DIY: Bottlecap Magnet Fail?

bottle cap magnets DIY

bottle cap magnets DIY

May I tap into your wisdom and extensive craft experience? Please? Here’s what’s happening:

For Betty’s Christmas Sibling Gifts, I thought bottle cap magnets would be just right. She would have a great time making them (she did!) and her brothers and sisters would be able to use them in their middle school lockers and on the family bulletin board, which is actually a magnet board, and on the fridge too.

bottle cap magnets DIY

The project has been going along swimmingly. But now I’m stuck. Take a look.

1) We started by gathering supplies. Empty bottle caps (we drink a lot of Izze soda pop), magnets, and clear gloss “quick drying” polyurethane. We also gathered pieces of pretty paper and little shiny things and itsy bitsy letters we could add to the bottlecaps.

bottle cap magnets DIYbottle cap magnets DIY

2) Betty used a 1-inch hole punch to cut out a circle of paper. She placed it in the bottle cap and then topped it with all the shiny/interesting things her 4-year-old heart desired.

bottle cap magnets DIYbottle cap magnets DIYbottle cap magnets DIY

3) Next, we decanted some polyurethane into a paper cup. (Tip: squeeze one bit of the cup together to make a spout.) Betty filled the bottlecaps with polyurethane. Then she used the handle tip of a plastic paint brush to move things around if they shifted during the pouring.

bottle cap magnets DIYbottle cap magnets DIYbottle cap magnets DIY

4) And that’s about it. We are waiting till they dry and then we’ll hotglue magnets to the back. Easy peasy. Betty made a total of 18 and they look great. She even made one for Mommy and Daddy. : ) Here are some that have just been filled and are waiting to dry:

bottlecap magnet DIYbottle cap magnets DIY

Here’s where the fail comes in. It has been 5 days and they’re still not dry. Not even pretending to be close to dry. Not only that, they’re also bubbling and yellowing and doing strange things. Ugh! They’re pretty much ruined. Clearly, I should have filled them with something other than polyurethane, but I’m not sure what.

We have plenty supplies left and we can definitely start from scratch, but I need suggestions of what I should use instead of polyurethane

If it helps, the inspiration for this project came from seeing one of those countertops that has been filled with things like charms and bottle caps and bits of ephemera. The little pieces are then covered with some sort of liquid that dries hard and clear (a liquid which is apparently not polyurethane).

Need more sibling gift ideas? We made several fun projects this year: Monogram MugsBleached Out TeesCustom Leather Patches and Photo Snowglobes. You can also find a list of projects from past Christmases here.

172 thoughts on “DIY: Bottlecap Magnet Fail?”

      1. I use… DECO ART TRIPLE THICK … comes in 2oz & 4oz at Michaels & Hobby Lobby & some Wal Mart’s. No mixing.. but pricey-6-8.00
        Less stinky and you can paint it on or pour inside bottle caps.

  1. Definitely resin- that’s what people use for those nifty filled tabletops and stuff. There’s also “aqua-resin” which apparently is the safe version (regular resin is super toxic to work with).

  2. Those look great! I made some of these a few years ago when I worked in a scrapbook store and I used a product called Glossy Accents by Ranger. If you have an Archiver’s near you they carry it. Thanks for posting all these siblings gift. They are such great ideas!

    1. Diamond Glaze is the name of the product. I use it on a variety of things, works fab! Would have worked well for this bottle cap project. Google it to find their product page and a supplier. It’s like the stuff that Mod Podge makes, but I think it’s better.

      1. In my experience, Diamond Glaze’s glossy luster goes flat, even milky sometimes, after awhile. The resin stays nice and clear for a very long time.

  3. I thought all the clear plastic crafty things were made with resin, but I’m not sure if that’s the same thing or not… A google search brings up a bunch of resin craft stuff though, so maybe it just needs to be processed differently?

  4. Mod Podge Dimensional Magic would be perfect- I used it recently to make bottle cap necklaces that are the same concept. Also it is nice and light so it won’t weigh your magnets down. It is much easier to use too, since it comes in a squeeze top bottle. You may have to order it online ( I couldn’t find it where I live in Colorado Springs) but it is a great product to work with. Your magnets are still adorable- I hope you find a workable solution!

    1. Yep, that’s what I’m using, Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. Got the idea off someone’s else’s blog. Good job on your project. I was just checking out blog’s to see what other people where doing design wise. Oh, and I bought my at Jo Ann’s Craft store for under $5 if I remember right.

  5. My friend makes jewelry from bottle caps just like this. She uses resin! It will stay clear, dry evenly and hard as rock!

  6. I would try PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue. It’s a bookbinding glue but you can use it for other crafts and it’s super strong. It looks white like Elmer’s but dries clear.

  7. There is a great product called “envirotex lite”, it is a resin and you should be able to find it at a craft store. In Utah they carry it at Roberts Crafts, buy the smallest bottle they have.
    After you mix it, when you are pouring it on – if you get any little bubbles, use a straw to gently blow them out. When they are how you want them let them sit overnight and they should be hard as a rock!
    If you have any more questions feel free to email me- Good Luck!

