Shiny and Tiny: Coat Bottle Caps with Resin to Create Lustrous Little Works of Art

Posted on: 17 August 2015

If you want to make your flat bottle caps into earrings, pendants, or pins that will last for a long time, coating them with resin is the way to go. The resin will harden and protect the images or trinkets you've glued to the bottle caps. It will also make your pieces have a rich finish and shine.

Here's how to finish your bottle caps with resin:

First, decide how you'll decorate the bottle caps.

Small photographs work well, but you may also use images of pop culture icons, historic documents, and famous artworks you've printed off the internet. Other items you might glue to your bottle cap include

  • Watch parts
  • Beads
  • Glitter
  • Small shells
  • Tiny letters
  • Old watch faces

If you decide to use paper or photos inside the bottle cap, use a quarter to draw a circle on the backside of the image before cutting it out and it should fit perfectly. Be sure you trace the quarter with a pencil rather than a pen, since the ink may bleed to the other side.

Gather your materials.

Set up your work space in a well-ventilated area; the resin may produce strong fumes. Lay some type of plastic protection down on your table. A white kitchen garbage bag will work just fine.

The other items you will need are these:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Popsicle stick
  • Toothpick
  • White or clear glue
  • Art sealant or clear contact paper
  • High quality jewelry resin

Prepare the piece to be coated.

Use white glue to adhere your paper circles to the cap, as it won't change the color of the image. Use a paintbrush or your finger to spread a thin coat of glue over the back of the circle, making certain that you get an even layer of glue all the way to the edges. After gluing the paper to the cap, use the Popsicle stick to get good adhesive contact by pressing down along the paper circle's edges firmly.

After the glue dries completely, use art sealant to coat the paper. Use a paintbrush to get a nice even coat. The sealant, glue, and resin will darken some paper images. If you want an antique look, only use one coat of sealant. If you want the colors of your picture to remain bright, seal it 3 or 4 times, letting it dry between each coat. Be sure to use a sealant that won't make laser-printed or ink jet-printed colors run if you're using images from the Internet.

To add trinkets and other additions, like glitter, coat the cap with the glue first, then arrange your tiny artwork until it suits you. Use the toothpick to move items around so you don't leave glue fingerprints on beads or shiny bits. You can seal these 3-D bottle caps as well, but it's not necessary.

Mix the resin and fill the bottle cap.

You really want a museum-quality resin for this project. It won't bubble or turn yellow, and it hardens very well. It's sold with the resin in one bottle and a hardener in a second bottle. Follow the directions to prepare the resin, which usually take about 2 minutes of stirring the mixture and 5 minutes of letting it sit before use.

Pour the resin over your bottle cap art in a slow trickle so it will level itself and not pool or spill over the piece. You can use your toothpick to help spread any uneven layers. Let it dry for the recommended time on the resin bottle before using, and be careful when you check for hardness not to leave any fingerprints if the resin is still sticky. If the resin takes longer to harden, set it under a lamp or out in the sun (protected from bugs) and that should speed hardening.