartenders to save them for you..

    ReplyDelete
  89. I tried this with sea washed glass in small 4x6" trays for my daughters. Measured precisely....arranged the glass...followed directions and let it sit for 3 WEEKS...(said 24-48 hrs) and it still shows finger prints in the stuff. Wasted about $50.00 on the project and it went into the trash. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, I am sorry that you had problems with the acrylic water, I think spraying a sealer on it/them would have done the trick.

      Delete
  90. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hi! Quick question; did you pour the acrylic water just to the top of the caps or over the tops?
    Thanks!
    Cate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I poured it just over the caps...the caps are not exposed at all.

      Delete
  92. what do you think about glueing the caps down before pouring the epoxy ? What type of glue would you suggest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that should work. Hot glue should be just fine and then no floating caps would occur at all.

      Delete
  93. For those of you having trouble getting the acrylic water to harden, check out the first review of this acrylic water product on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003V4A8E0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    It sounds like the trick (or a trick) is stirring it long enough...I haven't tried it, but am about to order this product to make this bottle cap tray, and will let you all know how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  95. You can also ask your bartender at Olive Garden, Applebee's, Chile's, etc. for bottlecaps from their bins. (They are normally attached next to the top access freezers behind the bar and are emptied at the end of shift. Just a thought.....

    ReplyDelete
  96. Hi there Michele! Thanks for the adorable idea, I love it and have made my own! I am experiencing the same stickiness issue and am wondering if a spray coat of Mod Podge clear acrylic would do the trick? I noticed that online prices of polyurethane sealer look pretty expensive.. (no Walmarts by me :( ) Anyway, thanks for the advice!

    ReplyDelete
  97. Success!! After experiencing the same stickiness issues other commenters and you described, I decided to give my Mod Podge clear acrylic a try, in lieu of the polyurethane sealer (a bit too expensive and I already have Mod Podge). I tried a tiny test spot before attempting the entire tray and it WORKS!! It made the acrylic water hard and not sticky at all after only 20 minutes of drying. Thanks for this great craft and suggested solution, I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic Jen! Thank you for the tip on Mod Podge-glad that worked!

      Delete
  98. Instead of Acrylic Water, just use Envirotex Lite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeff, I looked it up and it looks like it would be a nice alternative. Here's a link online that I found some: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/

      Delete
  99. You have used the bottle caps in an amazing way. Its really rocking. :)

    buy instagram followers

    ReplyDelete

Thank You for taking the time to comment! Because of the insane amount of spam comments, I had to stop anonymous comments-sorry for the inconvenience.
Michelle