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. As I was reading your post I was thinking “Polyurethane? It should be Diamond Glaze!” It dries quickly and is a lot easier! I hope Betty is up for making some new ones!

  2. What about modge podge? My husband has been spraying my daughter’s craft projects with a polyurethane and EVERY ONE of the yellowed. I don’t know the brand offhand – but anything white turns yellow. Very frustrating.

    I love your blog, btw! I’m making a batch of monogrammed mugs this year! Sewing up some mug rugs to with them.

  3. Yep, for sure clear resin. Go with whatever the best brand (usually the most expensive) is because it’s less likely to yellow. I get mine at an art supply store, but you may be able to get it at a hardware store. I’ve never thought to look there before. Good luck! :o)

  4. Lennie Dusek-Bryan

    We enjoyed this project last year during my daughter’s birthday party. We made the decorated bottle caps into necklaces & used MODGE PODGE to gloss the design. White glue to stick things down, modge podge to gloss it. -And the girls were able to wear their new jewelry home after only 30 minutes or so!

  5. I actually use something from Ranger something i get from Michaels or Hobby Lobby (Ranger is my favorite (with the pink background)- usually dries over night or in a couple hours but Anita’s works too)

    Liquitex – Glazing Medium & put it into a bottle with a spout & cap so i can control how much and when it comes out. and it usually dries overnight and you can add multiple layers without distorting your pieces.

    I did a project similar to this in my senior year of college (for a collage class)… the glazing medium worked well because i did 150 bottle caps (i bought them off of ebay, i couldnt drink that much by myself lol) and for the smaller projects i do, the Ranger works perfectly.

    I hope this helps! They look great!! :)

  6. Resin is best but probably not four year old friendly, Ultra Thick Embossing Power works great for these though, just melt them in the oven on a low heat with the door open.

  7. I agree with all of the information that you have been given, I will say as someone living at altitude as well, you HAVE TO MAKE SURE you mix the two parts of an epoxy-resin. I had a project that had areas did not dry several years ago, I found that it was due to improper mixing of the expoxy. Just make sure that you mix it for a solid five minutes and you should be fine. What a cute craft, I can’t wait to see them finished up!

  8. epoxy resin, fo shizzle!
    my husband uses it for everything around here and it dries very quickly. it will look just like you need it too… like a full, clear puddle… but totally DRY.

  9. As others hinted at, you may want to secure the paper, beads and other shiny things with glue before you fill the caps. Trying to adjust their position in gloppy resin or glaze might not be so easy.

  10. I used epoxy (resin) for mine. Purchased at Michaels. And it might help to glue pieces down before pouring the epoxy to keep them in place. It takes about 24 hours to dry. Good luck!

  11. I’ve used Glossy Effects and Diamond Glaze successfully before. A bottle should only run you $4 or so and should fill up all those bottle caps. Sorry about the polyurathane. What a bummer.

  12. Hey Gabby….

    I think its resin !! Tell Betty that they look adorable anyway and good luck with the next batch ..I am certain that resin will work !!! PS: You are such a great and creative MUM !!!!!

    LSAT MOM !!

    Lori Mac =0)

  13. There is something the craft stores seel which is similar to diamond glaze. It is by the Inkessentials brand. Maybe that is what the Dimensional Magic is. It runs about $8.50, but with a coupon you could cut that in half. They have a matte finish, a glossy finish, and even a crackle finish; it just depends on the look you are going for.

    A word of caution… I used those same magnets at a YW activity on those fun clear stones mixed with scrapbook paper to make “prayer rock” magnets. Those magnets are only strong enough to hold up the rock. If I add a sheet of paper the rock slides down the fridge. If you want them purely as decor they will work great, but if you want them to function, you may have to invest in stronger magnets.

