Hello everyone! First of all, I am glad so many people have enjoyed this project. When I did it and wrote the tutorial over 2 years ago, I never thought it would be my number 1 hit project to date. A lot of you have asked questions here in the comments and emailed me with particular unforeseen problems and I have tried my best to come up with solutions and ideas to remedy these problems. And a lot of you have had success, even using other things than bottlecaps, which is great!
If you plan to do this project, be aware that it is not a thrifty project...however it can be....bottle caps are are recycled, trays can be found on sale....but the acrylic water, while not super expensive, is not exactly cheap. I have explained the process in the manner that I did it back then and I still use the tray to this day for exactly what I made it for. I have spilled coffee on it, sugar, made a mess on the tray and wiped it clean with a wet towel. What seems to be the biggest issues are that the acrylic is not hardening like mine did. I can not explain the reason behind it, other than the companies have changed their formula??? I do not know...my remedy for that is to spray a couple of layers of polyurethane sealer on it, that should get rid of the tackiness. So don't give up, don't throw in the towel, there is a solution for every problem...even in this craft project. Read through the comments, email me, I will help you as much as I can.
I like using trays for various tasks around the house and was on the look out for one to keep my coffee station area nice and tidy. Enter Hobby Lobby. HL is known for it's deep discounts and that is where I found the most hideous pink glittered tray I have ever seen. (Vase is from Goodwill, it got painted too....) It was under three dollars and I could only hope that primer would cover up that glitter-gone-wrong! Thankfully it did! I primed and painted it glossy white
Don't ask me how I thought of using bottlecaps in the bottom of it...I really don't know, I just wanted something fun and funky. I spray painted a whole bunch of them in my three favorite summertime colors, Blue Ocean Breeze, Ivy Leaf and Pumpkin Orange, and some white, all from Krylon. It actually took some time to collect this many caps, I wanted to do this earlier in the summer, it just took a while! Just a word of caution if decide to try this project, make sure the handles are high enough, giving you plenty of room to contain the fluid and whatever you are submerging. At least half inch clearance.
I started laying the caps in and played around with the pattern until I was happy. The staggered pattern really worked with not too much wasted space (it wasn't a perfect fit).
Next, I used what is called acrylic water to pour over the caps. Now this 2 part epoxy is sold at HL and Michael's, but I found it the cheapest at Walmart, in their Floral Dept. I followed the directions, mixing the compounds and poured it on. It's self-leveling, which is great! The tough part was waiting the 48 hours, because it cannot be disturbed at all, and my house is full of disturbances!!! :) Luckily, the acrylic hardened without any incidents, and was ready for use!
It turned out really cute and retro funky, just what I wanted!! It will keep my coffee messes contained!