Picture of Princess Peach Pointillism
1080 980 plastic bottle caps + 16 acrylic paint colors + a couple of Perl scripts + 6 months worth of work =

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
First, convince your entire family to start collecting plastic bottle caps. To make things even more fun, don't tell them why they are collecting caps.

Select a suitable picture, in my case I selected a 30 x 36 image of Princess Peach. Be sure to select a small image as you're going to need one cap for every pixel.

Once you have collected at least 1080 caps, you're ready to start phase two.

(Note: It's been pointed out that the image is actually 28 x 35 totalling 980 caps. I forgot that I lost a row and and two columns when I  planned out the border. Small oversight on my part, can't believe someone actually counted!)

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belsey4 years ago
Congratulations on being featured in the magazine Nintendo Power!
skeplin (author)  belsey4 years ago
So I went out and bought a copy of Nintendo Power. Thank you so much for pointing that out. My kids think I'm famous. ;^)
belsey skeplin4 years ago
You most definitely are, amongst the 10 year old boy set!
skeplin (author)  belsey4 years ago
Wow really? Which issue number? This is news to me!
michael631 year ago
This cool
tjesse3 years ago
How could i do this with beer caps? Using the original paint on the cap?
skeplin (author)  tjesse3 years ago
Check out my other project: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dragon-Scales/

The challenge is getting enough caps with the same or similar colors.
Saw this in Nintendo Power!!! Awesome!!!!!!
Slicerr24 years ago
does any one know where i can just paste my image in and get a layout like in step 4
skeplin (author)  Slicerr24 years ago
Someone suggested this below: use Gimp or some other image manipulation program to save the file in XPM format. The result is almost the same.
This is how i did it with Gimp (and im a total noob too so it took me a while to figure it out):
Paste image into Gimp
Image -> Mode -> Indenxed (dont change the options) -> ok
Windows-> Dockable Dialogues -> Colormap
Windows -> Docable Dialogues-> Histogram

The number of the color on Colormap (ex: color index "x") is equal to "x,x" on the Histogram left and right boxes
Kry4 years ago
Mr. TiKi4 years ago
How good did the paint hold? Acrylic to plastic in my experience holds very poorly.
skeplin (author)  Mr. TiKi4 years ago
The paint holds ok, but it scratches easy. I need a good flat acrylic sealant.
Couldnt you use a simple glue spray like elmers spary adhesive and let it dry? Or modge podge with a brush?
skeplin (author)  BarginsTech4 years ago
What's modge podge? Does it have a glossy or matte finish?
Just goto walmart and get yourself some Krylon crystal clear. They have satin, gloss semi, gloss
Yes :D


Its a puzzle saver glue. I noticed Elmers has a "spray adhesive" that might have the same effect. The only problem I can see with the modge podge is it doesnt have a spray form.
Mod podge won't stick to plastic. And if you want to spray mod podge you could dilute it and use an air gun. I do that on my acrylic 3d wall art to seal in the paint.
maybe Shelac? Just thought of it.  My grandma used it for pumpkins and gourds for holidays. I think any thing thats spray would be okay cause its a thin layer and as long as its not haldled so much it shouldnt chip right? I dont have a spray gun so your idea, though it sounds like its efficient, wouldnt work for me :(
ahh good point! didnt thik of that... hmm...
You could try minwax polycrylic. Also you could also try some enamel $1.49 at micheals for a 2oz bottle, problem is they take a few weeks to completely dry.
Just brush acetone over the surface. The "burn" should roughen the surface enough for most paints to stick. "Model paint" with nail-polish as a primer could work too...
Thanks for the suggestion, I will give it a shot.
I should add that if you use nail polish and model paint, to keep it indoors as excessive sunlight (UV) and weather can deteriorate the nail polish quickly. Some plastics are resistant to acetone. If you brush acetone over it and it does not destroy the glossiness, you may need to just use plain coarse sandpaper, something around those cheap orange fingernail-file grit (emery board)...The idea is to remove any glossiness. The more reflective it is, the less it's surface area, and we want to maximize that so paint can get a better hold.

Or :rofl: just use those cheap orange emery board nail files where commercial "teen" cosmetics are sold, with names like "revlon", "maybelline", etc., as well as nail gloss/enamel (same animal, I suggest the clear gloss or the "super-vampire-gothic pitchblack midnight death black"/"heaveanly-angel pure-virgin innocence-white", depending on the topcoat color). "Methylated" or acetone-base is suggested, so try to read the "ingredients" if the packaging will let you do so without buying it first (corporate america disgusts me)...

Roughening the surface increases surface area, giving the "paint" more to grab on to. First rule of painting: "several thin coats are more durable than one thick coat." This especially applies to aerosol paints, should you choose to use them. I had found that rust-inhibiting paint sticks just a little better to plastics than standard aerosol spraypaint. Experiment if you can afford to do so...
fvu4 years ago
Very nice. If you can collect twice as much bottle caps (2000), you might consider creating bottle cap curtains as well, see: http://fvue.nl/wiki/Fly_curtains_made_of_plastic_bottle_caps . There's no painting involved!
skeplin (author)  fvu4 years ago
Wow those are amazing!
smheck4 years ago
I just showed this to the kids and they LOVED it! You are so VERY creative!!!
bgepp14 years ago
i'll bet it looks really cool the farther away you get - nice job at recycling materials too!
pokster4 years ago
WingDings4 years ago
Wow - 6 months of work! Well done for keeping going all of that time! :)

It's amazing how quickly the number of points add up as you increase the dimensions. The end result's great.
Cabanaman4 years ago
Could this be done with spray paint? Patience isn't my virtue, unfortunately.
skeplin (author)  Cabanaman4 years ago
Spray paint would work so long as you found all of the colors you need.
Razzor4 years ago
I had recently done this but with ceramic tiles and a "Space invader" theme, it turned out quite well but was very costly. I love your idea for using bottlecaps and i think i might have to try this myself.

Great instructable :)
tim132114 years ago
Wow, this is very cool! Do the bottle caps have to be the same size/shape, or does it matter?
skeplin (author)  tim132114 years ago
I found that for the most part, they are the same width (about 31 - 32mm in diameter.)

Height varies, but it doesn't make a difference when you paint the whole cap. From a distance, you can't even see the height variances.
Ok, thanks!
Kaiven4 years ago
Awesome! But why peach (of all video game characters)?
skeplin (author)  Kaiven4 years ago
I got tired of being told, "Your princess is in another castle," so I decided to bring her to mine.
^^comment WIN
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