Every Sunday my boyfriend invites his buddies over to watch college football and drink beer. As you can imagine, I stay away from the testosterone-filled zone as much as possible during that 4-hour period. The only time I step foot in the living room is to make sure that everyone recycles their beer bottles. Unfortunately, dozens of bottle caps are inevitably left behind each time. I realized this the first time I sucked it up and vacuumed underneath the couch. I found close to 50 deserted bottle caps that day.
While metal bottle caps are recyclable (unlike plastic bottle caps), there are many other creative ways to reuse them. Not only can they come in handy, but they can also serve as a reminder that you (or your partner) are drinking way too much beer.
1. Game Pieces
Turn your old bottle caps into board game pieces. If you have enough caps, they'll work perfectly in a game of Checkers or Backgammon. In order to distinguish the "black" pieces from the "red" pieces, you can mark half of them with nail polish, or just flip half of them over.
You can use them as markers in a Bingo game too. Or turn them into betting chips during card games. There have been many Poker nights when we've run out of chips and turned to our trusty cap collection. Hey—it's better than using Cheerios.
My all time favorite reuse involves a drinking game I picked up in college called Caps. (creative name...I know). You need a minimum of 2 caps, but it helps to have a lot more. Basically, two people sit across from each other on the floor, 10-20 feet apart. With a glass full of beer in front of each person, they take turns aiming the cap into the glass farthest away from them. And what do you think happens when a cap lands in the cup? You guessed it. The other person drinks the beer (obviously making sure not to drink the cap too). You can make up several variations on the game, like playing in teams or not getting a turn until the other person misses. It sounds a bit silly, but it's actually one of the most fun games out there.
You can make cute little magnets for your fridge out of metal caps. It's so easy. Just glue a little piece of cardboard or fabric (i.e. felt) so that it completely covers the ridged side of the cap. Once it's dried, glue a magnet piece onto the cardboard/fabric. Presto!
Bottle caps are the perfect size for making jewelry. You can create a chunky bracelet or funky pair of earrings. Bottle Cap Pendants are also easy to make, and have been popping up all over the craft fair scene. Or, you can also reuse them to decorate a handbag or to cover the holes on a belt (the buckle will still fit through). If you know your way around a toolbox, you can nail them onto other metal objects, like a lunchbox or tin container. Whatever it is you choose to accessorize, the bottle caps are sure to add a quirky edge different from most items you would find in a store. Plus, if you hold onto your designs long enough, they'll be considered "vintage" in a few years and attract a ton of antique collectors. If all else fails, you can sell it at a trade show or on eBay (if it still exists). 4. Fishing Lure Many fishers swear by Bottle Cap Fishing Lure. Since beer caps are shiny, noisy and have jerky movements, they are great at attracting fish. To make lure you'll need a drill bit, wire ring, bait hook and pair of pliers to do the trick. If it's too complicated for your liking, you can always donate the caps to the Bottle Cap Lure Company. This Canadian company recycles thousands of caps every year into lure, and sells their products online. 5. Decorations Why not make a mosaic of bottle caps, and turn it into a coaster? Or glue your caps onto a picture frame. Better yet, put them on the inside of a frame to make pop art a-la Andy Warhol. You can arrange them into any pattern you like, like a clock or beer bottle. It will make a great gift, especially for someone who loves their beer. For more ideas on how to Green up the house, watch the newest installment of G Word Video: Extreme Green.