Instructables
Picture of Bottle Cap Table with Poured Resin Surface
We've been collecting bottle caps for what seems like forever anticipating this table. After moving our collection with us to 4 different homes in 3 different states, we now have enough caps for this table plus a few matching stools. What makes this project different than a simple mosaic project is that we covered the table with a thick resin, creating a look quite similar to the tables at your favorite pub.

Step 1: Collect bottle caps.

Picture of Collect bottle caps.
Tips:

-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.

You can do this on any sized surface. I've seen huge bars covered in pennies or old photos, but unless you want to deal with storing wheelbarrows of bottle caps, a bistro-sized or small end table is good for starters.

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.

Picture of Lay out your design.
We started out with a random design, featuring just one bottle cap from every kind we had in our cap stash. This left room for some repeats, so we arranged a pattern around the circular shape of the table.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
dcarnevale2 months ago

Does it matter if i lay out the caps with a little more space or tightly put together? I wanna do tighter but I don't want it to affect the table at all

hrvatska7 months ago

It seems that a lot of people are having trouble with the foil sticking, do you think this project would work with wax paper (like for baking)? Or do you think the resin would stick to that even more?

skaue hrvatska2 months ago

Do not use any oiled or waxed surfaces for this. While it might help a little bit with the barrier not sticking - the sides it covered is very likely to become tacky/soft/sticky. If any surface doesn't harden properly during the rather lengthy curing process, it will not harden - ever.

Some resins are easier to "fix" than others, when this has already happened. Polyester for one, is very hard. This is good, because that means not only can you grind/sand away the tacky surface - but more importantly - you can sand and polish it to a "clear glass" surface afterwards. Epoxy for instance, is too soft for this.

Remedying this is often a lengthy and tedious piece of work. But given the fact this is a "hands-on" surface, it needs to be fairly solid.

dresch2 hrvatska3 months ago

The foil comes off easily if you pass a blow torch over it. I had no issues with that. The only issue with sticking was with the duct tape.

I just finished mine. It was pretty easy. The issue I have is the top edge of the resin is rough. How do I round it off and still keep it looking nice.

dresch2 made it!3 months ago

I did a larger coffee table. But, there are a few suggestions though..... Make sure that your barrier around the table very sturdy, also make sure you have plenty of superglue handy, and finally make sure when you calculate how much resin you need to account for the 1/4" height of the bottle caps. Other than that, I love my table, can't wait to make more of them!

1375086_10151939487611178_1917887269_n.jpg

this looks awesome! how much resin did you use?

Nicely done. Thanks for the details.

TheHomeBarGuy4 months ago

Awesome well presented project now I know what I'm doing with my bottle tops. Cheers!!

Lkac2285 months ago

I pushed beer bottle tops into the end of a cut log

.. Made a great table. When the log rotted, I just upped my beer intake! Easy Peasy!

Rvaldock6 months ago

NOW I KNO HOW TO GET RID OF MY PENNIES ….!

