Recycling, up-cycling or reusing materials destined for the trash has become one way to make crafts, artwork, decorations or even sound. Some of the stuff that ends up in landfills is made up of resources that would be expensive to buy otherwise--including bottle caps. Save bottle caps from going into a landfill and stretch your craft skills at the same time.
Old beer bottle caps can decorate anything from mirrors to chairs to a refrigerator. One common craft made from bottle caps is refrigerator magnets. Glue seed beads and felt inside the cap to make it look like a pie, or use other materials to decorate it any way you want. Clay, glued paper or stickers also can decorate bottle caps. Glue a magnet on the back of a finished bottle cap and stick it to your refrigerator. Glue different colors of bottle caps around an old mirror, chair or dresser to add decorative flair to the piece. Beer bottle caps glued together to form decorative coasters if placed on pieces of cork.
Both the inside and outside of bottle caps can be decorated with pictures from magazines, beads, stickers, clay or paint to make jewelry. Once you've decorated the bottle caps, drill a hole in the top with a jewelry drill, or use a hammer and small nail. Transform decorated bottle caps into necklaces, bracelets or earrings. Use the same process to make beer bottle cap pendants or broaches.
The metal of beer bottle caps has the potential to make sound. Make a simple hand tambourine by taking two y-shaped hardwood sticks, drilling a hole in the center of several bottle caps and stringing them on wire between the y-section of each stick. The caps are usually flattened before they are strung. Decorate the sticks with markers or paint. Use bottle caps to make contact microphones, which are used to amplify other sounds. Solder a bottle cap to a piezoelectric disc, which picks up and amplifies whatever the bottle cap is placed on. This is useful for amplifying small sounds such as crystal being rubbed or a box spring being hit.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has displayed bottle cap sculptures in its online gallery. One includes a bottle cap snake made from an inner tube, carved wood, bottle caps, wire, paint, wood pulp and adhesive, made by Felipe Archuleta. Another sculpture, dating from the 1960s, is a giraffe made from bottle caps. Art mosaics can be made from bottle caps. Create full mosaic "paintings" by using different colored beer caps to fill in sections and shading for the picture.