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Printing on Bottlecaps? Answered

I'm doing some small scale brewing, and I want to rig up some custom labels & caps for a real professional presentation. Labels are easy enough, but caps are throwing a few spanners into the works... Does anyone have any ideas on how to print them? Here are my current ideas:

  • Toner Transfer - use a custom template and rig to hold multiple caps, then use an iron modified into a solder-press-like device to transfer. removing the paper cleanly could be difficult, and the results are unpredictable
  • Silk Screening - build a similar rig to hold caps in place, and screen them. i don't know much about creating screens, and longevity, but it's probably too complex/expensive for small batches.
  • Custom Stamp - use a rubber or pre-inked stamp to impress the design. simple, but expensive for multiple designs. i don't know how well the ink for pre-inked stamps will bond to metal, and I don't know what ink to use for a rubber stamp.

Any thoughts are welcome.

27 Replies

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jccooper (author)2011-06-23

I might suggest http://www.bottlemark.com for custom bottle caps; instant design tool, no minimum order.

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benjaminpotter (author)2010-11-16

The best custom bottle caps are from http://www.brewtoppers.com

Use coupon code FALL for 10% off the pre-printed bags of 60!

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hrabbot (author)2010-10-07

Wild Hops Print Shop offers laser engraved custom bottle caps.  Not a bad price, and they look nice.

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CSQRD81 (author)2010-03-31

Don't know if you've found an answer to your question, yet, but I thought I'd throw my comment out there anyway. My fiancee posed a similar question to me recently and I came across this very helpful link:

http://www.blockheadstamps.com/TechniquesPages/bottlecaps.html

In a nutshell, use a clear matte primer (Diamond Glaze) and then a permanent ink (like StazOn). StazOn claims to be able to transfer to all types of material, including metal.

Hope this helps! Cheers!

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scarlettaddiction (author)2008-04-23

I've actually bought from the site mentioned above: www.craftycaps.com, the custom caps I ordered weren't near 0.49 a piece. I think that they have better deals for beer brewers. My boyfriend loves the design we had made, but again, it isn't a design directly on the cap. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. LOL

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user

I would recommend considering screenprintedtshirtdesigns.com, you will get more ideas for more shirts graphics.Screenprintedtshirtdesigns.com is t-shirt printing, silk screen t shirt printing and custom printed t-shirt company. They specialize in screen printing, embroidery and similar services. They offer incredible pricing, free shipping and lot more.


screen printed t-shirts

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Goodhart (author)Erika1112009-09-01

Would they screen print metal bottle caps?

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user

Back a few years :-) I bought my bottle capper and caps from Sears (& Roebuck). But they don't carry them anymore. That was back in the day you could get hops extract at the ACME :-)

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Kiteman (author)2008-04-21

Why not emboss or impress them? Lay them upside-down on something like a cork surface and smack the inside with a punch-like dye?

Or what about some simple etching?

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gschoppe (author)Kiteman2008-04-21

I'm gonna try some etching, that's where the toner transfer idea came from, but I have my doubts as to the quality of etch, as bottle caps are pretty thin... the etched caps might be a small batch thing, but I need to do 50 at a time, so toner and etching would take too long. I'm also worried about chemical residue in the inner lining of the caps, but using a salt water etch, that might not be as big a potential image as residual taste. I hadn't thought of using a die, and I might just try that.... I could etch the die deeply in a small piece of steel or iron with a salt water and then hammer it in.

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gschoppe (author)gschoppe2008-04-21

I just ordered a 1" Square pre-inked stamp for the purpose... I may still try one of the other options, but that's my first choice.

here's the tentative logo for School Street Beer

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Patrik (author)gschoppe2008-04-21

Here's a place where you can order custom caps, at 49 cents a piece:

http://www.craftycaps.com/store/index.php?productID=237

Another option is to print on a sheet of small circular labels, like these.

(both via The Northern Brewer Homebrew Forum )

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gschoppe (author)Patrik2008-04-21

thanks, but 49 cents a pop could only be sustainable for a gag or event, and I just hate labels if there's a better solution. I think the stamp will work for me, but if not, I may buy some custom caps just to study their design... reverse engineering for the win.

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Patrik (author)gschoppe2008-04-22

Is the stamp (or rather - the ink) specific for stamping on metal bottlecaps? I would assume that regular pre-inked stamps would rub right off...

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gschoppe (author)Patrik2008-04-22

i'll be replacing the ink pad, as it is removable

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Kiteman (author)gschoppe2008-04-21

Little House on the Prairie!

(Or you could use a handbell)

> I trust we're going to get a brewing 'ible as well?

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gschoppe (author)Kiteman2008-04-21

once the formulae start appearing on paper, rather than being a matter of dashes and scosches, I'll consider an instructable... i loved Little House as a kid, by the way... in terms of the design, the small line at the bottom is for the batch date.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2008-04-22

That would be ok IF the cap's shape is not altered "at all". Having done some bottling from home, a slightly warped or bent cap will not seal properly.

There are some "caps" made just for inset labels, but I have not used them, and do not know if they would be appropriate or not. An example of Inset caps for labels

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killerjackalope (author)2008-04-22

Hmm the die seems good or if the logo doesn't need much longevity loading up stamps with permanent ink does alright, alternatively a die press could be used instead of a hammer, you'd need something big and punch like, load the die and add a cork as a rest for the caps, it would be quick and would allow for decent detailing as you'd have an identical stamp every time.

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gschoppe (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

I bought a pad-based self inking stamp, so I'm going to replace the ink first thing

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killerjackalope (author)gschoppe2008-04-22

It'll not survive much but make sure it's waterproof and you'll have something that should be on until the drink is finished anyway...

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gschoppe (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

if i sealed it with a spray varnish, I just might get a good life out of it

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killerjackalope (author)gschoppe2008-04-22

Actually that's a great idea and probably would work well...

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gschoppe (author)2008-04-22

For anyone who's interested, I've finished the first attempt at a bottle label, now I just have to print a test batch.

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jtobako (author)2008-04-22

Etching and embossing risk the cap not sealing, a rubber stamp is going to need a REALLY good ink. Labels (I know, you don't like the idea) are going to be easiest. Silkscreen will give the best result. Another option would be to make a stencil and spray paint them-silkscreen without the silk...

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NachoMahma (author)2008-04-21

. Toner xfer: probably not very permanent, but you may not need very permanent. Sounds like pretty easy solution.
. Silk screening: will probably be the best looking and most permanent ... but also the most difficult. You can probably get the screen(s) made at a custom t-shirt shop.
. Rubber stamp: Should be quick and easy. And if your careful, it should look pretty good. Google "custom rubber stamp"

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