THANK U

RON

lukemazz10 months ago
When you were adhering the caps to the wood, did you fill the caps with anything, like hot glue? Other online tutorials suggest this step because they feared the air in the caps would cause bubbles in resin while it cured or bumps in the surface over time. My table is 80"x40" and I have over 2000 caps so I would like to avoid this step to reduce the weight (by about 13 pounds). If you didn't fill the caps, did you have any of these problems. Thanks
ccronkhite10 months ago
My wife and I actually met at one of those cap covered pub tables you talked about at a local bar. We've been doing the collecting for that last 5 years to make our own. We actually have had enough caps and the table to use for quite a while but the main thing holding me back has been my inexperience in using resin and not wanting to mess it up. The main thing I wondered about was how to retain the resin on the top. Now I feel confident enough to actually do it. I might actually make it for her as a Christmas gift. Thanks!
pippipick1 year ago
I'm on my 2nd attempt at my beer cap table. Caps are in place and I am ready to pour the resin (my first error was using poly and not resin). My question is if the resin will hold up outdoors as mine is a patio table. The resin I have bought is Parks Super Glaze ultra gloss epoxy but it doesn't really specify if it is for outdoor use. Think it will work?
a4yaplesur1 year ago
Sliding door
13, 5:44 PM.jpg
a4yaplesur1 year ago
"Bottle cap furniture" , I told my wife, " I want to quit my job and start making bottle cap furniture". She just rolls her eyes.
I love it. I'm on my 5 th project. I've made a bar in the shape of California, 2 end tables similar to this one, concrete table top and the barn door that separates my man cave from the rest of the house. I wish I would have taken more pics and did a tutorial of the bar and the door.
13, 5:41 PM.jpg13, 5:42 PM.jpg
Nice. I'm thinking of doing something similar, with a collage mod podged on. How much resin did you use? Should we be looking at gallons or something smaller?
I would pour rice or sand into the object you are going to work on before you start and measure how much volume it holds to see what amount of resin you will need and then keep a silicone mold or two handy on the side to accept the leftover resin if you have any.
MaryLenehan5 years ago
 I was thinking about doing a project like this, and considering hot glue to secure the caps. Did you reject this approach for some reason? Mess?
americangypsy (author)  MaryLenehan5 years ago
I originally thought of grouting the table, so I bought glue with that in mind.  When I decided to use the polymer resin, I just didn't really rethink the glue.  Since I hadn't used this resin before, my main concerns were (obviously) to keep the caps in place and not have a lot of glue show around the edges of the bottle caps.

If you can keep the hot glue "strings" under control and minimize the amount of excess around the caps, I think hot glue would work just fine for this project.  Thanks for the suggestion.
Hot glue can work even if the "stringing" is a problem. A blow drier set on high will wither and eliminate the strings for you.
I tried edging a mirror in bottlecaps, and when doing that i tried hot glue and superglue. THe hot glue popped right off pretty much right after adhering to the mirror for a minute. (not sure if there would be a different result if it wasn't sticking to glass). Can't wait to try this in table form and use the resin... im hoping for a funky and cool piece like that!!! A+ job americangypsi!!!!!
 Cool table.  In college I made a 5' x 7' beer pong table covered with caps.  Needless to say I was working on a much bigger surface.  Had a friend that could do the covering of the caps with fiberglass resin for free (which was great), but we used polyurethane to do the initial gluing down of the caps (aside from the sliding issue, caps will try to float... so let me reiterate what the poster said... don't skip this!).  

The benefit to polyurethane is that it's cheap, you can just spread some on in a not too thin layer with a brush and move the caps as necessary, it dries in a reasonable amount of time, and you don't have to worry as much about mess.  Polyurethane is the same thing gorilla glue is made out of, so it will definitely hold.  If you're worried about the slightly yellow color (e.g., if your background color is white or light wood), use polycrylic instead, just make sure that it is all covered and can't get any moisture on it (it discolors). 
I wanted to say thank you. I wanted to pour a work table top and I succeeded after following your directions. My foil stuck a little but it is the kind of resin I used. I took it off with a knife no problem. Thanks again. I really appreciated your clear directions.
lone_gun1 year ago
Thanks for the amazing tutorial. I'm planning on using my bottle caps for something ... haven't decided what yet, but your instructions will help me plan once I figure it out!
cfunke1 year ago
Need to get drinking so I can do this
yeah I could not download it either....I think I have enough bottle caps for a couple of these and really want to do this!
Do you think that this would work with pieces of candy? like Sweettarts and bottlecaps... i have a lot and i dont think i will eat them. I think the resin would keep it together and not discolor or anything.... any thoughts???
I couldn't download the pdf . Somebody can help me to have it?
My email is lunalunera19@hotmail.com
hswartzloff3 years ago
Any ideas where I can find the Resin? I live in a small town and wal-mart doesn't have it. I might need to make a trip to the city.....
If you're still looking for the resin compound, you can check out dick blick. They sell art supplies online. Here's a link to the resin I use: http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-clear-polyester-casting-resin/
You would have to visit your local home improvement store or art supply store. My guess is that the resin will be cheaper purchased from a Home Depot type store.
In Cincinnati, OH - I have found the envirotex lite at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
"-Cheap date night: Visit alleys behind local bars." prolly not a good first date idea
jimbo132 years ago
You can get a good epoxy resin on ebay, i would spread 1 layer and set the caps in it, then after it sets cover with the amount needed.
Hypothetically speaking... if this table was for sale on craigslist what would you pay for it?
DSC00178.JPGDSC00180.JPGIMG_0252.JPG
dude, that is awesome!
depotdevoid2 years ago
Hi, I just wanted to say thanks, when I went to build my Starry Night mosaic table, I thought of your project.  We used resin to cast the top, and it turned out great!
100_2881.JPG100_2879.JPG
tmisner2 years ago
I'm building my own table and was thinking about putting a wooden border on the side instead of using the aluminum foil (seems like it gets too messy) how high would you recommend pouring the resin? Its going to be a 8x2 table and I was thinking 1/4 in of resin would suffice.
kma akrim2 years ago
oh now i know the name of this thing. a few years back, i saw a decorating program on television and was very amused with the designer's project for the house. he put a few small toy cars on a bar table and pour something to cover the cars. when it was set, it became just like your table! i've been wondering all this time of what is that liquid and where to find it. now i know, but still i don't where to get it. stuff like this is hard to find here in my country.
anyhow thank you so much for the tutorial. i will sure make a lot of tables like this once i get my hands on the resin. : )


