Friday, June 8, 2012

Bottle Cap Frenzy

Last summer I saw a neat picture somewhere on the internet of a mural made entirely of bottle caps. It was horribly frustrating because it didn't have any explanation or information. But that didn't stop me from searching,  and planning, and dreaming, and getting in way over my head. I guess the reason this stuck out to me was because I was beginning to plan out lessons for the first week of school and remembered I needed to plan a lesson about our recycling box. I know it's silly but there are specific rules about what can and cannot be recycled. Specifically, plastic water and soda bottles can be recycled, but the plastic caps CAN'T. The kids always want to know why. So I decided that this year we would put those caps to good use. Anything to keep them from taking up space in a landfill somewhere.

So the collecting began! Everyone helped us collect. Friends, families, students, neighbors, churches, businesses, even the FBI. A friend in a Severe Disabilities class kept the caps for us and her kids sorted them to work on their specific goals and objectives. So when I finally got around to visiting her room about a month ago to see what we had accumulated I was flabbergasted!

And I didn't think to take a picture until after we had already worked on the mural a good bit. I asked the kids to stay after school to get the process started. I thought it would be best to do the detail work with a smaller group and some parent helpers.... 13 kids brought back their permission form to stay after school and only one parent volunteered to stay and help. Thankfully there was still a lot of sorting left to be done. After that first session, we got most of the detail work done.

 Can you tell what it is supposed to be? We are a PYP school, which is supposed to be "Global" so I thought the kids around the world were appropriate. In the next few days, I added the text and started the shooting star. Our school mascot is the "Explorers" so we thought adding the word "EXPLORE"  over the earth would be fitting.

Then it was just a mad rush to get everything filled in and completed so my dad could install it before the school year was over. Here's the finished product!

The Installation:
 My dad came to help me after school and we promptly realized we needed more hands! So I ran out in the hall and grabbed our one and only male teacher to help us. It was only after he was at the top of the ladder that he informed me that he "wasn't crazy about heights".... Ooops.

 After standing back to give it a good look, my dad said "it sure puts everything else up here to shame!" Guess that was his way of saying good job! :) I can't wait to see and hear the other students' reactions when they see it next week for the first time!

PS - we barely put a dent in the bottle cap stash. One of my parents informed me that a family they knew collected caps for a child with cancer to help pay medical and home bills. I sent home three trash bags full of nothing but clear bottle caps and we still have more than half of what we started with! I will probably use some as counters, and maybe even do the same project in a scaled down version.


  1. That is truly cool. I don't know if I could pull something like that off, but I've often enjoyed seeing pictures of them out on the internet. Way to make it happen!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Awesome sauce, Karen! And really, afraid of heights? He's tall enough to have his own zip code...

  3. Gorgeous! We must have seen the same picture because I've been saving bottle caps too! I hadn't thought to involve anyone outside my family so I still don't have enough to make anything yet, but I am now so inspired by your mural that I will go ahead and send the word out to everyone I know to save me their caps! Can I ask if you spray painted any or did you get enough of the various colors without needing to paint any? I am also thinking of doing a pop-tab project this year to see how many pounds we can recycle!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

    1. We didn't have to spray paint any caps. Most of what was collected was clear, so if we needed to, I guess we could have spray painted those but I was really trying to keep from painting them. Other than clear we had a lot of orange, red, green, blue, and white. We had a small amount of purple, pink, yellow, black and brown. I didn't decide on a design until after we were mostly done collecting caps so I could see what colors we had the most of.

  4. Wow-it came out really beautiful! So creative!


  5. I hate to tell you that the caps for cancer is a scam... we found out from a parent after collecting them.

    Your mural turned out really cute. I turned my caps into a game- you can print off on stickers. Here is a link to the blog with the idea:

    Every New Beginning