It was a green tray with a rooster design in the middle. I brought it home and spray painted it black:
When I was buying it, the woman ringing up my purchases saw it and said, "Oh, this is so nice. How pretty." I didn't have the heart to say, "Yeeeaahhh, I'm just going to spray paint it black once I get home." She went on, "Let me wrap this up in paper, so the paint doesn't get scratched. Right? It's so nice..."
"Uh... okay. Thank you."
I brought it home, showed Dollar and said I was going to spray paint it. He said, "Really? I... kind of like the design."
What. Ever. I'm just going to buy and ruin whatever I want in the name of DIY.
I dumped out all the bottlecaps that we've been saving for a couple years:
Sorted them by brand/color:
That big bowl on the left, partially out of sight, is JUST Long Trail caps. We are a Long Trail household all the way.
I laid out a design. Penny inspects my work.
Time to hot-glue-gun-it:
I started in the center and worked my way out. I didn't fill up the entire bottlecaps with glue- that would have used a ridiculous amount of glue sticks. I applied the glue to the inside pleats of the cap. In the end, the caps stuck to the bottom but you couldn't see any excess glue leaking out, looking messy.
Because the caps were spaced a bit further apart after glueing them down, fewer Long Trail caps fit along the outer-most ring.
Here's where things started to suck. I ended up grouting the caps:
I feel like this was an unnecessary and difficult step. I decided to do it because I really liked the way grouted bottlecaps looked in the pictures I had seen online. I think my grout mixture was too dry, which made it more difficult to work with. It was hard to apply the grout evenly- the caps are quite close together and it was hard to get it in everywhere, especially along the edge. In the end, I had to sit with a small paintbrush and dish of water and paint a bit of water around every cap to try and smooth things out.
The next day, after the grout dried to a slightly lighter gray color:
Time for epoxy resin. I got it at Home Depot (in the paint section) and it was the most expensive purchase for this whole project at $25. I only needed to mix up half of a pint, though, so I still have plenty left over. It's two bottles and you mix equal portions of Part A and Part B. Dollar and I just started watching Breaking Bad and I'm in the back room, mixing Part A into Part B, thinking, "Look at me, I'm a scientist. I'll be making meth in no time." Just kidding. Seriously, just kidding, DEA. Mixing one thing into another is as much chemistry as I can handle.
So, I mixed it as evenly as I could and poured it into the tray:
Blew on the surface to pop any air bubbles (if you don't, they will dry to be micro craters). Then I needed to fetch a toothpick to pick up random strands of cat fur that had stuck to surface. I kept it shut up in the back room while the resin cured so that the cats wouldn't bother it and more dust/fur wouldn't blow onto the surface.
And... 24 hours later:
A little DIY bottle cap drink tray.
I would like to do this again, sans grout. The hot glue applied to the caps didn't leave a messy/goopy bottom that needed to be covered with grout.
Also? The epoxy surface is ever so slightly tacky. If I put a flat bottomed glass onto the tray and then pick the glass up, it sticks a bit, like a glass sticking a bit to a sticky table. This is because my epoxy mixture probably wasn't super-exactly Part A and Part B. I'm hoping more time will sort this out. Or, I can mix up more epoxy and pour another layer.