How to make soldered bottle top beads

Written by daisy cuinn
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How to make soldered bottle top beads
Use decorative bottle tops to make colourful beads. (Nastco/iStock/Getty Images)

Metal beer and pop caps have lots of uses in jewellery making, from little flux holders to the jewellery itself. Bottle top beads show off the printed, often colourful art on the top of the caps. String a collection of them together, or use one as a centrepiece on a necklace or bracelet. To make these metal beads, you'll need to know some soldering basics and have the tools necessary. The tools are available at home and garden centres and jewellery supply shops.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Brick
  • Bottle tops
  • Solder paste
  • Toothpicks
  • Small torch
  • 118 ml (1/2 cup) vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cup
  • Toothbrush
  • Washing up liquid
  • Felt
  • Vice
  • Drill
  • 1 mm (3/64 inch) twist bit
  • Sandpaper

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a clean, dry bottle top down on a brick. Place another top on top so they line up with the ruffled edges touching.

  2. 2

    Put a small amount of soldering paste into an extra bottle top. Using a toothpick, dab soldering paste on the area where the tops meet.

  3. 3

    Turn on the torch. Touch the flame to the soldering paste, moving it back and forth until it turns silver all the way around the tops. Allow the soldered tops to cool.

  4. 4

    Mix 60 ml (1/4 cup) vinegar and one teaspoon salt in a cup. Dip a toothbrush into the solution and lightly scrub the soldered area to remove the debris and oils from the paste. Wash with washing up liquid and water.

  5. 5

    Cut two pieces of felt just larger than the bottle tops. Place a piece of felt on both of the flat sides of the soldered bottle tops to protect them. Clamp the protected soldered bottle tops in a vice.

  6. 6

    Drill a 1 mm (3/64 inch) hole straight down through the side of the soldered bottle tops so you have two holes, one on top and one on the bottom.

  7. 7

    Remove the bead from the vice and sand any rough edges.

Tips and warnings

  • Soldering takes practice. Start with some bottle tops that have no value.
  • Twist-off tops work the best since they aren't bent when removed.

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