    Good luck and Merry Christmas:)

  14. I’ve successfully used Easy Cast, a clear casting epoxy resin. You mix two liquids together (follow directions) and pour it in. You can use a small coffee-stirrer/straw to gently blow the tiny bubbles away if they appear. The resin dries clear and will be dry in about 24 hours for the bottle caps. There are other brands and most come in two sizes; you don’t need much for bottle caps. I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but they don’t carry it anymore. Sometimes university book stores with art departments sell them for the sorority paddles. Good luck!

  15. Have you seen the Klutz bottle cap kit? It comes with a product called 3D Crystal Lacquer. It’s non toxic and dries quickly! You can order replacement bottles (and bags of smooth edged bottle caps) from their website.

  16. what a beautiful idea! love it. cant wait to hear what corrects your issue tho. i have a collection of vintage caps i got at a barn sale that im dyin to use for a project like this.

  17. Hey Gabby,
    2 other people have said what I would have said. The new product called Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is what I would do. It sounds like it adds the cool dimension aspect to the bottle caps.

    Sorry that had to happen to Betty!

  18. I used to make lap board and finish them with this really sticky stuff that turns plasticky called “Pour-on.” It dries very hard and looks really cool because it’s thicker than poly. I think you can get it at your local hardware store. Hope this helps.

    Oh, it’s pretty stinky, though, before it dries.


  19. you want a scrapbooking product called Diamond Glaze. It will dry over a few hours, or overnight if you really pile it on. I did these with fishbowl-themes as my group craft at the special needs camp I volunteered at last year. No odor or anything!

  20. While it is not very kid friendly (this would be the grown-up part of the project!) Envirotex Lite is a super easy to use epoxy resin that is available at Michaels and Joanns. Its super clear and is really easy to mix. It does smell bad so do it in a ventilated place. Also its NOT good to get on your fingers!

  21. Funny, we made bottle cap magnets a few weeks ago with Christmas-y paper. We used Modge Podge to coat and seal and scattered seed beads around the edges (glued using white glue). But I’m not sure if the Modge Podge would work for you on top of the plastic stuff. Works great for paper, though!

  22. Hi! Sorry if my comment is a bit late but I have worked with a few different types of resin and the like and as a general rule poly requires a hardening substance added to make it set… perhapes that is why they are not drying??

  23. Rather than read all 94 to decide if this is already suggested I’ll just say it.
    Mod podge comes in a squeeze tube. I use it for washer necklaces and I am positive it would work well for your project. I have also used Stampin’ Up’s Crystal Effects. Both dry hard and clear.

  24. wow! i don’t have anything to help, but i just have to say;
    1. even design mom’s crafts fail sometimes!
    2. you have the craftiest readers ever!!
    thanks again!

  25. FYI as a former Sherwin Williams (aka Minwax) employee, Polyurethane is an oil based product and will naturally yellow, it does it to your wood floors and is why it is not recommended to be used over top paints (among other reasons). If you still wanted to use a urethane and keep it free of yellowing you would want to use polycryclic which is water based, much safer for interior use, and recommended for use over oil and water based paint, wall paper, etc. Just for future reference!

  26. Some of the above posters are correct, resin. Glossy Accents by Ranger or Diamond Glaze by Judikins will work in about an hour. They are available here in the Denver Metro area at: Archiver’s, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s. If the resin isn’t to your liking the other products are easy and have a tiny tip which makes putting the glaze in easy for a little one. They come out looking milky and dry clear in an hour or two.

  27. we used resin when doing ours. we also sealed the paper with modge podge after putting in inside the bottle cap. It gives it a little protection from the resin turning it yellow and getting wet. it also helps the little do dads stick in there. good luck!

    1. Yes, I just read about this and it does seem the way to go! I want to go get some, too. I hate stinky chemicals and this is water-based.

  28. One of my 5th grade students made a bottlecap magnet for me as a goodbye present when I finished my clinical observation. I happen to be subbing for the class tomorrow, I’ll ask her what she used. It’s filled with clear hardened whatever it is!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top