Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Counting Down with Bottle Caps

 Several years ago my son and I put together this simple Countdown Calendar after watching Michael Strong (author of "Don't Throw That Away") on the Carol Duvall Show. For being made of recycled materials it's held up rather well. Anyway, I know it's already into December but I thought I'd still share it. =)

The base is a panel cut out of a cardboard box and covered with wrapping paper--we used gift wrap ribbon for the hanger (stapled on), wrapped the cardboard like a package, and taped it down.  The bottle caps were saved from water bottles & 2 liter bottles of pop/soda--we used double stick tape to stick them down in the shape of a tree (other shapes could be a star or a wreath).  I used two sizes of a circle punch to cut the "lids"-- 2 1/2" circles of white cardstock were cut for the base, and 2 1/4" circles were cut out of Christmas magazines for the decorative tops.  My son especially loved picking out the pictures we used.  We used glue sticks to stick the two circles together.  I filled each bottle cap with different items--the circumference fits a quarter perfectly--some items that fit well are:  spare change, fruit snacks, m&m's, Christmas pins, earrings, stickers, charms, jingle bells, candy, handwritten notes, thoughts for the day, even crafting suppies such as ribbons, brads, etc, all fit great.  To close off the tops until ready to open we ran a glue stick around the top edge of each bottle cap, then place each decorative punched circle on top and let dry/cure a few hours before you hang it up.  You could number each of the toppers, but Cody wanted to choose which one to open each day himself, so we decided not to (we used 25 individual caps). 

Each day the decorative circle is removed from the bottle cap, then pressed to the backing board.  The glue stick retains enough dry stickiness that it easily adheres to the wrapping paper (note: we used a slicker type paper, which made it easy for the toppers to come off the backing board later).  I want to say we probably made this in 2006, and last year was the first year we added more glue to the caps.  The toppers adhered to the plastic caps each year without needing additional glue--pretty cool. 

This project is a fun & easy project for kids to do, and it can be adapted for parties and such any time of the year--just choose a shape such as a smiley face, etc, and you can use it as a game for the kids to find the hidden item, or for countdown to Easter, or what about a countdown to their birthday?!  Oooo...I wish I had that when I was growing up.  LOL  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this quick project.  Thanks for stopping by--and keep recycling!

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