Introduction: Nuka Cola Caps

How to make bottle cap props from the Fallout series.

There is a question amongst fans on what the caps should look like. Let me lay it out for you.

Now a little debate about the color scheme. The best picture we can get from any of the games is the one I added here. Its a Caravan bet interface from New Vegas. These caps show a brass like cap base while the Nuka Cola label has a black outline.

In game if you zoom in on a full bottle it is just a black cap.

If you zoom in on a loose cap in game its a Nuka label, no outline and on a silver base.

Since it is the best picture a lot of prop builders are going with the Caravan Cap now. But to me it doesn't really matter. Companies change designs all the time and I just put it down to that. (as part of my suspension of belief while playing.)

Now if I am going to add a cap to a bottle or mod one already on a bottle I'll probably go with the caravan cap. (the one with the brass coloring, black circle and red Nuka Cola label. On the other hand if it's just to have a collection of caps in a bag as a display or cosplay piece then I don't think it really matters. In fact variety is good. Keeps everything from looking like it came from a distributor. Heck They don't all have to be Nuka caps for that matter. Throw in a Bawls cap. Sunset Sarsaparilla caps, Gamma Gulp, your favorite micro beer cap. It's a game. If you plan on making these then your a fan of the game. (or just have a strange thing for bottle caps. Ok maybe not so strange. There is a guy who collects his belly button lint on the web ((shudder))

Anyways, sit back and enjoy the Instructable.

Step 1: Getting Them Caps!!!

No this isn't how to utilize a glich or how to cheat your way to 1mil caps n game. What we want is real life bottle caps.

You want Standard Nuka-Cola bottle caps featuring 21 crimps and ridges. That is if you want to be nit picky and count the crimps on every different brand of cap you get.  Some people do want accuracy though so I added the this fact.So far, all mine have 21. They range from Coke to beer to Mikes hard lemonade.

Get some caps. Ask at your local bar (21 and over please) If you have a friend that is a bartender it helps. You can order them online too, but whats the fun in that. Or just drink a lot and save up the caps until you have a decent amount. A LOT of soda! Don't go get a case of beer then blame your hang over on me. Drink in moderation folks.

You will also need:
Glue (I use Elmer's white glue and or Mod Podge)
       Some people use rubber cement but I find its just as easy using white glue. I like the way it softens the paper just a tad so you can get the edges down a little better.
Black Sharpie (FINE TIP)
A small flat paint brush to apply the glue.
Finger nail File. (one of those foam core ones. Ask your wife, Girl Friend, Hair stylist or the gal at Wallmart in the Isle with all the bathroom stuff. (no not the towel Isle. The Isles with the toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, razors, ect. An no it doesing have to be Wally world. I'm sure the dollar store has them too. Well maybe. Some might.)

Red, Silver, Black, and/or Bronze spray paint

Hydrogen Peroxide
Wire wheel for your rotary tool

Step 2: Pre-Weathering

You don't have to do this next step but you probably should if you want to weather your caps. You can do it in post production with paint or you can pre-weather your caps.

If you want some of the metal rusty then file/sand off any paint including any clear coat where you want some rust.You can also throw a wire wheel on to your rotary tool and get some of the crimps this way. The thing you don't want is any rust on the flat top part. This is where you will have to glue down your labels.

I get a small container and put some hydrogen Peroxide in it. You want enough that you can swish it around to coat all your caps. Now dump salt in on top some of it will dissolve in the fluid but you need enough slat to cover the caps. Let this sit over night. Rinse with some water and marvel at house hole chemistry.

Alternately you can dip the caps in the Hydrogen Peroxide and place them on a plate, pour on some salt and push  around the edge of the caps. I think the first option works better but the second option used less salt.

Step 3: The Labels

I got my labels from Wasteland Elvis Who also goes by emptysamurai on devianART.You can find them


Print on standard paper. You don't want card stock. The thinner the better. If you really want to go professional on these you will need a totally different instructable. I know of people who Silkscreen these. OR you could use water slide decals that you can print sheets of cap labels on.
While these other two methods can turn out some real quality caps they do take time to prep and material that is not easily acquired.

