Dragon Scales




About: Mad scientist, woodworker, creative evil, artist, tinkerer, father of five creative hooligans.

I was inspired by this artist's bottle cap fish to create my own bottle cap dragon. 540 beer bottle caps (170 Amber Bock, 206 Killians, 68 Budweiser Select, 96 Budweiser) make up this 41 x 43 inch piece.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Planning

I took some time to draw out the design in my notebook and to measure the size of a standard bottle cap.

To save on the amount of caps I would need to complete the design, I decided to flatten them out with a hammer; carefully avoiding folding the sides over.

Step 2: Layout on Cardboard

After transferring the design to a sheet of cardboard, I laid out the bottle caps to get an idea of how many I would need for the project. It would have taken me years to accumulate enough caps so I emailed my friends: Beer Drinkers Unite!

Note: It took me 5 months to gather and flatten enough caps.

Step 3: Transfer to Plywood

I then cut out the cardboard and traced it onto a sheet of 3/8" birch plywood. I chose birch over hard-board or MDF for its rigidity.

Once traced onto the plywood, I carefully cut it out with a jigsaw.

Step 4: Applying the Caps

I started fastening the caps with a hot glue gun but it was taking forever (and I had a cheap glue gun.) I decided to use silicon sealant instead. This greatly sped up the process.

Overall I used 3 tubes of silicon and 1/2 tube of construction adhesive.

Step 5: The Finished Product.

I added some touch-up paint along the edges where the caps didn't fully cover and put a couple of screws and some piano wire on the back to hang it with. The finished piece (41" x 43") now hangs next to my bar in my basement.

This was a really fun, albeit time consuming, project. 540 caps = 90 six packs = ~$7 per six pack (depending on the brand) = ~$630 worth of beer.

I've started collecting caps for my next project -- if you own a bar and want to help out, collect your caps and mail them to me. Or if you're local, I'll come out and pick them up!

The Instructables Book Contest

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    31 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I do plan on making this, as my cousin in Wisconsin mailed me a bunch of beer caps. Probably well over 500. I haven't sat down to count them. Soon this will be hanging in my basement. :)


    12 years ago

    That looks super!! Hey, next time you want to make something like this, why not have an "instructables" party and everyone can bring a 6-pack :) That would make for a rock'n night!!

    6 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    Yeah 90 six packs would be quite a party. I'm still (slowly) collecting bottle caps -- I need to find a bigger source.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    if you go to the beach there are TONS of caps underneath those restaurants that are on wooden platforms.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    see if you can get in to a collage party, there is easily 500+ bottles of beer if you get in to the right party


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You could go to a nightclub or a bar, and maybe give them some finished art in exchange for the caps.


    8 years ago on Step 5

    Cool. I have a beer cap project in mind. I wondered if you flattened the caps out before adhering to plywood? thanks dodib

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    Yep, I spent many of tedious hours hammering caps flat. By doing so, it made it easier to glue them to the plywood backing.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    I believe your hunk metal might just be a.... hunk of metal.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    I love it! What a lovely dragon for decorating the walll ... it looks awesome .. since i dont drink beer .. i might try something similar with toffee wrappers ...


    9 years ago on Step 5

    its really cool but needs sum arms and legs,