Q. Do you need another reason to drink beer?
A. Bottle cap magnets recycle beer bottle caps.
While you can make bottle cap magnets with a strong, clear crafter’s glue, I prefer the clear, hard gloss that you get from epoxy. Epoxy is simpler to use than you think, though, and the easy-mix, low-scent epoxy that I use is simple enough that my eight-year-old can use it.
A one-inch circular hole punch is the easiest way to trim images to the perfect size for your bottle cap magnets, so grab one and go crazy. My favorite images for bottle cap magnets include:
- comic book pages
- kid art (draw the one-inch circle on thick paper for them, then punch it out after they’ve finished their art)
- dictionary pages
- map pages
- stash scrapbook paper (after you pour the epoxy into these, add glitter!)
Make sure that your bottle caps are clean and dry. If you’d like to paint the caps, do this first; painting the caps is a good way to make sure that they match, but I like to be able to turn the magnets over and see what brand of beer they’re from, so I rarely do this.
Paint the inside bottom of the bottle cap with Mod Podge, then set the image on top of the wet glue and lightly press it down. Coat the top of the image with another layer of Mod Podge. Let dry for several hours.
Now, epoxy CAN be tricky, but it can also be easy, so don’t freak out about it. I used Gorilla Epoxy, and I like it for three reasons:
- It dispenses from dual syringes, so I don’t have to measure.
- It’s low-odor, so I can use it in the house and around my kids.
- It comes with a cap, so I (or my eight-year-old with the lower attention span) can make just a couple of bottle cap magnets at a time, then go off to play Super Mario Bros. for a while.
Epoxy comes in two parts, so whatever brand you use, the idea is to measure each part carefully, then combine them gently. I re-used the plastic packaging that contained the Gorilla Epoxy as a disposable mixing bowl, and used the popsicle stick that came with the epoxy; whatever you use, you can re-use it forever as your epoxy mixing tools.
You want to stir gently to avoid mixing bubbles into the epoxy, but you also want to stir thoroughly, until the two different materials (they’re also slightly different colors, which will help you out) combine and start their chemical reaction.
When the epoxy is stirred into one uniform color, scoop up a bit of it onto the flat side of your popsicle stick stirrer and plop it into the bottle cap, using the inside edge of the bottle cap to scrape the epoxy off the stick and into the cap. You only need enough epoxy in each cap to completely cover the image (although you can fill the cap to the brim with epoxy, if you prefer that look), so tilt the bottle cap to allow the liquidy epoxy to run and coat the entire image, then set each cap aside to allow the epoxy to cure for a full 24 hours.
Choose a pretty strong magnet to back each bottle cap, because the magnet will also have to support the weight of the bottle cap as well as whatever you’re pinning to the fridge with it. Glue the magnet to the center back of each bottle cap using either more epoxy or a strong super glue; allow the magnets to cure again for the time listed with your glue’s instructions.
[Gorilla sent me this Gorilla Epoxy for free, because I can't recommend a product if I haven't used it to glue something to something else without also gluing my fingers together!]