This tutorial will show you how to make decorative bottle cap coasters with an epoxy resin (liquid glass) coating. These make great gifts as well as beautiful home decorations especially for a bar.
Some of the images in this tutorial will be drawings as I was not able to take pictures during some parts of the process.
Step 1: Obtain Your Wood, Cut, and Router
For my coasters, I used 0.75'' thick pine boards and cut the coasters to 4.25'' by 4.25'' squares. This allows a nice wood border if you prefer and also allows you to use any 9 bottle caps of your choosing.
Once the wood is cut, use a plunge base router with a straight router bit to router out a square in which the bottle caps will reside. I routed out an area that was 0.5'' deep.
In order to determine a nice path for the router, place the caps on top of your square piece of wood and then use a pencil to trace an approximate rounded square around the caps. Set the depth of your plunge base router and then begin to remove wood from within the area you traced.
See the first image above to see how I keep the wood stationary when using the router.
Step 2: Place Caps, Adjust, and Seal the Wood
Place your desired caps into the routed area of the coaster to see how they sit. If they are not fitting nicely together, use your router to adjust the edge so as to allow all of the bottle caps to fit nicely inside.
Next, apply some type of sealer all over the freshly cut and routed coaster before doing anything else. I like to use the gloss spar varnish from ACE hardware (see above). I would suggest applying about 3 to 4 coats. Make sure the area where you routed is coated well as this will prevent the release of bubbles when you pour the epoxy resin (liquid glass).
Step 3: Level the Coaster, Pour Some Resin, and Place Caps In
Obtain some epoxy resin. I like Rust-Oleum Parks 1-qt. Gloss Super Glaze Finish and Preservative from the Home Depot (see above).
Before pouring the resin, be sure to wrap the edges of the coaster in 1 to 2 layers of masking tape. This allows you to remove excess resin before the resin completely cures.
In addition place the coasters on a small piece of wood so that they are slightly raised above the surface (See diagram above).
BE SURE that the surface is level before pouring. This allows for the formation of a smooth level surface on the top of the coaster. The resin will self level once it is poured hence the need for a level surface.
Following the directions for the epoxy resin, pour about 1/16'' or just enough that won't flood over the top of the caps. Then take your caps and place them into the freshly poured resin. Allow this to harden and then pour another coat. Make sure to pour so some drips over the edges of the coaster. Again the resin will self-level and the resin along the edges of the coaster can be removed by peeling the tape off.
It helps to use some type of spreader. I like to save old gift cards and hotel room keys. You can use these to help move the resin.
Sorry for the absence of any pictures or videos for the pouring process. I will have to take/make a vid for this part.
Step 4: Cover Your Freshly Poured Coaster (or Coasters)
Find a box or construct/use something to place over your freshly poured coasters. This will help to prevent dust from settling on top of the resin surface while it is curing. I use cardboard boxes and have not had any problems. Make sure to place a note on top of the box saying DO NOT REMOVE or DO NOT DISTURB just in case. You worked hard to make these!
I hope you enjoyed this instructable. I am sorry for the lack of real-time photos and videos. I will try to add them as I make more in the future