Upcycle Progress: Bottle Caps

After considering the different ideas that I had for my bottle cap project, I decided to go with creating a bottle out of bottle caps. Once again, thanks to Ben Chang for the idea!

Now that I had my idea, I needed to figure out how I would bring it into being. Generally, I had the plan of using hot glue to hold all the bottle caps together in the desired shape. But what exactly was the desired shape? “Bottle-shaped” isn’t exactly a clear cut constraint, as there are many types of bottles and many different stylistic choices that can be made. I decided that measuring a fairly standard beer bottle to use as a basis was a good first step.

One thing I will need to be considerate of as I move into the production phase of the project is the fact that these dimensions may need to be scaled up in order to accommodate the shape and size of the individual bottlecaps. Especially in the neck area, where the diameter is less than 2 inches, it may be difficult to keep the exact size. If one area needs to be scaled up, then the entire design will need to be scaled up, otherwise it will start to look wrong. This will take a good bit of planning and possible practice runs. Luckily, I have enough bottle caps to feel comfortable having to make one or two practice designs without running out of materials (thank you to Miles Radakovitz for donating bottle caps to my project).

I am excited to make this project a reality and show it off in class this week!

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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Lehr
    April 21, 2020 3:16 pm


    I love this! I remember you saying that you wanted to make a larger version of this one day possibly, but I would say that as far as this went I think you had made good progress!

  • Hi Mary! The idea is pretty awesome! I agree that you should up the scale in order to make it more feasible. How do you plan to achieve the curvature? Would you use a hammer to flatten or round the caps? I have a feeling the added challenge of not having a bottle or container to mold your caps around would make it a bit more difficult but I do look forward to the end result 🙂

    • I did end up scaling up the size of the bottle to accommodate the size of the bottlecaps. It ended up working out a lot better than if I had tried to force the caps into the shape and size of the original bottle. I hadn’t planned on flattening or rounding the caps, instead trying to keep them as close to how they came off the bottle and accepting the somewhat rough edges. For the curvature between the body and the neck of the bottle, I think that will mostly come from leaning the caps. So it wont be so much a “curve”, but still an angle.

  • Hailee Pritchard
    February 9, 2020 10:10 pm

    Hey Mary, I think this is a really cool project and so perfect for this assignment! I had a similar thought as Ben commented, but if you could find a way to maybe have a solid wood base and then use the wires to make the shape of the bottle it would be easier to attach the bottle caps from there! You could even make a paper bottle figure and attache all of the bottle caps so they maintain a shape, and then remove the paper in the end. Good luck, I’m excited to see how this turns out!!

    • I wasn’t able to create a base in time to finish the project, but I think it really would have helped out. It was very difficult to keep the bottle caps in place while gluing them together. A base, and some sort of internal frame, would have really made a difference in the overall process.

  • Benjamin Chang
    February 9, 2020 4:59 pm

    Hey Mary I think you are making cool progress and I hope everything is running smoothly. Trying to think about how your caps will emulate the bottle shape is tricky. Im not sure how you are planning on doing it, would you possibly consider a inside frame of some sort? My immediate thought would be a wire/glue mix on the inside so you can easily keep it together, and assemble it in sections. If you make a grid wire frame you can later bend it into a cylinder, plus you can leave extra at the top to taper down for the neck. I don’t if this will work or is useful but this is comes to mind. Again, thanks for keeping the hype going, hope the bottle turns out!

    • Although I didn’t end up using a frame (purely due to time and lack of immediately available materials) I definitely would if I were to redo this. Gluing all the caps together wound up being a huge pain in the butt, and I wasn’t able to maintain a perfect shape throughout the entire body.


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