Thursday, August 02, 2007

Make Your Own Bottle Cap Earrings (a Tutorial):

I used to make heaps and heaps of bottle cap jewelry to sell on my site. My favorite has always been making fun creations with vintage caps. Well, due to an annoyingly complicated and somewhat unfair mess, I am no longer selling much bottle cap jewelry on the PinkBird site. So...why not share the "secrets" of making bottle cap earrings with all of you? I have a few special sets of bottle cap jewelry that I've made with soda or beer caps that I have enjoyed while traveling. This is a great project to inexpensively make your own unique souvenirs. Here goes:

You will need:
-at least 2 bottle caps
-pliers
-hammer and nail (a drill may also work, though I prefer this method)
-a surface (like an old piece of wood) that you can hammer on/into
-permanent marker (optional)
-coarse sand paper (optional)
-at least 2 jump rings
-2 earring findings
-any other beads or findings your heart desires!

First, use the pliers to lift the edges of the bottle cap crown. This makes it easier to hammer a hole into the edge of the cap, as you will be hammering into a flat surface. You can choose to lift the edges all the way around the cap, or just lift one part, hammer the hole, then use the pliers to place that section of the cap back in line with the rest. (See pictures).

Second, lay your cap on your hammer-proof (or hammer approved) area. I use an old board as you can see in the photo. Now you may want to bust out that permanent marker to mark exactly where you want to make your hole. You will be making this hole on the (newly) flattened edge of the cap.

Next, take your nail and line it up with the mark you've made, hold the nail and gently hammer the nail into the cap. Do this lightly, as you don't want to damage the cap and you will be removing the nail so you want it to be easy to get out. (Note, despite what it looks like in the picture, you will want to hold the nail while hammering--I just couldn't hold the hammer, nail, and the camera all at once!)

Here is where you may want to take that coarse sandpaper and smooth down any sharp parts of the cap or around the hole you just made. Like anything else, jewelry is no fun to wear if it's stabbing or hurting you. Do be careful not to scratch your special bottle cap!

Then, take a jump ring and open it with your jewelry pliers.

Next, carefully thread the ring thorugh the hole you made in the bottle cap. Once it's through, close the jump ring.

Finally, open your earring finding at attach it to the jump ring. (Depending on the type of finding you've chosen, you may need to add another jump ring in order for the earrings to hang properly).

And now, you're done and ready to wear your awesome, handmade earrings! Pat yourself on the back for being rad enough to create something original all by yourself!