I use standard printer paper. It could be thinner but it works. Print out a sheet of labels, and cut them out. I do use scissors here. The wife has a ton of scrapbook tools like punches and blade cutters with circle templates, but not a single one is the right size. Trust me. I tried them all. (maybe you or yours has something that works.)

I store them in an Altoids tin. I had them in a small round bead tin but it was too hard to just grab one. Finished off a tin of Altoids so moved them over.

So you have a pile of little circles. Now what? On to the next step that's what.

Step 4: Making the Cap.

On the labels that I messed up and didn't get the best cut all the way around the black ring I put on black caps. Mike's hard lemonade works great for this.

The ones that the label looks real good on I put on standard red Coke Caps. I don't screw up as much as I use too. I've learned to take my time cutting them out.

Then I glue them on with Elmer's white school glue. I've tried the rubber cement method but it just seemed easier with the white glue.
Make sure they are centered because they will slide around a bit. This is a benefit actually. Cause you CAN get them pretty well centrered without worrying about doing it on the first try. I put a dab of glue on the cap. Using a brush I spread the glue around. Then place the label on the cap. Now your brush more than likely still has some glue on it so go over the top side of the label with it. Starting from the center and brushing towards the edge. This will help get out any small air bubbles and help adhere the edge to the cap so there isn't a big lip.

It's ok if there is a little lip on some of them at this point. My coke caps always have a lip. The Mike's not so much. Mike's have a pretty flat top while the Coke caps are a bit more rounded. Other caps are the same really.  We will fix the any lips in the next step.

Yep. Quick step, but Now you have to wait for them to dry. That's ok. Cut out some more while your waiting. Go see if that bar you asked to keep caps for you has any new ones. When ready click over to the next step.

Step 5: Detail and Layeres.

Now you will probably need to clean up on the edges of some of the labels. A simple fine finger nail fine works to do the job. I work my way around sanding at a 45 degree angle or so to the cap. See picture for orientation. At this point you will also be filing off some more paint on the original cap. That's Ok. Adds to the weathering. I also use the edge of my file to scratch out coke if I didn't do it during the pre-weathering process.. I do leave the rest of the print on these ones. Others...Well for others see the next paragraph.

But what happened to those funky colored caps you had? Yes I hear some of you thinking that. Just give them a coat or two of black, bronze, silver or red spray paint. What ever color you want your final pieces to be. You CAN do this to all your caps but I like a little variety to mine so only do the funky colored ones. I think I do need to come up with other cap labels inspired by Fallout. I mean I don't want a white label with black lettering that just says BEER so need to come up with some Fallout inspired beer labels. There was Gamma Gulp in fallout 2 so need to go with some of those but need variety. Maybe some blue and yellow Moonshot. I have a secret one I'm working on. When I get it done I'll put a picture of it at the end of this instructable.

Back to the caps at hand. You have filed them down but now on some you have filed into the paper enough that you have messed up the black border. Relax. It's not the end of the world. This is where the fine tip black sharpie comes into play. Just use a steady hand and touch it up. (if you) find that all your labels have raised edges you may want to reduce the size a little or sort your caps by flat tops and rounded tops. One of the reasons the coke caps always have raised edges is that they are convect.)

Ok they are looking pretty sharp now, but we still are not done. They need to be protected a bit more. I use three light coats of the white glue. Mod Podge works too. If you really want to go all out, you could go buy some spray on clear coat. If you went the decal method that's what I would do but these are more back ground props. Anyways the way I do it is put a drop of glue on each cap and just use my finger around the label. Three coats is good enough. After that you might want to take some really fine sand paper and buff the shine off most of the flat areas.

Step 6: Special Caps. Bunus CAPS

Coming soon.
Gamma Gulp,
Secret cap design

Yes These are just in the design phase. I need some more caps to start. Will Edit when they are finished.

Ok here is the progress so far. Hope  can come up with more. You may need to re-size depending on your printer. The Black Isle Label definitely needs to be Re sized. Just throw them on your standard beer bottle.