Another holiday is upon us and this time we celebrate the dad’s in our life. Father’s Day is June 21 this year so it's a great time to get creative.
This go round we’re going to make resin beer cap coasters. Myléne Hillam
, one of our ‘What Inspires
’ interviews, loves to work with resin and sells these kits on her website
. When I saw Myléne's kit I got very excited because I have a large collection of beer caps I've been saving for years just waiting for a project!
Since Myléne can only ship resin to addresses in Australia (where she lives), I decided to see if I could collect all the materials on my own. Myléne’s coaster mold was bigger than mine (she makes her own molds) and could fit 9 bottle caps while the one I had only fit 5 caps. Not to worry; mine still had plenty of room for a glass or a bottle.
When you design your coasters, use a theme and make them more fun and personal. The theme of my first coaster was craft beers. I had enough resin to make a second coaster so my co-worker Chris brought in caps of beers from Michigan and Canada. You can use caps you got on vacation, on your honeymoon, from a certain city or any combination you can come up with! If your dad doesn’t drink beer, you can also use metal caps that come on some soda bottles or water bottles. I like to use caps off of beers that I've actually enjoyed. But if you'd like to do this project and don't have time to collect them, many restaurants and bars will put some aside for you. The caps just need to be pretty flat and can't be very bent or you won't be able to fit them all into the mold.
This isn’t a project that children can do alone; resin is a chemical and the coaster needs to be shaved down at the end. But you can get kids involved by having them help pick out the caps you’re going to use.
Included below are links to where I purchased my materials online. You should also be able to pick up all the items at your local crafts store. If you order online, resin must be shipped via ground delivery so be sure you allow enough time to receive it and for the resin to completely cure.
5-9 bottle caps (depending on the size of your mold)
Small surface protectors
6 plastic measuring cups
Wooden stir sticks
Measure 30ml (1 oz) of resin and 30ml of hardener and pour them into a mixing cup. Mix the resin according to the directions that came with the bottles. After stirring, let the resin sit for 5 minutes to allow bubbles to rise to the top. Pop the remaining bubbles by blowing through a straw on the top of the resin.
Take your bottle caps and at the top of each one, on the inside ridge, place a marking using a permanent pen (if you look closely at the picture above, you'll see a red pen mark in one of the cap ridges). This will help make sure that the bottle caps are all facing the same direction when you put them in the mold.
Put the bottle caps on a flat surface (I used the top of a shoe box) and fill them to just below the rim with resin. This helps the caps not to float when you go to place them in the mold. Use the toothpicks to move any bubbles that got trapped around the rubber seal. Push them to the surface and pop them using the straw method.
Pour the rest of the resin that you’ve mixed into the mold and make sure it’s spread out into the sides and corners. Pop any bubbles. Put the mold to the side so the resin can cure for several hours. Cover it with a box or lid to keep dust out of the resin. This layer is the top the coaster and will serve as your base while you make the coaster.
After the resin has set for a few hours, mix another 60ml (2oz) batch of resin and hardener (1 oz of each) and mix. Pour a thin layer of the new batch of resin into the mold making sure all the edges and corners are filled. Pop any bubbles. Then place the bottle caps, with the pen markings all facing the same direction, in the just poured resin. You can move them around slightly with a toothpick as they might slide a little as you add each one. Make sure that the bottle cap edges aren’t touching the edge of the mold.
Pour what’s left of the resin you have already mixed over the top of the bottle caps making sure that they’re all covered. Fill just to below the top of the mold. Pop any bubbles that get caught around the bottle caps. Put the mold aside to cure for 24 hours and cover with a box.
24 hours after pouring the second set of resin, the coaster can be removed from the mold. This is where you want to use all of your patience and not take it out early. If you don’t let the coaster set long enough, it will feel sticky and you’ll be able to see your fingerprints in it.
Gently pull the mold away from the coaster.
You’ll see that your coaster has a high edge around the bottom. Put your dust mask on and then file the excess resin all the way around the bottom. Be careful your file doesn’t slip since you can scratch the top and sides. Get the edge as level to the bottom of the coaster as you can. You will see you have a slight indentation on the underside of the coaster. Myléne fills her's in with more resin to even the bottom out. I experimented both ways and found that the indentation doesn't bother me or affect how the coaster sits once you put the protectors on, as long as there isn't a massive gap. So if I did these again I wouldn't fill them in for time purposes.
Peel the surface protectors off the backing and put one in each corner of the coaster, get your favorite beverage and enjoy!
- The best mold to use is a silicone coaster mold, which is the type that Myléne sells with her kits. I couldn’t find one online (although I know they’re out there!) so I ordered a polypropylene mold. Which ever type you get, make sure that you get a mold that can be used with resin. Not all molds work with resin.
- When it’s time to take the coaster out of the mold, if you can’t get it out, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes and then pull on the sides of the mold. They sell a liquid mold release spray but I didn’t want to spend the money and I didn’t need it. After placing it in the freezer it was very easy to remove the coaster.
- Use your patience while waiting for each stage of resin to cure. If you don’t give it enough time (including when it’s in its soft cure right before you put the bottle caps in) and touch it, your fingerprints will show up on the coaster.
- Be sure the plastic cups you use to mix aren't wax coated or the wax could come out and get imbedded into your resin.
- I wasn't able to remove all the bubbles out of my mold. I tried letting the resin sit for 5 minutes and used the toothpicks and straw. When placed on a table you can't see them, but held up to an OttLite, you see this:
Since this is a beer cap coaster (and beer has bubbles), the bubbles didn't bother me. However if I had placed any thing else in the coaster it might distract from the final appearance. You might need to experiment on what works best for you to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible.
- If you want to make more than 1 coaster it is possible to re-use your cups but the resin has to be completely cleaned out and completely dried before starting again. Any residue left in the cups before starting again can affect the new batch of resin and it might not set correctly. Be sure to Google how to remove resin and follow the directions to make sure you have completely cleaned out your cups.
You need to login
Thanks so much for highlighting my resin coaster kits in your post. I think your coasters look great and I love that the caps you can get are so different to the ones that I can get here in Australia. Such a fun gift for Dad for Father's Day!