Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tutorial: Handpainted Photo Bottlecap Magnets

So earlier this week I finished up my Easter gifts - stuffed bunnies holding little plastic eggs. I made magnet sets to stick inside the little eggs as little additional gifts for Lucas and I's family and friends. Here's how I made them!

acrylic paint
small photos
Mod Podge
super glue

Optional Materials

Gather your materials and wash your bottlecaps thoroughly. Nothing worse than giving a painted photo bottlecap magnet to your grandmother who starts asking where that beer smell is coming from. I found that by soaking my bottlecaps in hot sudsy water first, it was a breeze to clean them. Rinse clean and let them dry completely.

Step 1
Let's paint your bottlecaps! I started by giving each one a primer coat of white, then once that was dry, I painted each one individually with a coat of acrylic paint in my desired color choice.

Optionally you could spray paint your bottlecaps or dip them in paint if you're in a hurry or if that's easier for you. If you choose to spray paint, be sure to do it in a well ventilated area, preferrably outdoors.

Step 2
Once each bottlecap has its main coat, you may wish to also do this optional step to add a little flair to your flat color caps. I dipped an old toothbrush into yellow paint and held it close to the bottlecaps and then ran my finger up and down the brush part. This creates a great speckling effect, and gave my finished bottlecaps a little added yellow speckled flair.

Step 3
Let your bottlecaps dry thoroughly. While they're drying, it's time to plan out what images you are going to use as your magnet subject. My magnets are going to be given as mini spring/Easter gifts for friends and family, so I chose to use little photos of Lucas and I and our dog, Oliver. Small photos give your magnets a personal touch, but small stickers or even just handpainting a design works well, too. So do images found in magazines.

Before cutting up pictures, I made a template circle and cut it to fit the insides of each bottlecap. Once I had a template, I traced the shape onto my photos, then cut them out and tailored each to be sure they fit exactly how I wanted them to.

Step 4
Here's where the Mod Podge comes in. I chose Mod Podge because it's both a glue and a sealant, and that's really helpful for this project. Mod Podge comes in matte, glossy or sparkle finishes, so choose the one that best fits your project's style. I chose matte for this project. First, using a paintbrush, I applied Mod Podge to the inner circle of my bottlecap where the photo goes.

Next I gently eased the photo into its spot with my fingernail. Once the photo was glued into place, I then used the Mod Podge applied thinly over the entire inside of the bottlecap, including the photo. That's right - paint Mod Podge right over the photo and the inner side of the cap. It will look funny at first, but don't worry- Mod Podge dries clear. Just be sure you don't heap on globs of it, or it won't dry as well or as neat. Beware if you're using cheap plastic paintbrushes that tend to lose their bristles easily... you don't want a strand of paintbrush "hair" in your finished project.

Set your bottlecaps aside to dry. This process can take anywhere from 30 - 60 minutes, depending on how thick you applied the Mod Podge. Thicker coats take a bit longer to dry thoroughly.

While the inside of your bottlecaps are drying, you may wish to flip them over now and apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the outside of the bottlecap. This gives your finished project a uniform look and helps seal the paint. If you're using glossy or sparkle finish Mod Podge, you'll definitely want to do this.

Step 5
Once everything is dry, it's time to apply the magnets! I bought a long roll of magnet where you peel off the backing to reveal a sticky back. You can cut the magnets into your own chosen sizes. I cut up the magnets into small squares that fit nicely on the back of each bottlecap. I removed the backing, but added extra strength to the stickiness by adding a dab of super glue before applying. Affix magnets to the backside of your bottlecaps and allow the glue to dry completely before use.

Voila! You now have handpainted photo bottlecap magnets to use on your refrigerator or share with family and friends! Experiment with different images, colors, and Mod Podge finishes to make unique magnets that suit your style. Make a set of Christmas magnets or Valentine's Day magnets, or just make some that match the decor of your kitchen. They're quick and easy to make in large quantities, and make a great gift. :)

Whew! It took longer to insert all the images into Blogger than it did to write the tutorial up. Is there a trick to inserting images so you don't have to go to the top and drag them down to the correct place where you want them inserted into your paragraph each time? Maybe I'm missing something, but it's really annoying when you have a fairly long blog post and lots of images to insert throughout. Why they always default to the top and I have to drag them down is beyond me. Maybe I'm just doing it the hard way?


~CraftyMummy2two~ said...

Those are to cute I will surely have to try them some time the would even make cute christmas tree decorational gifts to give out to cute

Ilix said...

Great tutorial! And the bunny post too! All fun!
Thanks for sharing!

Lauri said...

Oh. My. God! I linked over here from 'craftymummy2two' and I love it! The bottle caps are a great idea, but...your little animals!!! (Can you hear my high squeaky voice? lol!) They are too cute! You do a really great job with them!