Ammo Can Bottle Caddy

Introduction: Ammo Can Bottle Caddy

Hey Everyone!

I entered this Instructable in both the Home Made Presents and Metal Contests.

If you like it, please vote!

First Instructable from me; so I'm hoping to get some great feedback.

I made this bottle caddy after searching on the internet and not being able to find anything remotely close to this, nor could I find an intstructable so thought I'd do my part and add it to the list of other awesome things I've seen on instructables!

There were a few things that I was trying to accomplish with this project:

1. Make a "Manly" Christmas present for my Dad

2. Make something that was functional with several uses (cans, bottles, tools etc...)

3. Customized and Personalized to create a talking piece.

Step 1: Items Needed

Ruler or Speed Square



Nail Punch

Drill or Drill Press

Hole Saw or Large Drill bit (35mm or 1-3/8)

Sanding Drum Drill bits or Grinding stone bits

Clean rag

Decals or Stencils

Masking or PVC Electrical Tape

Universal bonding primer spray paint

Colored spray paint

Clear Coat spray paint

Optional: Glow in the dark spray paint

Optional: Reflectix Insulation and Aluminum foil tape

Step 2: Mark and Punch Holes

1. We will use the Ruler and Pencil to divide the sides equally from the sidewall of the ammo can in order to make sure our Bottles stand up correctly and that we leave enough distance to cut the hole out without hitting the side.

2. Then you will mark the cross section of three locations equidistant from each other so that we have enough space around the bottles to put ice around the bottles.

I took the lid off and put bottles into the bottom of the ammo can to give me an idea of where the holes needed to be located so that the bottles stood upright.

Then sat the lid on top of the bottles in order rough mark the distance between the bottles.
I then used a ruler and speed square to accurately mark the location of where the hole would be drilled.

3. Once you have cross hair marks on all the hole locations it's time to use your hole punch. This will give you a center point to start your pilot hole.

Step 3: Drill and Sand Your Bottle Holes

Next is where it went a little sideways for me.

1. Put the lid back on the ammo can and put the ammo can in between two sturdy blocks. I put the ammo can between my feet on the floor and it held in place well. However, I was using a high torque drill with a hole saw and when the hole saw teeth finally grabbed it can whip the drill if you don't have a firm hold.

If you have access to a drill press, I would suggest taking the lid off and use a drill press with a 1X5" scrap wood in between the side lips of the lid. Then screw the wood to the drill press vise. This will keep the lid from moving around and from potential injury from the handheld drill.

2. Once all holes are drilled, you will generally be left with VERY sharp areas of metal. We want to then grab some sand paper, I found that the sanding drum drill bits work well. If you have Grinding stone bits these work even better.

Make sure you take the lid off of the can before you start sanding or grinding. I found this out the hard way when I tilted my drill it ended up sanding off some of the powder coating on the inside of the can.

Also, make sure you sand or grind the underneath side of the hole so that you don't have any sharp edges or little pieces of metal to catch on.

Step 4: Clean and Prepare Surface for Decals and Paint

Once you're done with the lid, you can ALMOST forget about it until you're done with the project. We will get back to the almost later..

1. Now you can take a cloth, paper towel, newspaper and spray some water onto the surface and wipe the surface down to remove any metal filings or dust on the surface of the powder coating.

2. Then you will install the decals onto the surface of the ammo can. Remember, whatever you are going to put onto the surface will be the negative. Then you will spray paint and remove the decal later on. If you have a Cricut or Vinyl cutter like you see in the images, you can make pretty much anything you'd like. If you don't have a vinyl cutter, you can call a local decal or sign shop. Or there are tons of online locations that sell decals. You don't need to worry about the color of the vinyl as it's coming off the ammo can eventually.

3. Also, I found that it may have been easier to put the decal on at an angle rather than straight because depending on the decals, they are quite difficult to get a definitive line to measure off of. I ended up drawing a line underneath the letters and then measured vertically from the bottom of the ammo can to line up both sides. This kept the decal from being covered by the lid when closed.

4. Then mask everything you do not want to have spray paint on. I used masking tape and some of the paper and adhesive stuck based on the amount of layers of spray paint that I used. Even with low tack I would suggest that you have the tape adhered to the surrounding decal area as it comes of very clean with no residue. (See finished images for residue)

Step 5: Paint

1. Because Ammo Cans use powder coating on their surface to allow a harder wearing and longer lasting product, it is very difficult to have a standard spay paint stick to the smooth surface. This was fixed with a quick call to Rustoleum. (Not endorsed or any way affiliated, just couldn't find anything online for spray paint on powder coating that didn't relate to HVLP guns and non-sanded surface preparation)

They suggested a product called "Universal Bonding Primer" as we aren't able to sand the area as it may lift the vinyl decal and not give a crisp clean line for spray painting.

