Handmade Jewelry Using Bottle Caps: Upcycled Pop Tab Pendant

Handmade Jewelry Using Bottle Caps: Upcycled Pop Tab Pendants


Discarded bottle caps and pop tabs gain new life transformed into funky jewelry creations. These recycling leftovers morph into trendy pendants, rings, and embellishments with some imagination and simple jewelry making techniques.

This guide covers repurposing steel and plastic caps from soda bottles, milk jugs, and cans into unique wearable upcycled art. Learn how to cut, reshape, embellish, and assemble salvaged plastic and metal tabs into one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces full of personality.

Benefits of Using Bottle Caps for Jewelry Making

Bottle caps offer many advantages as an artsy jewelry making material:

  • Provides virtually unlimited free material sourced from recyclables
  • Keeps waste from landfills by upcycling into decorative accessories
  • Fun, funky medium allowing whimsical jewelry designs and motifs
  • Lightweight and durable for comfortable wearable art pieces
  • Colorful plastic adds pops of brightness to designs
  • Metallic bottle caps take patinas, paints, and engraving nicely
  • Allows relatively easy manipulation compared to metal smithing
  • Botanical shapes when cut transform into floral focal points

Must-Have Tools for Working with Bottle Caps

The right basic tools allow cutting, reshaping, and joining caps:

  • Snipping pliers – Cut plastic and thin aluminum caps cleanly
  • Jeweler’s saw – Cut notches, slits, and custom shapes from steel caps
  • Disc cutter – Quickly punch clean circles or flower shapes from caps
  • Nippers – Trim errant edges close to surfaces neatly
  • Steel bench block – Provides hard surface for hammering caps
  • Ball peen hammer – Gently shapes capsule domes and textured surfaces
  • Paint pens – Color and decorate plastic and metal material
  • Permanent marker – Designs transfer directly onto raw material
  • Waterproof sandpaper – Smooths cut edges safely even on plastic

Must-Have Bottle Caps for Jewelry Making

With many types and varieties, almost any cap offers potential:

  • Plastic soda bottle caps – Colorful and lightweight for charm dangles
  • Metal bottle caps – Take engraving and hammered textures beautifully
  • Plastic milk jug caps – Cut into pretty flower shapes and beads
  • Large plastic lids – Good blank canvases for decoupage and painting
  • Can pop-tops – Tab mechanism becomes part of steampunk designs
  • Exotic liquor caps – Ornate and graphic designs when cut down
  • Vintage bottle caps – Classic logos and branding for retro jewelry
  • Plastic capsules – Translucent clear domes perfect for embedding objects
  • Metal spray caps – Intricate nib shapes morph into floral motifs
  • Clear plastic cosmetic caps – Miniature dome shapes ideal for embellishing

Techniques for Transforming Bottle Caps into Jewelry

Follow these methods for upcycling recyclable caps and tabs into wearable art:

  • Use a hole punch or drill to pierce plastic and metal caps for stringing or attaching findings
  • Cut shapes using scissors and jewelry saws following natural cap contours
  • Soften sharp cut edges by filing, sanding, or covering with colorful washi tape
  • Dome, bowl, and curve flat caps over mandrels using plastic-shaping methods
  • Fill plastic caps from soda, milk, and water jugs with colored resin for focal pendants
  • Embellish top of caps using permanent markers, nail polish, transfers, stickers, decals
  • Hammer metal caps gently to create an embossed design without compromising the dome integrity
  • Flatten and stamp words, dates, names, or symbols onto metal caps using metal stamping techniques
  • Dip plastic caps in mod podge glue then coat with glitter for sparkly texture

Unique Jewelry Designs Using Bottle Caps

Get inspired by these creative ways to transform salvaged caps and tabs into jewelry:

  • Charm bracelets with upcycled plastic caps and game piece charms on leather cording
  • Tassel dangle earrings cutting the metal opening levers from aluminum can tabs
  • Rings embellished with curved and domed ornate laquer spray cap motifs as jewelry flowers
  • Beachy guitar pick pendants by filling wide plastic jar caps with colorful layers of resin “sand” and glitter
  • Flower petal bezels surrounding cabochons made by filling bottle caps with alcohol ink swirled resin
  • Bold bangle bracelets wrapping plastic bottle caps end-to-end into complete circles using wire
  • Whimsical cloud or bug dangle charms cut freehand from white plastic milk jug lids
  • Statement rings using bold pop art logos and brand symbols cut from printed metal beer bottle caps
  • Steampunk monocle miniatures by embellishing bottle caps and adding watch parts behind tiny resin domes
  • Plastic cap bangles and cuffs cutting rounds with a disc cutter to make interlocking flower links

Tips for Elevating Upcycled Bottle Cap Jewelry

Apply these techniques to step up your recycled bottle cap jewelry making:

  • Look for caps with highly detailed and ornate branding, textures, or cutout shapes for built-in visual interest
  • Enhance dimension by stacking and layering embellished caps of varying heights and diameters
  • Mask the flat backsides and edges of caps with washi tape to incorporate more vibrancy and color
  • Seal plastic and paper collage tops with glossy resin for durability
  • Affix pieces together with jewelry epoxy instead of hot glue which can soften and warp plastic elements
  • Display cap jewelry on upcycled bottle forms fitted with dowels and cap organization bins
  • Photograph laid out mandala-style on complementary collage paper featuring bottle labels
  • Curate collections from same color families or common themes for cohesive stories
  • Develop signature techniques like accent floral cut outs or dipped ombre patinas to define your style

Safety Tips When Working with Bottle Caps

Safely transform bottle caps into jewelry using these precautions:

  • Wear eye protection when cutting metal caps which can send sharp shards flying
  • Use only light pressure hammering metal caps to avoid shattering their dome integrity
  • Smooth sharp cut edges with files and sandpaper to prevent scratches
  • Work over protective surfaces in case caps get away and go flying
  • Take care when using sharp jewelry saw blades which can catch if not handled properly
  • Drill plastic and metal slowly and gently to avoid cracking, melting, or binding
  • Ensure caps are fully dry and free of moisture before applying glues to prevent trapped bubbles


With inspiration and skill, recyclable bottle caps transform from trash into trendy handmade jewelry treasures. Plastic, steel, and aluminum offer limitless potential for creative upcycling.

Give leftovers new purpose following the principles of sustainable art. Seek out collections of caps featuring appealing textures, retro logos, bright colors, and ornate shapes ripe for repurposing.

Let your inner green artist run free experimenting with cutting, doming, sculpting, and embellishing discarded caps and tabs destined for landfills. Through clever manipulation, transform recycling detritus into chic eco-conscious adornments!

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