Upcycle Inspiration: Bottle Caps

Coming into this class, I already knew that one of the first major assignments revolved around upcycling and reusing materials that we had readily available around us. So it was no question in my mind that I could create something with the bottle caps that I had been saving for quite a while. I had over 100 of them, saved for no particular purpose, simply because I thought they were neat and that an opportunity might come along at some point where they would be useful. But even with a material in mind, I had no real game plan for what kind of project I wanted to tackle. Should I go for a functional upcycling project, or something purely artistic? Should there be a statement in my work, or is creating something that looks good enough for me?

These were all the questions that I kept in mind as I looked around for inspiration. At first, I turned to Google. A quick search for “upcycle bottle caps” turns up with a seemingly endless list of possible projects. Some of the most popular options include jewelry and artistic murals. A few of these examples are provided below for reference.

Image Source: https://recyclenation.com/2015/07/13-creative-bottle-cap-upcycles/

Image Source: https://www.fiskars.com/en-us/crafting-and-sewing/ideas-and-how-tos/upcycling/monthly-kidart-resolution-plastic-bottle-cap-art

Another source of inspiration came from Professor Hertzberg herself, during one of our brainstorming sessions in class. She recommended making clothing out of the bottle caps. This would be a unique project, and one that would be functional and aesthetic.

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/51932201939215521/?lp=true

However, I think the best bit of inspiration was from fellow student, Ben Chang. After class, while looking through the available materials in the studio next door, he recommended that I use the bottle caps to mimic the shape of a bottle itself. Not only would this be a unique project, it would also be quirky in the statement that people took from it.

After searching through all the different avenues for inspiration, I think my plan moving forward would be to follow Ben’s advice, or to create a purely artistic piece.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I like the idea of using bottle caps for the upcycle project, those things are everywhere and can make some incredible pieces of art! I also like the irony in making them into a bottle themselves, do you plan on making it a 3 dimensional bottle or flat like the butterfly example? Either way I think its a cool idea!

    • My idea for the bottle is to make it three dimensional. I feel that it will have more of an impact if it is 3D versus 2D, and will also present unique challenges that I will have to overcome, such as shaping the bottle caps in order to achieve the proper curvature.

  • Benjamin Chang
    February 2, 2020 11:27 am

    Hey Mary, thank you for taking up my idea on utilizing bottle caps, I didn’t see that till the end (lol). I think giving bottle caps a new form really shows you how arbitrary many things are. Things are often given a single purpose because of its specified shape, such as a bottle cap. However, after the cap is used it no longer retains a purpose beyond being waste. If you can take the object as just a shape, it can yield more potential and suddenly regain new purpose. Given you have 100 bottle caps, consider how much total space that can take up, then you can begin thinking on what forms generally take up that space. Another thing to consider aside from space, can the bottle caps be shaped beyond being flat on something, can they be manipulated in any ways? I am excited to see how you spin your bottle caps, I hope you have fun discovering something unique and something you are in interested in. Have Fun!

    • I agree that I will need to consider how much space 100 bottle caps can take up. I might be able to create a very large bottle, or perhaps multiple bottles! I also will definitely need to play around with manipulating the bottle caps, either pressing them flat or bending them, in order to achieve the proper curvature that a bottle has. I am excited to discover what my bottles caps can be turned into!


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