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Mar 18

Bottlecaps First Group

Whenever I want to do a small project that doesn’t involve a lot of thought and preparation, I make some of these bottlecap magnets. I bought a special hole-punch which cuts circles of exactly 1″ in diameter, which makes this project go even faster.

First I get about 24 ¬†bottlecaps, throwing out any that are bent or warped. The glue adheres better to the ones that aren’t twist-off (which have a rubbery gasket printed inside them) but the twist-off ones are usually smoother.*

I use the paper-cutter to make circles out of art paper I have. Sometimes I’ve used scraps from collaged book covers I’ve made. Usually I use scrapbooking paper. I think a clear image in the background can really make the magnet look great. I use white glue to paste the paper into the bottlecap.

After the glue has dried, I assemble small findings to put into the bottlecaps. This is the hardest part, as I can’t find my buttons and am constantly struggling to find a nice creative array of disparate interesting things that are also tiny enough to fit.

When I’ve placed the pieces into the bottlecaps, I mix the resin. If you try this at home, don’t ignore the directions included in the resin. ¬†They are very picky, and very necessary. I ruined a lot of resin before I figured out how much it matters to measure accurately and mix twice, then mix again with clean utensils.

Because the resin is a chemical reaction, not like drying, and the mass of the resin in the bottlecaps is so minute, it takes a good 24 hours to cure, more to be certain. I use nyquil measuring cups, 30 ml of each half of the mixture, and 60 ml will do about 28 bottlecaps, but I like to do 24 instead, just to be on the safe side.

I think I estimated that it cost me about 26 cents each bottlecap, for the magnet and the resin. That’s not including the paper or the epoxy or the things that go in it, or of course, my time.

A friend suggested I sell them, and said that they should sell for 50 cents each. This pretty much means that if I sold them myself, I’d be making less than a quarter for each one, and if I sold them at a shop, I’d be basically donating my paper and my ephemera and my time. I think they’re worth much more than 50 cents each, but I doubt the market would agree.

So, I don’t sell them. I keep them on the fridge and give them to people as small hostess gifts, etc. Later I’ll post images of the boxes I make to package them in.

*I say “usually” because I use a bottle-opener even on twist-offs half the time. My hands are small and sensitive, and I hate getting my palm cut on the ridges of metal.

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