Introduction: How to Make Scale Armor From Bottle Caps

So, your soda-tabs armor is full of bulletholes and all those raiders are just laughing seeing you? This means two things. First: your'e dead, because... c'mon it's soda can tabs, they can't stop bulets, what was you thinking? And second: you need a new ridiculous armor.

Ok, this was a kind of project, when you have this idea, you want to realize and you don't really care where it's going, and what does it mean. It is hard to take it seriously as an actual armor but it is also not fun at all to make it just for looks. In other words it was interesting for me to find out how can I make a real armor from bottle caps even though I totally realised the ridiculousness of the idea, and if you're ok with that, let's continue.

I'm going to show you here how to make scale armor material from metall bottle caps. I'm not making the whole armor here, just a piece, as a demonstration. At the end I'll give the numbers on size of the piece I've made and how many caps it tooked. So let's begin.

Step 1:

Collect some caps. You'll gonna need quiet a few.

Step 2:

When you've got your caps you need to shape them. I used a hammer and a mandrill (I switched it to a mandrel after the damn monkey started to bite). What you're aiming for is a slighly domed shape becase the cap is stronger this way than a flat one. It is long and tedious process but when you're taking the rithm and setting the technic, it's still long and tedious process, but some nice music helps.

Step 3:

Ok, from this point you can go in two ways, depending on how are you going to secure the scales to the padding. In one way you can use studs, which means you only need to make one hole somewhere at the rim of the cap. In the second way you can handstitch or lace the scales onto padding and here I'm showing one way to prepare the caps for it (and if there'll be enough interest in this particular instructable, I'll show the other method in separate i'ble). But let's move on.

The reasoning behind what I'm going to show is next: we need to create smooth edge of a hole to prevent the thread or a lace we are going to use from being cutted by the sharpness of a cap steel. To do so, firstly bend the rim of a cap to the back side. I used the hammer and a mandrel to flatten the bend.

Step 4:

Then we need to create a hole itself. In order to do so I made a simple tool by grinding a drillbit at the angle. This is our hole-poker. The thing is that you don't want to create a complete circular opening but rather a tab which then can be bent to the back of a cap. Just use the hole-poker with a hammer and know when to stop. I hope the photos make the process clear enough. And if you don't want to go into all this troubles, just drill those holes.

Step 5:

When all the caps are ready, it's time to make a padding. There is no any specific way to make it, so I won't describe the process in detail. Basically what you need is multiple layers of stiff fabric stitched together. Here I used a layer of cotton wool sendwiched between two layers of denim fabric. Then I stitched those sendwiches together... and I deffinithy should add one more because the result was too thin. Ok I guess I have to explain what I meen by "too thin". What I was aiming for is a thickness of a padding that is adequate to the bottle caps protective abilities. In other words, I could make like a 20 layer padding, but then there would be no use to add caps because I would allready get good enough protection, and this is not what this project is about.

Step 6:

The paddind is done, and we are ready to stitch our cap-scales onto it. Use thick thread and a big neadle. I stitched every scale three times in different directions to keep it from sliding to much. And yes, despite all our hole preparations the opening is still sharp at the corners which makes it more suitable for lacing rather then stitching.

Sew one row down and then the next one partially owerlaping the previous row. Place scales in checker order. On the photos you can see the finished piece and how ugly it looks from behind.

Step 7:

And here's the numbers I promised at the beginning.

I'm planning to develop this project in two ways. I working on the lammelar wersion where there's no padding and all pieces are just laced together. And also I want eventually to make a capscale armor west or something like that... but my calculations tell me that despite I'm a pretty small guy, I'll need more than 300 caps for this project. It is too much for me to drink... But at the other hand it's just a half an hour stroll with a garbage bag by the nearest park. Also I'm planning to put the capscale into propper test with legit wepons. I do not know when it all is going to happen, but stay tuned.

So, now you know how to make a new capscale armor, and all those raiders... will probably still be laughing at you. Maybe it'll be better to give this armor to your child when next time send him to hunt mole-rats or giant mantises (children deal with embarrassment much better than adults). Or maybe you shold paint different caps into different colors and make a camo pattern... who knows...

P.S.: After publishing this instructable I find out that there is already one wery simmilar project by Max_the_King. He offers a different approach and technic so take a look here.


rainingfiction (author)2017-02-27

*runs off to find someone of drinking age so I can steal their bottle caps*


Just be sure your agility is higher than 6.

themanwoaname (author)2017-01-23

i've been off and on looking at some metal work projects and i see a lot of gauntlets and knives, but no one says anything about their armor actually "working".

have you hit this armor with anything or is it just for looks?


I want to hit it very much, but also I've become so attached to this piece and I want to keep it for the reference... I'll hit another one sometime at the Spring, when I'll be able to collect enough caps for experiments, and also make thicker padding. Also I'm working on other "experimental types of armor" so it makes sense to test them all at once, or maybe even to send them to somebody who has some legit wepon collection. I'm still deciding... Or I'll just hit it with something someday... who knows. But I'll deffinitly make a video.


that would be awesome. the reason why i asked is i liked that your bottle cap scales looked better than just hammering them flat. i figure if im going to go through the trouble of making something that would take this much time it should look good as well as be functional.

Riffifi (author)2017-01-23

i'd like to acclaim the patience you put in the shaping process. the other instructable shows a very different aesthetic, more orque-ish and brutal. your result looks elvish and refine :D

i guess there are many places where you could collect a lot of bottle caps to make a whole armor, like sport stadium, bars, just ask and you'd be surprized how happy people could be to help you in this project (especially if this help consists in emptying some beer bottles to give you the cap ^^)

Waldemar Sha (author)Riffifi2017-01-23

I'm afraid that the "producers" of the bottle caps in our lands are not all that friendly and I'll deffinily gonna need some armor to deal wit some of them. But you've got the point.

Also yes, the the scale feels really slick and nice in heands and every time the piece is laying somewhere near from me on the table i use it as a fidget toy by squeezing and bending it :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Generaly confused. Secretly inspired.
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