Introduction: Break Away Beer Bottles!

About: I'm an industrial arts major at SFSU with an empahsis in product design. I'm online all the time and I find myself constantly checking out these sites:, wikipedia,,, inst…
The Instructable you've all been waiting for!

Originally I was going to just buy a few professionally made break away bottles, but I had sticker shock and figured I could just make them myself.

Here is a popular supplier of all things break away glass.

Here is a "Budweiser" bottle

$16.00 each!
But wait how much for shipping?




SALES TAX: $2.15

TOTAL: $28.15
Almost $30.00 for 1 bottle!

However you can order up to 4 bottles for the same shipping/packaging price so maybe closer to $20.00 But they don't guarantee the bottles after the package has left their hands and that it will make it in one piece.

So that wasn't the route I was going to take and instead started researching how break away glass was made. After emailing a few people I learned that professionals use a special type of resin instead of "sugar glass". Although either will work.

I recommend watching this video by "Indy Mogul" to get a feel for what's being done. He uses sugar glass but the techniques work just the same for resin. Candy glass is also still a cheaper route to go.

1 dedicated cooking pot ( I used a dollar store pan)
1 dedicated candy thermometer
Break Away glass resin
Resin dye (I used brown, comes in a 2oz bottle)
Silicone (tin or platinum cured, don't need a lot, about 6 lbs total)
mold release spray ( there are other options explained later)
foamcore/legos to build the mold (I used foamcore with a glue gun)
glue gun
a timer
rubber bands
measuring cup

I decided to try tin-cure silicone, it's a little bit cheaper than platinum cure and works just the same. It however doesn't last as long as platinum cured.

I purchased the silicone and brown dye from Smooth-On:

The brown dye is translucent and does a real good job of simulating brown beer bottle glass.

The resin i used had a generic name of "break away bottle blend"
It's a combination of Piccolastic and Piccotex which are also generic names. Piccolastic is more elastic while piccotex is more brittle. They are all reusable, in the sense that after you break them or if a mold didn't come out perfect you can remelt them. I don't know about how green recyclable they are though. And definitely not edible, very nasty, like a mouth full of sand.

I ordered from a place called "Special Effect Supply Corporation", has a family-run feel, based out of Utah. However I could have saved a lot more money if I had bought locally. On the Smooth-On website I found a distributor for their products that also carried the "break away glass" resin.

Check out a local distributor for smooth on products, chances are they will have the Break away glass resin (Piccolastic/Piccotex) products as well.

Here is the resin. One can buy in different quantities. (Buy locally though)

I also ordered the DVD on break away bottles. (PM me if you want to see it)

Also ordered mold release spray:

Here is where I should have ordered the materials. They had everything I needed and cheaper.
However not everything is listed on the website.

They are in fact cheaper than Smooth-On. Smooth-On charges more to encourage it's customer to shop locally.

Now to construct the mold...

Step 1: Construct Your Mold

After screwing up the first mold I decided to make it easy for myself and construct a two piece block mold. It's the safest and easiest way to go. It however uses more silicone than more advanced techniques.

The DVD I bought utilized "fixatropics", basically it's stuff you add to silicone to make it thicker. You can brush it on to vertical surfaces and it won't run. Regular silicone is runny like honey. If you had the thickener it'll hold it shape like whip cream but it's still thick like honey. Can build it up or brush it on and it will "defy gravity".

Here is a link more about silicone.

The dvd approach also used dental grade hyrdocal as a mother mold. Hydrocal is like plaster of paris. With a mother mold you have a thin innner silicone mold that is encased in the thicker supporting hyrdocal.

The square block mold uses more silicone but it's simplied in a way. The squareness and thickness of the silicone provides support doing away with the mother mold/ And you don't have to worry about fixatropics.

Just briefly I'll describe my mold making in this project. I glued a Budweiser beer bottle to foamcore to secure it. Then built up clay an inch of clay all the way around the bottle stopping at the parting line in the Budweiser bottle. I glued on a plastic bottle top to the inside of the Budweiser bottle. This is the sprue. It will make mold a funnel into the silicone so you can pour in resin in later. I then created keys or registration marks. This will align your silicone mold halves. Then a foam core wall around the entire thing. Originally I built a square box but then realized I wouldn't have enough silicone so I tapered off the top of the bottle.

Mix the silicone thoroughly and in the right amounts. Smooth-Ons Ooo-Moo 25 is nice because it has equal parts, measuring is not necessary. However I must stress mixing thoroughly, if you don't your silicone will fail. It won't ever set. Mix the sides of the mixing pot and then do it again.

