Bottle Cap Table top – DIY Tutorial
I have been working on a lot of different table tops using resin/epoxy. I have completed 2 can tops (where I cut open all of the cans, opened them up and laid them all down on the table then made a resin top), a wine cork table and now was ready to start my bottle cap table. My biggest challenge was keeping the resin from over flowing over the table and not wasting a lot. I tried foil, packaging tape and more; none of them worked too well and I always had leaks. So this one turned out great, with no epoxy spills, so I decided to write my blog on it since I have had a lot of people ask me how it was done! More pictures at the bottom of the other tables I’ve made.
The main difference with this table was the trim. I moved the trim up on my table to create a raised edge and caulking. I also made sure my work space was well covered with plastic (I used opened garbage bags some times and also used thin clear plastic that was bought in the painting section for covering furniture really cheap. (The first time my table got stuck to my glass table outside and I had to saw away the epoxy between them!) The third main difference was using gloves and sealing the trim with caulking to keep me and my work space more clean.
Cover your area with plastic (read above) really well so if any epoxy leaks it doesn’t get on anything.
Remove edge trim pieces if there are any (this will be re-applied later and higher up). Make sure your table is level as epoxy is self leveling and this will help a lot. It is an important step!
I didn’t remove my edge trim ’til after I laid the bottle caps, but would recommend doing this first.
Apply some caulking (or all adhesive type glue) to the table and smooth out to create an even look (I used white caulking as that is all I had. I would also recommend painting the table base the same color as the caulking or glue you will use so you don’t have to worry about spots showing.) This step is VERY important, as your bottle caps will float up if they are not glued down. Clear Caulking like I used (I think clear would be better).
Lay down your bottle caps in your design or pattern a few rows at a time so you can lay down the glue or caulking as you go so it doesn’t dry before your caps are laid.
Make sure your caps are pushed down so they won’t come up.
I also spray painted some bottle caps silver for Dahlia in the center. They didn’t stand out quite like I wanted them too. Here are some bottle caps you can buy. A local pub that you frequent may also be willing to save bottle caps for you. And drinking up is always an awesome idea!
Raise the edges (or create the edges) so they are about 1/4″ above the height of the bottle caps. This provides room for the bottle caps and the epoxy.
When attaching the edges, applying caulking to the edges so when they are attached to the table they fill in all the gaps that the epoxy may fall through. I used white caulking as this is all I had. I also spray painted the edges white to match the caulking around the entire table and if any caulking came out when the edges were nailed on it wouldn’t be noticeable.
Then use finishing nails or a nail gun to attach the edges back on. My edges were pieces of 1″x3″ wood. The tables were also one piece of wood from lowes or home depot that was 24″ wide.
Let the table sit over night to make sure the caps are adhered to the caulking. Also make sure the caulking or glue around the trim is dry and set in place.
Flip the table over and apply painters tape under the table where the pieces meet and on the corners. I always have leaks on the corners, so this is a realllllly good idea to make sure it is really sealed well. I can’t find my picture, but I made sure the tape really covered everything even though caulking was used too.
Mix the epoxy together per the instructions. I did a lot of research and this is the best and cheapest I could find. My table is about 2′ x 8′ and I need the entire gallon, so it is decently expensive. For this you need equal parts of each and need to stir stir stir. The epoxy goes from milky colored to white. I found it is best to use plastic stuff, disposable gloves (which I kept forgetting) and everything that you can throw away each time. I have read that some people use a blow dryer before using the epoxy to get ride of the bubbles before pouring helps, but I did not do this. Once it is mixed well (about 5 minutes), then start pouring the epoxy over the table top. I advise to do a small amount at a time to make sure everything you are using is working to your satisfaction (plastic and stir sticks are holding up). I also recommend laying a layer to just the top of the bottle caps, maybe a thin layer over and doing this in 2 parts. I found this best with all my tables with the bubbles. Don’t forget to use all of the epoxy you mixed, it does not store once mixed. So doing less than a cup at a time of each part for your first go is a good idea.
After your epoxy is all laid down (the first layer), use a blow torch to get all of the bubbles out. You can actually use a longer lighter for grilling, but this may take a while. You will see that as you go over the bubbles they will start to disappear (the smaller and larger ones). Once they are all gone walk away for a little while. Then come back and blow torch the bubbles that emerged again. Depending on the temperature, your time in between will change. You will also notice a point when the bubbles won’t come out anymore. You can poke them with something sharp and they may fill in. If they do not, then this is what the next layer or two are for I would also save a little bit of epoxy after your last layer (unmixed) so that you can fill in any bubbles on the last layer. I did about every 30 minutes to step out-side and blow torch out the bubbles. On really hot days (past 80) I would do 10-15. You may want to go more often your first go.
When going outside to blow torch the bubbles out, make sure there are no leaks. If there are any, put on disposable gloves and add more tape.
Wait about 1-3 days for the epoxy to completely harden (once again, depends on temperature where the table is).
Check for any bubbles and open them up so the next layer of epoxy can fill it in. Mix more epoxy together again following step 7. For my bottle cap table I only did two layers, and the second one was very thin.
Wait ’til completely dry, then remove all of the tape and you are done!