Upcycle Progress: Bottle Cap Art

For my upcycle project I am making an art piece or functional piece in the aesthetic of retro patriotism. I decided on this aesthetic because it includes the primary American colors of red white and blue, and most of my bottle caps are red white and blue. In preparing the materials for my project I found myself still questioning the direction my project will take. I began preparing my materials by laying out and color coding my entire bottle cap collection.

[1] Bottle caps laid out and color coded

From my initial preparation of the bottle caps, quickly realized the number of white bottle caps severely outnumbered any other color. In order to get the proper ratio for a full American flag design I wanted, I would have to go to a local bar and acquire more red and blue bottle caps. The next preparation step I did was find suitable bases to glue the bottle caps onto.

[2] Plastic trash can and scrap wood from my house

The trash can is for a design idea I had where I would glue the bottle caps in an American flag pattern, however this design would rely on me to acquire a lot more red and blue bottle caps. The scrap wood on the right could be used for a base plate for some sort of sculpture. When I first laid out the bottle cap collection and realized I had too many white bottle caps, my first thought was to create an astronaut sculpture out of the white bottle caps, and use the small amount of blue and red caps for a flag the astronaut is holding.

[3] Bottle cap astronaut preliminary sketch

Here I have initially sketched out what the astronaut sculpture would look like, with the circular wooden baseplate, and bottle cap structure. The design will utilize folded bottle caps for the limbs and stacked caps for the torso. I figured that the astronaut design will fit in well with my aesthetic of retro patriotism, because nothing brought the country together more than the moon landing. This sculpture will depict one of the moon landing astronauts, either Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin, holding a flag on the moon. This American history event is a great example of vintage patriotism, because while they landed on the moon, the entire country watched in unison and cheered them on.

[4] Astronaut holding American flag on the moon

[5] Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

Above are some inspiration pictures for the bottle cap astronaut design. The fact that the white bottle caps have little bits of red and blue coloring on them helps the retro patriotism aesthetic as well, contributing to the red, white, and blue color palate. I am narrowing in on the astronaut design because I would rather complete the project with just the materials that I have, rather than going out to get more bottle caps. This choice narrows my project down to the astronaut design, which I think will tie into the retro patriotism aesthetic very nicely, as the time of the moon landing was a time for national pride. I am excited to begin fabrication and see how my project ultimately turns out.


[4] https://imgc.allpostersimages.com/img/posters/astronaut-with-flag-on-moon_u-L-Q1IBTZR0.jpg?artPerspective=n

[5] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Apollo-11



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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I really like how you collected bottle caps of varying colors so you can keep the original look of the bottle caps and incorporate them into your sculpture. In your preliminary sketch, I am curious which bottle cap will be which color.

    • Hi Helen, thank you for reading my post. In the preliminary sketch, all of the bottle caps comprising the astronaut are white, and the bottle caps in the flag will be mostly red and blue.


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