Things You'll Need
- Bottle caps
- Solder paste
- Small torch
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dish soap
- 1 mm twist bit
Metal beer and soda caps have lots of uses in jewelry making, from little flux holders to the jewelry itself. Bottle cap beads show off the printed, often colorful art on the top of the caps. String a collection of them together, or use one as a centerpiece on a necklace or bracelet. To make these metal beads, you'll need to know some soldering basics and have the tools necessary. The tools are available at home and garden centers and jewelry supply shops.
Place a clean, dry bottle cap top down on a brick. Place another cap on top so they line up with the ruffled edges touching.
Put a small amount of soldering paste into an extra bottle cap. Using a toothpick, dab soldering paste on the area where the caps meet.
Turn on the torch. Touch the flame to the soldering paste, moving it back and forth until it turns silver all the way around the caps. Allow the soldered caps to cool.
Mix one-fourth cup vinegar and one teaspoon salt in a cup. Dip a toothbrush into the solution and lightly scrub the soldered area to remove the debris and oils from the paste. Wash with dish soap and water.
Cut two pieces of felt just larger than the bottle caps. Place a piece of felt on both of the flat sides of the soldered bottle caps to protect them. Clamp the protected soldered bottle caps in a vise.
Drill a 1-mm hole straight down through the side of the soldered bottle caps so you have two holes, one on top and one on the bottom.
Remove the bead from the vise and sand any rough edges.
Soldering takes practice. Start with some bottle caps that have no value. Twist-off caps work the best since they aren't bent when removed.
Wear protective goggles when drilling metal.
Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," Celebrations.com and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.