Monday, January 09, 2012

Bottle Caps, Bottle Caps and more Bottle Caps!

Aloha!  Think this will be a long post since I have so many pictures to share.  Maybe that will make up for not posting in so long :)  Lots has been going on but somehow I don't seem to ever sit down to share things with you...sorry about that!

I've been making several jewelry pieces but for now I want to share a combination of my two favorite obsessions.... my little grandson, Sammy and Bottle Caps.  Last summer (check out the earlier posts) I had fun making some Sammy jewelry using Samuel Adams bottle caps.  Since DH and I don't drink beer, I was having a hard time finding friends to drink enough Samuel Adams beer to have bottle caps to play with.  After confessing I had poured some down the drain to get the caps, friends have been making sure I have enough  to play with without ever letting that happen again!!

I find them at my front door....

(mahalo Rita!)

I find them on my lanai....

(mahalo Mary!)

and friends have hit up bars.....

(mahalo Bruce and Dave!)

and of course have my Art Charm Buddies sending me ones in the mail  (mahalo nui loa!)

So now I have the bag above and....

this nice, big jar of caps to play with--Woohoo!  Have quite a collection of different kinds of caps now.  I've been putting them to good use too.  Some, I domed then soldered together and some I left flat, added photos, sealed them in resin. I also tried a new technique I found in the Nov. Cloth, Paper, Scissor magazine on a few where they are domed and covered with rice paper.  They're pretty cool too.

 My favorites are the ones with Sammy photos of course!

And here are some of the things I made with them....

A bracelet and earrings for me and a set for Sammy's Mom, Keely.

And a necklace & earring set for someone special in Sammy's life - you know who you are :)

Have more bracelets and necklaces in the works for other special people in Sammy's life too.  So fun!  Thinking I'll try making some key chains or something along that line... Dads and Papas need Sammy things too :)

So...thought I give you a couple of pointers in case you'd like to try making some bottle cap goodies for yourself.  The first bottle cap balls I made were a bit smaller.  I cut the ruffly part off with tin snips before I domed them with the dapping block. If you are using tin snips, please, please, please, be careful!  I got so many cuts from those sharp edges!  You could probably use a metal punch set but it would have to be a really strong one to cut that thick metal. Here is a pic of the dapping block in case you're wondering what the heck that is!

It's a clever little gadget usually made out of steel with several sizes of concave half circles.  Using a hammer, steel punches of corresponding sizes are used to form a flat piece of metal into curved shapes. On those first ones, I started with the largest half circle and worked my way down until I had it domed to the size I wanted.  Took forever!  Later found that you don't really need to start out larger--just go with the size you want and go slowly.  I tried some without trimming off the ruffle and think I like those better.  Just so plump and fun!  Next I held the two halves together and sealed the edge with copper foil tape and soldered them together just like you do when you're making a Stained Glass piece. (Always use solder that does not contain lead when you're using it in jewelry or anything that would touch your skin).  Be sure to burnish the foil well to the metal.

I found a great tutorial on YouTube (sorry, I couldn't re-find it to give credit to the right person) on how to remove those pesky plastic liners from the inside the caps.  She used a little hot plate like you use for keeping your cup of coffee warm at your desk and set the caps on for a few seconds each. For the ones she was doing, she left one cap on the warmer for 7 seconds and another brand for 9 seconds.  Can't remember which ones she was using, they weren't ones I have in my stash, but I was surprised different ones took different times.  Sure enough, each cap brand behaves a bit differently.  One Hawaiian brand beer cap just kind of melted away, some just popped off easily, and others took a bit of tugging. Instead of using a coffee cup warmer (since I don't have one!) I used the heating plate of our coffee maker.  I just put several caps down on the warming plate instead of doing them one at a time. Picked the cap with pliers after it heated up and grabbed the liner with a needle tool and lifted it off.  The caps do get hot so don't grab them with you fingers! Got those liners off in no time!!

Hope this inspires you to up-cycle some bottle caps!