Does anyone know where I can get this resin? I'm in the UK and I use epoxy resins for roofing but its a matt finish, somebody must know of somewhere i can get a clear glossy finish resin cheers
pyromonkey3 years ago
This is so awesome! I have the perfect table to do it to as well :D
Now I just need to collect bottle caps. OOOO Maybe Guitar picks would be a good substitute.
skowatch3 years ago
Alright I just finished mine, it turned out great.

My biggest tips:
*use clear super glue only..anything else (gorilla glue, etc.) WILL expand and show.
*keep a pair of pliers handy in case you need to slightly bend the caps to fit the table towards the end when space is limited.
*Work from the outside in...otherwise you will run out of table space.
*When pouring the resin, use NON-STICK foil (higher quality the better..I used cheap stuff and that resulted in LOTS of left over foil scraps when it came time to peel away the barrier).
*Hold you hair back when you pour the resin/blow the air bubbles...I got some in my hair and it would not come out. 
*read the instructions on the resin label multiple times

Cheers!
not sure if the images worked...
C360_2011-06-22 13-08-52.jpgC360_2011-06-22 13-08-35.jpgC360_2011-06-11 15-21-24.jpg
skowatch3 years ago
I followed this step exactly however found that the foil stuck to my resin all around after peeling it away. Using a craft knife to chip at it was slow, tedious and messy. Any other advice?
You could try the non stick kind.
"When traveling overseas, buy beer instead of souvenirs."

Witty AND informative :)
bruiz8263 years ago
I need help with this instructable please.

I used this guide and the table came out looking great; all except the edges. The foil is stuck along the rim (since the table doesn't have its own rims, I had to do the pour with the suggested foil barrier). Also, the top most edge of the resin pour extended a bit more then the base of the resin. Because of that, the top edge is a bit sharp. I obviously need to sand down the whole edge, but are there any suggestions or specifications I should be aiming for. like grit? I want to keep the edges clear, but I want to get the foil off and smooth the edges.

Any suggestions are welcome!
americangypsy (author)  bruiz8263 years ago
Congrats on a finished project! I had a similar result in that the resin sort of curved up slightly at the edge. To be honest, I used a razor knife/box knife to trim the top edges where they were sharp and to peel off leftover foil (be very careful and use even pressure to avoid the knife slicing through suddenly). But there's a tiny strip or two of foil embedded in the edge of my table forever.

