Bottlecap Guitar Mod
First of all, I couldn't make this a full instructable because I didn't take photos along the way, but hopefully I can make it clear what I did in the building process. Hope you enjoy it!
A few years ago I looked at my old mini starter guitar sitting in the corner, and I decided I wanted to mod it. I found some inspiration from Instructables, and decided I wanted to change the body shape, resurface it, and scallop out the frets. This ended up being a much bigger project than I first thought. I started out wanting to repaint the guitar, but then I found artist in Colorado who glued flattened bottlecaps over things like chairs and tables. I was inspired by this, and decided that I would do the same. The artist flattened bottlecaps so that the edges were splayed out around the outside, then he layered them like scales. At first the only way I could flatten them was with the edges folded under, by hammering the top while the cap was on a flat surface. Later, I found the way the artist did it, by setting the bottlecap upside down on a surface and hammering. I decided I would just continue with what I had started. Some bottlecaps didn't hammer as neat as others, but I thought it gave the surface nice variation.
Scalloping out the frets:
I did this with some files and sandpaper. I really wanted to do this to see what difference it would make, but it ended up not really changing the feel of the guitar, but it looks cool anyway. I scalloped from the ninth fret up.
Reshaping the body:
This was my second step, and I did this by drilling starter holes and sawing using a hacksaw blade. This was not very efficient, but I wasn't sure what other saw to use, and I wanted to be as accurate as possible. After I had made the two cuts, I used pieces of sheet metal to cover the holes, because as a novice woodworker, I wasn't ready to bend wood pieces to fit the shapes. I glued the sheet metal in place with gorilla glue, and sanded afterwards to clean up the excess. I also cut off the top of the head, just cause I felt like I needed to change it.
Gluing the bottlecaps on:
This was by far the most tedious step, and I wish I had had a better way of doing this. For this step, I used two part 60 minute adhesive epoxy, and individually glued each bottle cap on. Whats more, I had to cut each cap to fit, bend it to fit any bend in the guitar, and cut bottlecaps up to fit in any hole I thought was too big. This is where I prefer the artist in Colorado's way, because he had no gaps to fill after he layered the caps. I also put caps on the head of the guitar. After this step, the caps were a little sticky, rough, and some of them even came off, so I decided that I needed a layer of something over them.
Glazing over the caps:
For the finish over the bottlecaps, I wanted something smooth that filled some of the holes and made sure the caps were on tight. I went searching at Home Depot and found something called Super Glaze Epoxy. It makes an awesome, glossy, thick, smooth finish, and it was perfect. The only trouble was that it was a self-leveling substance, so it tended to drip down, especially on the curved parts of the guitar. To solve this, I used less on the edges of the guitar and painted it on with a paintbrush. On the flat front and back I just poured the epoxy and spread it with a popsicle stick. I cut excess drips off with a knife, and sometimes sanded them, but this took away the gloss of the epoxy. I used two layers on the front and the back, to make it extra thick.
Refinishing the neck:
First I sanded the neck, and in this step I also cleaned up any drips of epoxy. I wanted a wood finish instead of the black finish the guitar had come with, so I ended up sanding the entire neck. I alternated red and dark stain on the fret board, and used Danish Oil for a natural finish on the rest of the neck. I also put pegs for a guitar strap, by just screwing in a screw with a rubber washer that fit my guitar strap. To touch up and change the color of the nut and the bridge, I unprofessionally used sharpie, because it turned out a lot better than what I could've done with paint. For the final step, I put the tuners back on and restrung the guitar.
In conclusion, I was very proud of the finished product, and it made a really cool little guitar. This was my first guitar mod, and I hope I can do this again in the future, or maybe even build a guitar. I hope you liked it, and maybe you can learn from my mistakes if
you ever want to mod a guitar similarly to how I did. Thanks for viewing!