After allowing the silicone to dry I then removed the clay on the bottom and poured silicone on the bottom side.

I used two orders of the trial size kits of Smooth-On OooMoo 25.

$22.00 each, times two, $44 bucks total + $10 shipping, $54.00 total shipped)
($18.00 each, times two, $36 bucks total at your local distributor and save on shipping too!)

The 25 refers to the durometer. The hardness of the silicone.

I had used a silicone with a 40 durometer for the Han Solo in carbonite chocolate bar. It was a much harder silicone. The 25 is much softer and I imagined it helped to remove the fragile resin bottles. Something to take in consideration. Are you pulling out cement or egg shells out of your molds? The resin bottles when dry will be like egg shells.

Step 2: Cooking Resin, Molds and Not Burning Yourself.

My first mistake was not using gloves and I spilled molten resin onto my hand and left a nasty blister.

Safety First!

A cold mold will produce more bubbles. So to combat bubbles you must bake the molds. I was baking them around 350 degrees. In hindsight 400 degrees would be even better, that's closer to the resin temperature.

Bubbles can also have a cool effect. Check out the bottle below poured in a cold mold. It looks like it's sweating (condensation) like it was just pulled from a ice box!

The mold release spray does double duty. It not only makes it easier to remove the molds. The mold release is basically aerosol vaseline and gives it a slightly greasy however shiny, just like glass effect.

Early on I was using a thermometer but I realized it wasn't soo nessary. The resin melts about 400 degrees but you can easily just watch it, melt it to a point where its runny like water. Then it's ready to pour.

When the resin is completely melted and liquified and runny like water that is the best time to add dye. You can easily stir the resin in the pot to mix the dye.

I used about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of the resin to make a full bottle. With that I used 2 drops of the brown dye. Any excess resin and you can pour back in the pot and reuse.

Using gloves, take out the mold halves, rubber band them together. While still wearing your gloves, pour the resin in. As soon as you're done pouring it in, pick up the mold and rotate it. Tilt the mold forward until resin reaches the top of the bottle and rotate it 360 degrees to get a complete covering of the bottle mold. Also try to pour the excess hot resin after you've rotated the molds. Otherwise you'll have a much thicker base.

It will take some trial and error to get the bottles 100% covered. One trick I learned was to use a flashlight and peer inside and see if the resin coated the entire bottle mold surface. If not prepare to throw it back into the pot and remelt and reuse it.

Step 3: Cool It

In the DVD the instructor advises to let the resin in the mold cool for 20 minutes.

I however found I could get away with 10-12 minutes.

One word of caution if you pull your mold halves apart to soon , the bottle will collapse into itself. And you'll have to break the bottle down and remelt and pour it all over again.

Once you do pull the bottle out, do not put it on cold tiles or metal pans. This resin is soo brittle that a thermally conductive surface like a cool metal or tile will cool the resin too quickly and can cause heat fractures. I woke up in the middle of the night once to a crack and pop sound. The next morning the bottle was cracked at the bottom and fell over. Put it on wood or a warm surface and let it slowly cool.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

I screwed up one side of my mold and as a result had extra work to do after the bottles came out. I discovered I could carve and scrape off extra resin to get a round bottle look. And boy did it make a difference. So if you have excess resin be sure to scrape it off carefully. Too much pressure and the bottle will just crack on you.

My original idea was to make "Bustmeister - King of Bustin' Heads" labels and six pack but decided with regards to cost and time constraints to just glue on real labels. I did buy a pack of 20+ vintage Budweiser labels. They look kinda generic and give it a cool novelty feel.

I also used a set of new labels i removed from a new Budweiser bottle.

To remove labels from a bottle usually just letting them soak in water for a bit and carefully peeling them off will do the trick.

To glue them back on I used 3M Super 77 sprayable adhesive.

Well there you have it, start a new tradition for New Years, instead of shooting corks, break a bottle over someones head!

Just be sure to let them know before hand. They break super easily but a surprise hit hurts more. The resin crumples into microscopic pieces so I don't recommend using them on carpet and don't litter parks/nature with it.

After you are done with them, you can reuse them. However I'm not entirely certain about the Super 77adhesive, if it's ok to cook that.

I have extra resin, labels, and dye for sale and I will cut up a silicone mold I didn't use if you want a sample of it. I can also make bottles if you don't want to make your own.

Well this is my submission for the 2nd laser contest. And as before If I win I plan to make free laser cuttings available to all members in the Instructables Laser contest group.