On the second page of comments, there were some posters who gave some more technical advice. One of them wrote:
"Carefully sand it to the shape you want, leaving a little extra "meat". Then, using finer grit sandpaper, work your way up to 1000 or 2000 grit sandpaper, followed by plastic polish to restore the gloss finish." I think a SUPER fine grit sandpaper would knock the edges down and leave a shine, but I've never done it, so experiment first.

Otherwise, search the web for info on how to shape the resin after it's set. Let me know what you find out!
ginarina4273 years ago
what an awesome table! going to try doing this with 'built in coasters'
Tim12524 years ago
Check this out! It's not my car, I've seen it in Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim). It were plastic caps and they were glued with silicone.  How long would they have been gathering.
P1020523.JPG
that is awesome!!! XD
what the faux!!! HOLY COOL! lol love the table! deff gonna make one but oh man imagine that as my CAR! 8D
That car is AWESOME.
And p.s. I'd say that table was made in Colorado, am I right?!
I was wondering what made you say it was made in CO, and then I saw: Left Hand beer!

But they sell it other places though. I'm in Georgia right now and the liquor store across the street sells it.
whoah no way! im in las vegas and I have to have it special ordered at my liquor store.

the comments say 3 different states tho.. mebbe CO was one of em, eh ;)
I'm making a 7x3 table. How much resin do you think I'll need? And are there any suitable alternatives to Envirotex Lite?
The resin kit you buy will tell you how much surface area it will cover, and at what thickness.
awesome!! now make some chairs to go with it!
Descon4 years ago
I love the ring of newcastle caps, mmm newcastle!
 made a beer pong table featuring our mascot using the same stuff.  (sorry no instructable just final product)


www.pix8.net/pro/pic.php


www.pix8.net/pro/pic.php
WOAH SICKKKK!!
Nicely done.
crossless4 years ago
How lovely table. I have too myself collected some bottle caps and I didn't know what to do with those now I think I know what to do, maybe I need little bit more caps but it's going to be quick to collect when I go out with firend to drink and stole their caps right away. One cool table you could get by saving those cocoa/juice carton packets plastic caps they are larger and cool too. :)
Hello out there.  Can you tell me where I can get this resin.  Also, thanks for the palm sander trick
Nov 8, 2009. 4:26 PMAudiyoda
juliemosaic4 years ago
Nice Table! I made atable using keys but I've yet to put resin on it

Here's the link to a photo of it

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43223270@N02/3991332205/
That table is trippy. Love the idea. Will be awesome when you get it poured.
Audiyoda4 years ago
I've done maybe a half dozen resin pours on table tops - something I found after a few attempts that works nicely to help spread the resin is to use a palm sander in direct contact with the under side of the table.  Takes care of getting the resin into all the nooks and crannies, and also helps with any air bubbles that might get into the resin.
Kryptonite5 years ago
I have a table that's 4 metres by 1.5 metres... if only there was enough bottle caps on this Earth.
americangypsy (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
See Step 1 -- and drink more beer! Seriously, every time I went to a party, I used to gather up all the bottle caps I could find. I'd walk around all night with jangly pockets. But you're right -- it's a bit of a compulsion. But I've seen entire bars covered with pennies, and I've thought about doing something covered in playing cards. Wine labels, old photos, glass mosaic -- you can do this project with lots of things. I just thought bottle caps would look cool, but get creative about things that might be more readily available.
I'm 14.

But I can deffinitely take a hint from your first idea!
XD

Yeah I used to collect steal joker cards, but I've lost them now, do you think they'd make a good idea?
Haha, that never stopped me from drinking beer. Not that I'm suggesting that you follow in my footsteps, but "it's not illegal if you don't get caught".
 Hehe, that's my motto with a lot of things, but my liver doesn't think so.
According to my latest blood test, my liver agrees with yours >_<
Ooh, damn. I had my first glass of alcoholic drink today. Our pineapple juice had been left too long and had fermented!!! Man my head hurts.
Your head probably hurts because of the ethanol. If you drink too much, you'll go blind. That's why making liquor, as opposed to beer and wine, is dangerous.
Well a glass shouldn't be too bad... I hope.
I did a coat once where I flattened out bottle caps and sewed them on like scale mail over it. I got my caps, not by drinking more beer, but asking the bar tender at Ruby Tuesdays to save the caps for me and providing a bucket for them to be thrown into. Of course it was a lot of clean up and it stank when I got it, but It provided all the caps I needed. I think I ended up sewing on more than 300 caps.
I love what you did!  It's great. It gives me a ton of ideas for different table tops.  I'm just wondering what kind of resin you used.

