Step 1: Collect Bottle Caps.
-Become friends with bartenders.
-Cheap date night: Visit alleys behind local bars.
-Buy microbrews based on how cool the caps are, not how good the beer is.
-Get your friends to help you collect.
-When traveling overseas, buy beer instead of souvenirs.
Step 2: Find the Table.
We used a Noresund IKEA table purchased in the As Is area at our local IKEA. I believe it is now discontinued. Sorry.
Link to Ikea store: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/10073835
Step 3: Lay Out Your Design.
Step 4: Begin Gluing.
Since we were covering our table with clear resin, we weren't too concerned with the type of glue used. I started out with contact cement, moved on to furniture glue, then Liquid Nails for small projects, and even tried siliconized caulk. I ended up using plain old super glue. This was the best option and the one I suggest for you. Since the caps are going to get covered with resin, they just need to stick to the table, so a couple of dots are all you need. Don't go crazy, because messy excess glue will show through the resin when you're done.
Extra information regarding this step:
Although I suggest super glue for this project, the contact cement was truly the strongest adhesive. However, it took some time to use and was less forgiving. The silicone-based glues (Liquid Nails and caulk) seemed to shift or expand as it dried, which ultimately threw our design off. Super glue was the least elegant choice, but it dries relatively quickly and was rigid enough for this project. One note of caution: I discovered that Super Glue reacts with the hexane/toluene base of contact cement. They discolor and create a crystalline growth that resembles a fuzzy, white mold that must be removed with acetone. So pick one glue and go with it to avoid this kind of situation.
Step 5: Prepare Your Surface.
Don't forget to also tape up any holes on the surface of your table. I did this from underneath so that the blue tape wouldn't show once the resin was applied. If you have a table surface with lots of openings (like a metal mesh or expanded metal), you may want to get a piece of Plexiglas or MDF and use that for your tabletop.
Step 6: Build a Barrier.
6a. I decided to use aluminum foil and duct tape. First, cut some long strips of duct tape to go around the edge of the table. Next, cut strips of foil about 3" wide and 1" longer than your strips of duct tape. Laying the strips of duct tape sticky side up, carefully cover about half of the duct tape with a strip of foil. See photo for details. The straighter you do this the better. You could also do this with wide painter's tape and eliminate the need to cover the edges of the table with painter's tape in Step 5.
6b. Tape the foil/tape strips around the edge of the table, making sure that the bottom edge of the foil falls just below the surface of the tabletop (the actual table, not the bottle caps). See photo for details. The reason: If the sticky surface of the duct tape is above the tabletop, the resin will stick to it and defeat the purpose of making an easy-release barrier. If the foil is too far below the tabletop, resin may seep over the edge, trapping blue tape underneath.
Step 7: Cover With Resin.
Remember that the resin will level itself out, so just make sure you have enough to fill in the gaps and even out any high areas. You may want to cover your work to keep any random hairs or dust from getting stuck. Now walk away for about 7 or 8 hours.