I made a University of Michigan-inspired table top out of beer caps
Step 1: Things You Need:
lots of beer caps, we scouted out local bars and surprisingly many places hold on to their caps for a while. the amount of caps you will need is dependent on surface you are covering. I believe ours took upwards of 650 caps total.
a table top or other surface
clear high gloss resin (i used envirotex lite. this 27"X32" table took about 96 ounces for a thick layer to coat the caps), you can order this online or find it at some hobby stores (I got mine at Michael's because they accept competitor coupons... I used my JoAnne 40% & 50% off coupons and got them for pretty cheap!)
painters tape, duct tape, garbage bags, etc
hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks (i would recommend one of the larger sized glue guns, worth the money)
Step 2: Prepping Your Things
you're going to want to wash your beer caps thoroughly. I had a 3 bucket system where I went through and let them soak in hot water, transferred them to a bucket of soap water, then to a bucket to get rinsed. after doing this, I let them air dry overnight. I had over 7,000 caps and washed them all, it took 2 days. you may want to figure out just how many of each you need and only wash those! I also separated and counted all my caps to start planning my design.
while these were prepping, I also scrubbed down and sanded my table top.
Step 3: Plan Your Design!
I knew I wanted the block M in the center but it took a lot of trial and error planning to figure out how I wanted to position the rest of my caps. I didn't want it to look too busy, but I also wanted to use some of the more unique caps. I measured and laid out my design (twice because the pesky cat ruined the first one..... I wouldn't recommend floor work if it's possible)
Step 4: Hot Gluing Your Life Away.
this is where that large glue gun comes in handy. I tossed around a few ideas of how to fill the underside of the cap for easy placement. I came up with hot glueing the inside of the cap to the brim. I went through about 200 glue sticks, which is where the big gun works best. I would fill the caps then leave them sitting downward (like a bowl with the glue facing up) to dry. AFTER the dried, I added just another little dollop of glue to stick it to the table. it was easier for me to glue the M down first and position the rest of the caps around it, moving outward.
Step 5: Coating With Resin
after you have the entire design hot glued down, it's time to resin. to prep the table from the resin running off, I put painters tape around the edge of the table, then a layer of duct tape with a lip that's high enough to prevent run off. (i put the painters tape underneath for easier removal and so the duct tape would come off without problem)
there were spaces where the tape didn't hold firm and the resin still dripped down, so make sure you cover your work area with garbage bags well!
I also stacked boxes on every side to help the tape hold strong....the resin can push the tape out a bit when you pour it.
the instructions for resin are pretty straight forward on the packaging, you mix the 2 bottles, stir, and pour. the resin dries fairly quickly so as soon as you mix it, use it all.
I did mine in 3 layers, allowing it to dry in between. the first to cover the entire table, the second to even it out, and the third to touch it up.
Step 6: Let It Dry
after your resin dries, pull off your tape! where the resin came through, the tape stuck so it took some prying and sanding to get the edges soft.
and TADA! mount your table and enjoy :)