  8. I second using Diamond Glaze, the latest version is called DG3. I’ve gotten mine at a bead store, but you can also get it from JoAnn Fabric at
    I use it for making pendant necklaces, it’s much easier to use than resin. I use Modge Podge to tack things in place, then do the diamond glaze. I use a pin to poke bubbles and push them out. Only thing I’ve found is to not use images I print out with an ink jet printer. Scrapbook paper works best

  9. I did a project like this a few years ago and I used an acrylic based epoxy sealant (the kind that comes in two bottles and then you mix it together) from Michaels. It took a day to dry to tacky, and another day to dry completely. I still have the magnets on my fridge and they look great!

  10. I would love to know an alternative to two-part resin, which is not-so-easy to work with. Before i had kids, I had a fantasy of sneaking around town at night and filling all of the big cracks in the sidewalk with plastic fish encased in resin!

  11. My favorite is a product called Ice Resin, that I use when I make photo jewelry. I like this one because it is easy to use since you don’t have to mix the two solutions together…

    But you can also but the solutions and mix them yourself (better value)

    It takes about 48 hrs to dry.

    I also like Gel Du Soleil for a quicker finish, but you need to either hold it under a UV lamp or put it outside in the sun to cure. This method only takes about 20 min. There is also a larger size bottle if you need more.

    The method that would work best, depends on the materials you are using. The Gel won’t set if it seeps under anything.

    The video on the bottom Gel link shows the difference between the two methods.

    Good Luck!

  12. I have yet to try this but one of the bloggers I’ve been following for years, Cathe Holden of _Just Something I Made_ uses something called _Amazing Glaze_ which is an embossing powder you can heat up in your oven. The cool thing about the embossing powder method is that if things don’t turn out just right, you only need to reheat the powder then carefully make your adjustments::

  13. Finally one I can answer!
    My daughter did bottle cap necklaces for her birthday party. We used “Glossy Accents” clear, dimensional embellishment. I found it in the scrapbooking section of the craft store. It comes in a 2oz bottle and in either crackle or non crackle. (I used non)

    One thing we learned this weekend when trying to make magnets for teachers is that when you put in the 1″ circle that you cut out it really needs to be glued in. Glue stick works just fine. And a bit thicker paper is better. No typing paper. And no washable markers. (we learned all that this weekend!)

    This stuff dries in a few hours, though I asked my kids to wait till morning.

  14. My friend and I did this using melted crayons. We slowly melted them a drip-drop from one and a drip-drop from another. They made swirls and marbled. We didn’t put any do-dads in them, though.

    I have no idea what you could use to make it clear, but if you wanted it opaque, melted crayons for sure.

  15. Well, I’d say plenty of folks have given you some options. So I’ll just say LOVE IT! And I now know what my 4 year old is making his grandparents for Christmas. So let me know what product you end up using!

  16. As a card carrying craftoholic I will add to the resin chorus. It will dry the hardest and keep your magnets nice forever. Just make sure you mix it up and apply it with disposable stuff, because it will basically be on whatever it touches forever. Resin can bubble as well, but you can get those out with a heat gun if you have one (or can get one at True Value).

  17. My first thought was Diamond Glaze and it looks like I’m not the only one. I’ve used it on similar projects and it is rad stuff. In Denver you can find it at Archivers.

  18. I’m a huge fan of both Diamond Glaze and 3D Crystal Lacquer. Either would be great. And while I wouldn’t necessarily go around drinking either of them (!) they’re less toxic – or at least less fumey (yep, it’s a word) than the resin options.

  19. I’ve never worked with resin, but I do have to say I love acrylic gel. You can find it at an art store, it’s basically acrylic paint without color, and you can add color if you want, or swirl it in, which looks COOL. It’s pretty thick, so can hold peaks if you want to do something like that. It dries flexible. It’s also non-toxic. Really cute idea, good luck!

  20. I did this last year for my nieces and nephews. I hand drew the alphabet. I used resin (2 parts, one’s the catalyst) and it dried in a day. I noticed some yellowing, but I think that’s from the glue I used to first adhere the cut-outs to the bottle cap. Resin will do the trick! I also cut-out pictures from magazines and those didn’t yellow. I think steering clear of white or light coloured paper will aid with that yellowing problem. Good luck!

  21. I’m using easycast (you can find it at michael’s). If you are using paper with it you need to seal the paper–a couple of coats of mod podge on the front back and sides will do the trick. Good luck with the second try.

  22. We covered our images with packing tape (to keep them clear), then poured resin into the cap (it takes about 24 hours to dry). I’m not sure how it will work with the sparkly bits, but probably worth an experiment.

  23. Lol, I don’t know why the word FAIL is so funny. I laugh EVERY. TIME.

    I think epoxy resin is what you need, though the fumes make it not craft friendly. I look forward to your solution. The magnets are adorable!

  24. or this is amazing glaze (an embossing powder) and is similar to diamond glaze (but cheaper) I sealed my paper using modpodge and then poured in the amazing glaze and baked them in the toaster oven until the glaze goes clear. Then all you wait for is for them to cool. Sorry it didn’t work for you guys, they look adorable :) Let me know if you have any ?s.

  25. Acrylic resin. We’ve beenplaying with it recently! It dries clear, doesn’t yellow, or you can add a tint (we tinted some white as well). Good news also, quick drying!

  26. I would also recommend using a liquid medicine syringe to “inject” the resin instead of pouring it. You have a little more control over the resin and can add / subtract some if necessary.

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