Upcycling final project: Plastic bottle caps & Polka dots

It’s just hard to upload pictures onto this site, so you can check them out at :https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nfvkl7p3Ltj-a_64PLm_OcqbC4G3kT0u

Original Sketch&thought: I started out with quite a lot of ideas for this upcycling project. But after I talked with one of my teacher from another class, I decided to focus on using plastic bottle caps for this project. Since bottle caps comes in consistent sizes and seem to be easy to manipulate with.


I got plastic caps from the recycling facility on campus. They generously provided me with around 1000 caps. After receiving the caps, I soaked them into hydrogen peroxide solution for disinfection. After they are cleaned, they are left onto cardboard for drying. I bagan with making different shaped out of just caps, but then I realized that my skill of assembling bottle caps into recognizable “image” is pretty weak. So I switched to the method of using acrylic paint to create a base picture for the caps to lay onto on the cardboard. And then the bottle caps are “glued” the cardboard using silicone caulk.

What I learned:

Silicone caulk takes time to cure, and they seems to be releasing a harmful chemical during the curation. So I guess next time, if I were to do another project out of plastic and cardboard, I’ll opt for the regular solution of using hot glue.

Another challenge that I found during the process is that those caps are pretty hard to clean. With a great amount of plastic caps presenting, I used 5 bottles of hydrogen peroxide and got only a portion of it barely cleaned. Next time, if I were to clean other recycled material, I’ll probably use distilled bleach, for they are cheaper and comes with bigger quantity.

Also, it’s actually pretty hard to work with plastic caps, for they don’t have a lot of surface area by itself. For creating some effects, there must be a lot of them. They don’t stick to paint well, at least not with acrylic paint that I have. They are pretty settled on its size, it’s very challenging to alter the shape of a plastic cap, they came in pretty consistent sizes, which I thought to be an advantage, but it turns out that sizes of the plastic caps comes the way it is, and you have to work with it. Unlike softer platter materials like cardboard, there is little room for change. With those being said, it is challenging to deal with the gaps that two caps form in between one another. People might potentially take that as aesthetic design if they are spacing widely, but if those caps are arranged to be placed closely to represent an image. It is hard.

Oh, another thing, if anyone needs plastic caps, feel free to contact me. I probably still have a couple of hundreds left, and I’m happy to give those away!


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