Thanks.
americangypsy (author)  polarbrainfreeze5 years ago
This was asked in a previous comment -- EnviroTex Lite Pour-on High Gloss Finish.  This particular product comes in a blue box and is available at many home improvement and art/craft supply stores.
maybe update the ible, so people don't have to wade through all the comments to find out?
jakezcop4 years ago
 Heh my brother is makin one of these but hes makin his school mascot :P
gabo904 years ago
This Table is the best!!! It even has a Costa Rican beer bottle cap- IMPERIAL!!!!! soo cool, where did you get it form?
americangypsy (author)  gabo904 years ago
Costa Rica, of course!
NIS3R4 years ago
we have been collecting bottle caps FOREVER! we have tones when me and my sister where little we used to spend out weekend mornings sorting them :P
plowdk515 years ago
I made a beer pong table over the summer......US Flag with beer mug instead of stars http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/28/mytable.png
 That's awesome! 
americangypsy (author)  plowdk515 years ago
That is true dedication to your art, my friend.  Was that also covered with resin?  Otherwise, I would think the ping pong balls would tend to take some wild bounces.

Hope you still find time to study with all these interesting extracurriculars!
Thanks and yes, the caps are covered in resin up to the top.
that is so sick, in a good way :D
 
Thanks! Oh, and it says "Team USA" on one side and "Beer Pong" on the other.
adidame5 years ago
Left Hand Brewery!  Thanks for posting, I like how you controlled the edges from over spill.
That caught my eye too.  I think the ring outside of Left Hand is New Belgium.
americangypsy (author)  Sam the Wizer5 years ago
You are correct!  Two of my favorites -- if only it was easier to get New Belgium here in NYC!

Very easy to get in Colorado, but my favorite brewer (from Colorado or the world at large) is O'Dell.  90 Schilling is delicious!

I'm a big fan of Oskar Blues Old Chub.
sewshesaid4 years ago
Thanks for the great info. Have been saving caps for a while. Was going to figure out how to wear them. May just have to use on this.
dan5 years ago
the type of resin is fairly important.  epoxy resin will yellow rapidly from sunlight.  polyester or urethane resin don't yellow but need good ventilation while using.  common acrylic and urethane wood finish coatings (eg: Varthane) can also be put on top of epoxy to stop it from yellowing.

BigShotUK dan4 years ago
There are epoxy resins which won't yellow from sunlight.
A company called Resin Research make one I've used making surf boards. It is formulated to spend a lot of time exposed to direct sunlight and not yellow. (Resin Research - Epoxy Systems - 2000 Epoxy Resin)
They make resins that vary from flexible to stiff.

There is no varnish type coat needed, it's very easy to work with, has a nice long open time yet a relatively quick cure after that and it's easy to sand and polish. Of course, epoxy resins aren't the cheapest, this probably isn't the cheapest epoxy resin, but it certainly does a good job.

Resin Research epoxies contain no phenol or formaldehyde which means they are far safer to use than many others. It's also less exothermic which may be desirable for a project like this. (though that said, I have had a pot start smoking heavily on me in the past - it was far too full and just "went off" in about a minute or two. Not pleasant but it'll happen with any resin!)

Using the Resin Research "Additive F" is also helpful when it comes to getting a good finish. It makes for a nice clear finish (epoxies sometimes get a cloudy "bloom" as they cure) and easier sanding too.

The one thing with epoxies is that you need to measure accurately the resin and hardner. Wheras polyester resins work with a catalist and the amount affects the speed, having too little hardner in an epoxy will lead to incomplete hardening. Measure well and mix thoroughly. All Resin Research epoxies have a really simple 2:1 mix ratio that gives a bit of margin for error, but the more accurate you can be the better.

