With just a few weeks within my deadline (the end of school) the mural is finally finished!
I began writing about the Art Club’s recycled bottle cap mural back in January when it was just twinkle in my eye, so to speak. I was inspired by the many beautiful bottle cap projects I’ve seen on so many of your blogs! (So thank you!)
I wrote about a long time ago, back in February to document and update you on our progress! Since then there were no updates…because there was no progress.
You see, each cap had to be anchored down to the backing board using screws, but not just any screws- a specific type of 1/2" self-drilling screw.
We had to special order them from a local hardware store, but they were on back order for a couple of weeks. I only got a big bag of 15 boxes of 100 screws about two weeks ago. Since then there has been constant progress. You can ask my sore and bloodied fingers. (Technically only one got bloodied when a renegade screw decided to try and attach my finger to the board rather than a cap. Ouch. For real.) But other than that one casualty, we were pretty good!
Before the big reveal, let me walk you through the process:
-3/4” thick 4’x8’ sheet of standard plywood
-About 30 boxes of 100 self-drilling screws
-About 3,000 collected, washed and dried plastic bottle caps
We ordered a ¾” thick 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood from Home Depot as our base. After deciding on using Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as our inspiration, we used two 4x4 sheets of craft paper and charcoal for a practice run. This is when we figured out our layout and major shapes of our design.
Once the layout and design was finalized, we re-sketched the design on the plywood with charcoal, and gave it a base-coat of acrylic paint. It was king of like a giant color-by-numbers painting. Since all of our caps are round, no matter how tightly we packed them in, there would always be a little diamond of the plywood visible. Painting the sections first allowed us to keep the continuity of the final piece, but also served as a really handy map for where to lay out which caps.
Next, we had the kids work in teams of two using some chip brushes and Elmer’s glue to lather up each section, and place the coordinating colored caps in that space. We knew the Elmer’s wouldn’t hold in the long-run, but it would definitely help keep the caps from flying in all directions when I started screwing them down. It also helped keep the caps in place for when those curious hands worked their way across the surface, which seemed to happen every single period of the day since we started building it.
And finally, the drilling. I took on 98% of the drilling myself. I did use a few boys on random days where they were just too tempted by the sound of power tools to stay focused on their current projects (“My dad lets me use those at home!”), but the rest I did all on my own. I packed as many caps onto this thing as possible. I screwed caps into other caps where I could, and really tried to see the “big picture”- dispersing the light and dark blues for the sky, for example, trying to avoid a huge clump of dark or light here or there. Same with the sun and the grass. During the drilling process, I did have to rearrange some of the glued down caps to exchange them for other colors/sizes, but overall the plan of mapping and gluing worked well.
And so here it is, ladies and gents, our finished plastic bottle cap mural…..
And some close-ups...
Just noticed a missing cap in the photo above....can you find it?!
(I put a reminder in my phone to fix this!)
I'm so happy with how it turned out in the end, but boy was this ever a labor of love! Glad to have 4x8 feet of my room back in working use, for sure!
Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everybody!