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What 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. Olé !