I'm not connected with Resin Research in any way, I'm just a (very) happy customer with every intention of using their products again.
Check their website for your local supplier.
lemonie5 years ago
Very nice, do you get the full pint Newcastle Brown or the half? L
americangypsy (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I believe these all came from 12 oz. bottles here in the States, so that would be what -- .75 pints?
Aren't there 20 fluid ounces in a pint? That answers the question anyway, thanks. L
gia lemonie5 years ago
Pint size is different in US and UK. 
lemonie gia5 years ago
I know, what size in ml is that bottle?

L
americangypsy (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Wow -- what a tangent.  In the US, we go 16oz. to the pint with the metric conversion of 355ml usually printed on our 12oz. beer bottles.

Trust me -- if given the choice between a full pint of Newcastle or a half pint, I'm taking the full pint EVERY time.
OK, you're getting a small pint there but thanks for the details.

L
gwins5 years ago
use heat, propane torch with a wide head, after sanding with fine grit sandpaper, like they do with pexiglass to make the edge see through.
nepheron5 years ago
DO NOT USE CASTIN CRAFT POLYESTER RESIN. DO NOT USE ANY POLYESTER RESINS.

Polyester resin will always dry with a sticky side. Whichever side exposed to the are will not cure and remain gooey and tacky. (I know this from experience)

Use epoxy resin only and be sure to test a small amount!
runfromnuke5 years ago
Would you recommend sanding the edges to a curve?  If so, how would that be done?  (I would assume with a belt-sander, but I don't know which grit would work best.)
americangypsy (author)  runfromnuke5 years ago
 I am definitely not an expert on the resin, but there is lots of info available out on the webs.  What I've heard is that sanding with a fine grit is good to do between coats (if you are doing a thick surface, for example), but if you sand the finished product, it lends a matte or cloudy surface.  This is fine if that is what you are looking for, but I think if you sanded just the edges, it might look odd.

Anyone else know of a good way to handle this?
Carefully sand it to the shape you want, leaving a little extra "meat".  Then, using finer grit sandpaper, work your way up to 1000 or 2000 grit sandpaper, followed by plastic polish to restore the gloss finish.  Just the same as if you wanted to refinish composite plastic headlights on your car.
 nice, its the only type of table for me!
im gona do it with n64 cartreges
ill need alot of resin
Z..5 years ago

This is excellent! What a novel idea!

erosser5 years ago
 Awesome project, looks really nifty.
And flat-out brilliant I'ble!  Explained thoroughly and with lots of pretty pictures.
Nice work!
finfan75 years ago
Awesome table.  Insanely bright.  You could also use the caps as a grid to play a number of games.
BarginsTech5 years ago
Sick as hell man! so making one!!!!
insomniaSAH5 years ago
Absolutely delightful, thank you for posting this. Must ask though, where did you get so much resin? Hardware store?
yeah...what kind of resin did you use?
americangypsy (author)  crapflinger5 years ago
This was just Envirotex Lite High Gloss. Looks like your avatar is from the Frothy Monkey in Nashville. I used to live there and still miss meeting up with friends at the FroMo -- what a great spot.
it is from the FroMo....i'm in knoxville...so we've gone to nashville a few times....they make some tasty coffee and some nice pastries...but i just liked their logo
You lost me at about pastries. Yummy.
americangypsy (author)  insomniaSAH5 years ago
It actually wasn't much resin -- only about 8oz. each of the resin and the hardener. I found a 32oz kit (2 16oz. bottles) for around 20 bucks at our local Home Depot. A 16oz. kit was available for the same price at our local AC Moore craft supply store. Search around though -- I've seen gallon jugs of the stuff for sale online.
foobear5 years ago
Wow, some interesting bottle caps you have there. I have been saving up IBC rootbeer caps for some time.
Kryptonite5 years ago
Wow amazing Instructable, so simple any one could do it. Well done.