The first part of this article series (type 5 plastic bottle caps re-used) outlines the problem many eco-conscious individuals encounter when they attempt to recycle plastic bottles and caps: not all recycling centers are equipped to handle the type 5 plastic caps, which means they end up in landfills or as litter.
The same problem exists for glass bottles and their metal, twist-off caps. Even though glass has been a widely accepted and easily recycled material for a long time now, many recycling facilities won't accept their metal caps; usually because they jam the processing equipment. So, like plastic bottle caps, they end up lining street curbs, running into storm drains, and flowing into our rivers and streams.
You can reduce the accumulation of metal bottle caps by buying in bulk and ordering fountain soda or draft beer at bars and restaurants, or you can put them to use in a variety of creative and useful ways.
REPURPOSING METAL BOTTLE CAPS
- Magnets & Thumbtacks: A suggestion we already listed in our plastic bottle cap article was to make them into refrigerator magnets. But you can also make metal, twist-off caps into magnets or thumbtacks. Just insert a small photo into the cap, pour in a clear resin for a glossy finish, and attach a magnet or thumbtack to the back with contact cement. Martha Stewart's website includes a how-to video along with detailed written instructions and a supply list. (photo: MarthaStewart.com)
- Trivets: Protect counters and tables from hot pots and pans with a trivet made from bottle caps. Just glue several caps together in any design or pattern you please. If you're feeling extra creative, you could even crochet individual covers for each cap before connecting them.
- Decorate Picture Frames & Mirrors: Liven up the boring design of that picture frame or mirror by gluing your collection of bottle caps around the edge.
- Decorate Tabletops: Why not take the bottle cap décor one step further and cover your coffee or patio table with them? Use a mixture of clear resin and superglue to hold the caps in place and you've got yourself a unique, maybe even a commemorative, table design your friends will love.
- Wall Art: Out of ideas for how to decorate your game room, den, or bar area? Why not glue the bottle caps from your favorite drinks onto canvas or a wooden board. Put them in a circle, square, or mosaic pattern with varied colors and designs for aesthetic appeal.
- Window & Door Art: Drill 2 holes in each cap, loop fishing line through them, then hang the chain up in front of your window. Or for retro, repurposed door beads, secure a few eyehooks into a doorframe and loop several bottle cap chains through the hooks.
- Lockets: KinderArt.com has detailed instructions for a classroom or at-home project where kids create a locket for their parents or friends using two metal bottle caps and various other craft supplies.
- Jewelry: If you've ever wanted a charm bracelet or pendant make from bottle caps (and why wouldn't you?), visit the DIY Network webpage for instructions and a supply list. Additional designs and instructions can easily be found with a quick web search. (photo: DIY Network)
- Belts: Make a belt out of metal bottle caps using a small drill, pliers, wire or metal links, and a buckle or clasp. After you measure your waist and calculate how many caps you'll need, drill 2 holes through the edges of each cap; the holes should be directly across from each other. Connect the bottle caps with the metal links or strong wire, using a pair of pliers to tighten and secure them. Attach an extra metal link or wire on one end and a belt buckle or small clasp to the other, and you've got yourself a fun and creative fashion accessory! If you want to attach bottle caps to embellish an existing belt, visit eHow.com for detailed instructions.
- Scrapbook Decorations: Use a hammer to flatten bottle caps, and then paste them onto scrapbook pages to commemorate events or to add unique embellishments.
- Pins: Hot-glue safety pins to the backs of bottle caps and attach them to messenger bags, jackets, belts, purses, luggage, or anything else you can think of.
- Mud Scrapers: Nail bottle caps (side-by-side, fluted side up) to a piece of wood and use it to clean mud from boots and shoes. Just hose it off after each use.
- Buttons: Take a hammer and flatten a bottle cap, drill 4 small holes in the center, and paint it a bright color. Look familiar? You might not want to sew one of these buttons on your sweater, but they'd look great in a scrapbook, glued to a picture frame, or made into fridge magnets.