Handmade Charms

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Making charms from recycled and repurposed bottlecaps is easy.

Charms made from bottle caps:


handmade bottlecap charms
click for larger photo

These charms were made from bottlecaps and old calendar images. This little bottle cap charm tutorial gives you general information to make charms. Feel free to experiment, embellish and do your own thing!

Tools you will need:
small pliers (for bending rim flat)
hammer and nail or awl (to punch hole)
toaster oven or heat gun (for removal of cap liner and for melting UTEE)

Other Supplies (Mix and Match):
Images, text, or colorful paper
Tiny charms or objects
Glitter
Beads
Jump Rings
Tacky Glue, white glue, or equivilant

Clear Coating Material (suggestions):
clear UTEE or
Diamond Glaze or
Resin and Catalyst or
equivilant for clear coating

Prep:
Clean your caps and remove the rubber liners. The easiest way I found to remove the liners is by gently heating the caps in a toaster oven (about 250 degrees) for about 7 or 8 minutes and using tweezers to grab the liner and pull out. Don't forget your oven mitts - the caps will be rather hot while you are removing the liners.

Do this in a well ventilated room, and be careful not to overheat the caps!   Place the caps on a piece of tin foil on a cookie sheet or small pan. Be sure the oven has fully preheated before placing the caps inside. If the caps become overheated, the liners will melt and be very hard to remove. You want to warm them NOT melt them.

Keep testing them, you will know when they are warm enough. When you grasp the edge of the liner with the tweezers, it should pull off in one piece. This does take a bit of force (harder than pulling off a bandaid).

You may want to bend your cap edges flat (as I did with caps shown above). Use your pliers and work slowly around the edge of the cap, bending a little bit at a time until the edge is flat. If you want a deep area to work with, you may choose to leave the caps unbent.

Playtime:
Once the liners are removed, you can start to play with your images and goodies. A one inch circle punch is just about the right size to punch your background image. Glue your background images securely with white glue or tacky glue.

Add some pizazz to your caps by using glitter, beads or other small objects. Glue them securely and cover completely with your clear coating of choice.

You can opt to work in layers with thin clear coats between them -or- complete your art first and add one thick layer of clear coat at the end. (If you are using Resin, you will want to pour one thick coat.)

Clear Coat:
clear UTEE: UTEE needs to be heated with either a heat gun or in a toater oven. The main benefit of using UTEE is that once it has been heated and removed from the heat, it cools quickly and you can finish your charm right away. The main drawback is that you have to be careful that you don't overheat the UTEE. If you do it will bubble and cloud up. Sometimes you can fix it by reheating, sometimes the images become saturated and yucky! I made several charms with UTEE and only had 1 that turned out poorly.

Diamond Glaze: I loved using the Diamond Glaze. I was able to work in layers and create a bit of depth between the images and text. The main benefits of using Diamond Glaze are no heat required and no toxic fumes. The big drawback is that it takes several hours to dry (mainly overnight). No instant gratification, and the charms must be placed on a level surface where they won't be disturbed.

I have no experience with Resin.

Finishing:
Finish your caps by punching a small hole in the rim and attaching a jump ring. You may wish to paint the reverse side of your cap. I used Testors metallic enamel model paint. (Paint thinner clean up and several hours drying time.)

Add beads, charms or other danglies to your jump ring to finish your charm. I used simple brass safety pins with glass seed beads.


Links:

International Charm Exchange
If you want to see handmade charms, this is the place to visit!

The following sites feature a variety of art swaps:
  ATCsForAll.com
  Swap-Bot