Bottle cap folk art project

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Bottle caps around a circular mirror on yellow wallWhat do you do when your husband drinks a lot of beer? A LOT of beer (ok, and you too.) You get crafty! The above 2′ x 1′ ft box of beer bottle caps sits in our garage, right next to the fridge, right under the bottle opener. As it filled for the first time (at a pretty rapid rate) I noticed how pretty they really were in numbers, all the different colors and logos. Being the crafty bugger I am, I just knew there was something we could do with them…

After a squashed plan of tiling my husband’s studio ceiling with them, a perfect project occurred to me; Mexican folk art. Though I’m not Mexican so it’s really more an homage to Mexican folk art. But take a spin around the lovely Milagros Gallery of Sonoma and you can see what I mean. Folk art from Mexico is often used in festivals and religious ceremonies (beer drinking is rather ceremonious), is most commonly brightly colored and often uses metal (check and check!) And I knew we had a fair share of Dos Esquis and Negro Modelo caps in the box so there was a touch of authenticity.

We had volume so I wanted a big piece. I found a 28 inch round mirror at a yard sale for $3, gave it a coat of chartreuse green paint we had left over from our very cheery guest bathroom remodel, and was ready to go….

Being the anal nightmare that I am, I was planning on arranging all of the caps on the mirror first then gluing them on. I started carefully picking through the box, laying them out 1 by 1 by 1…my husband saw me start and quickly took over. “That’s going to take forever!” He grabbed his nail gun and just started punching away. I actually had to leave, the haphazardness of it nearly made me pass out.

But as you can see, it worked out just fine. This mirror hangs in my laundry room/office, which has a bright palette with lots of actual authentic Mexican folk art. And the project was easy and inexpensive (except of course for the approximately 40 six packs that give us the caps. But they were going to be drank regardless, so they don’t count!)

Here’s some tips if you’d like to try this out yourself:

  • Start saving bottle caps! You’ll be surprised how quickly they add up. If your family doesn’t use a lot of bottles, ask a bartender friend or anyone who works in a restaurant. Gives them a mission to keep their mind off working!
  • Start small. This would make an adorable picture frame or a smaller mirror. Anything that you can glue to or pound a nail in is game. Once you got the hang of it, move to a larger piece.
  • Don’t have a nail gun? Epoxy will work fine too. I recommend using a small disposable paint brush to paint the glue on edges of the caps. You might want to wear plastic gloves too. Ones used for hair dye are perfect for projects like this and can be picked up at beauty supply stores.
  • If you do have a nail gun, you’re in luck! It’s faster and more fun. Just make sure to buy the right size nails. The caps themselves are about a 1/4 inch thick. You’ll want to measure the depth of the item your nailing into, then half it and add that measurement to the cap size to get your nail length. For instance, my mirror was 1 inch thick. Half of that is 1/2 inch, add the size of the caps and I know a 3/4 inch nail would be perfect. This insures the nails stick into your base but don’t go through the back.

That’s pretty much it. Colorful, clever recycling and an art project that’s really simple to do. OlĂ© !


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. Oh my Gosh Stef that is so cute! I love that the hubby took over and rocked the mic! look how good that looks!
    Great idea!

  2. This mirror looks great online and in person! Thanks Stef for giving us a cute, fun and cheap art project. Better start drinking more beer…

  3. Very cute! I have a ton of bottle caps that I usually recycle A few times a year. Maybe I can get my creative juices flowing. My husband drinks a ton of we have poker night once a week at our house. I swear the men on the recycle truck must think we are alcoholics. Another idea if you are a wine drinker is to save your corks. My friend used the corks to cover a small wall in her house. It was very neat looking. She put them in a pattern going two horizontal and then two vertical. She had a small wet bar in her house, so it went along with the theme of the room.

  4. What a creative way to be green, not only the bottle caps but the mirror from a yard sale as well. This looks really great. I also am loving the old school desk!

  5. You make a mother proud over and over again. And Der,
    way to pitch in man!

  6. Thanks Mom! (I pay her to say that)

    And Susan, thank for noticing my desk! That’s going to be another upcoming how to project…

  7. What a great idea!!! & I love the color of your wall! =)
    Can’t wait to read your desk project!!

  8. What a great idea! I appreciate that even the non-skilled artist can do this craft project. I love this type of stuff but kind of suck at artsy things. I can totally do this one – thanks!

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