2. Read the directions on the spray can and follow all directions, make sure you're in a well ventilated area, you only get one brain, one set of lungs, and one pair of eyes, use safety gear and make sure that you vacate the area when you aren't actively spraying. Also, seeing as though it's in the winter season at the time of writing, don't spray paint while around a garage heater, spray paints have flammable propellants to push the paint out of the can. Nobody wants to be in the hospital over a homemade gift or staying in a hotel or worse, the in-laws because you blew your own home up. Be safe.

3. Start by spraying a light coat of universal bonding primer to the surface and let the surface tack up generally a few minutes between coats.

4. I gave my ammo cans around 3 coats depending on the coverage.

Here's where I shouldn't have forgotten about my lids...They were sitting in between the two ammo cans. I noticed after spraying the first of many coats of yellow but got a bit of overspray on the lids. It's almost unnoticeable; but make sure that if you don't want to have a Jackson Pollock-esque look... make sure you move the lids away from your spray area or cover them up.

5. Then, after the primer has tacked up or dried based on the directions. Spray your colored spray paint. I ended up going for around 4-5 coats of color. Then I found a really neat Glow in the dark spray paint that I put around 6-7 coats over the top of the color.

6. Then spray your clear coat over the glow in the dark. Once again, I used around 3-4 coats depending on the coverage.

Step 6: Insulation

Now that we're done with paint, we can take off the masking tape and paper.

This next step is optional. However, if you like cold beer; I would say it's a requirement.

This takes me back to making little paper cubes in math class as it should you.

We're going to create an outline using the sharpie/felt pen.

Take the measurements of the inside of the ammo can standard .50 Cal ammo box dimensions are as follows

Height: 7"

Width: 5-1/2"

Depth: 11"

I would suggest taping the inside and outside of your corners so that you don't get water in the corners which will eventually mold otherwise.

Optional: I cut a rectangle of insulation so that I could cover the holes if I were to use as a lunch box, or wanted to carry around cans instead of bottles.

Step 7: Bask in the Greatness

Now you have it!

A GLOW IN THE DARK Bottle Caddy.

Great for finding your way back to your tent once the party is over or as a marker to know where you can always find a cold one.

If you look closely on the first image, you'll see that there are remnants of masking tape and adhesive around the square glow in the dark perimeter. This is why I would suggest using PVC tape or spare vinyl strips. Then you don't have to worry about the propellant and paint eating away at the masking tape paper or adhesive before you're done spraying.

Also, if you'd like, you can cut some rubber hose around the holes to create a seal around the bottle neck.

Let me know what you think.

As always, critiquing is well appreciated.

Metal Contest 2017

Participated in the
Metal Contest 2017

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

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    3 years ago

    nice! Just one question. The 2 bottles closest the the hinge when the lid is opening do they cause the lid to not open?


    Reply 3 years ago

    I’ve found that it depends on the height of the bottle. If you’re using Longneck bottles like corona etc., you may have to adjust the width of the hole to fit the neck. Standard sized bottles work fine and the lid opens freely. With longneck bottles, you may need to feed the first two bottles closest to the hinge into the lid first. Then the other bottles close easily. Even saying that, longneck bottles are only going to catch around the top 1/2”-1” of the neck. So you still have the ability to put ice in around the bottles.


    4 years ago

    I've seen quite a few ammo can hacks over the years; this is definitely one of the good ones. Bravo! Very clean stencil work too, looks super legit :)


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks! I used vinyl decals and used them as a stencil. The nice part is that it is all adhered to the device and not just taped on like a standard stencil so there's less overspray. (Unless you forget to move the lids away in my case) haha.


    4 years ago

    This is awesome. And there's enough room for ice or cold packs. Bravo!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Cheers! Also, I got some of the new Budweiser Repeal Reserve short bottles for the other box for a friend and they JUST fit under the lid. You can fit 8 short bottles if you already had them cold and didn't need ice. All those short bottles are around the same height Bundaberg Ginger Ale, Coors Banquet etc.. just have to try to see if the lid will shut without bending the lid.


    4 years ago

    I'm sure that he loves it, that's a really cool idea to reuse it!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks, yeah he liked it. Definitely worth the time and effort. And he said that he'd probably start using it for a lunch box as well.