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My family chooses to prioritize memory-making experiences and the thoughtfulness that lies behind gifting over purchased items. Since I clearly love making DIY gifts, Father’s Day gave me the chance to make a DIY bottle opener with magnetic cap catcher I had mentally designed months ago.
DIY gifts for guys can sometimes be tricky. And Dallas’s Father’s Day present needed to involve the kids as well because it wouldn’t be Father’s Day without them. I have been saving bottle caps for years; unsure what exactly I might use them for but knowing I would come up with something eventually. This DIY project gave me that opportunity.
I’m sure you’ve seen the wooden wall-mounted bottle openers that have become popular lately. Some of them have sayings, pictures, graphics, and/or are customizable. But I thought, “What if my DIY bottle opener featured actual bottle caps?” Dallas is in construction so he is always bringing home scraps of wood that were slated for the landfill or a burn pile. Plus, we had the bottle caps and I already had some metal openers that I had ordered when I first saw the bottle openers on Etsy.
I loaded the supplies and my daughter to head to my parent’s. My Dad has a shop full of every tool and accessory imaginable. The one I was after this time was his drill press. For anyone that has not used one, I highly recommend trying one out. You can set the depth so all holes are consistent, and it takes little effort to drill multiple holes very quickly and accurately.
The kids’ involvement was to pick out and put in the bottle caps. They had fun rifling through the assortment we have accumulated to make a unique and useful handmade Father’s Day gift. Dallas loved it and gets to think of how much we love him each time he uses his DIY bottle opener.
Please note that I have adapted the original process several times. Each time I made another opener, I learned something new or discovered a better way to complete a step. Below is the tutorial for my final (so far) adaptation, though Dallas has an idea on finishing we’re going to try on the next batch. I’ll keep you updated.
Step 1 of DIY Bottle Opener
Gather Your Supplies
You’ll need the following (some will vary based on your particular project):
1 Piece of Wood. Try to stick to the 1″ family. The Chevron and Diamond patterns used a 1″x6″ that was 12″ long. Dallas’s original was 15″ long.
Bottle Caps. The number will be determined by your layout. Try to choose ones without damage.
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks. Figure about 1″ of glue stick (standard – not mini) per bottle cap, plus another 2-3″ for the magnets.
2-4 Neomedite Magnets with N52 Rating. I used two 32 mm discs for the 12″ boards and four 32 mm discs for the 15″ board.
Forstner Drill Bit. The size is determined by the magnets you order. As noted above, mine were 32 mm.
3/8″ Drill Bit – Any Style. I used a standard (twist) bit because that is what I had available.
1/8″, 3/16″, or 5/32″ Drill Bit – Any Style. I used a 5/32″ standard (twist) bit, but the other two sizes should also work.
Drill Press or Handheld Drill. If available, a drill press is the best option. My Dad’s is an old Delta that I’m sure you could only find used somewhere, but here’s what I found on Amazon when I did a quick search (please note I have not tried out, nor can I recommend, any of these specific drill presses – it’s just to show what kind of tool I am referencing for those who are not familiar with them).
Sandpaper – Medium (100) and Fine (320) Grit. Dallas makes these sanding blocks by using spray adhesive on a 1″x4″, then sticking the sandpaper to the wood.
Lacquer/Polyurethane. I used Watco Crystal Clear Lacquer in Gloss.
Stain – Optional. Some people like their wood natural, but I prefer the depth a good stain gives a finished piece. I used Minwax in Provincial on Dallas’s and the Arrow, and Cabot in Walnut on the Chevron and Diamond.
Step 2 of DIY Bottle Opener
Design Layout and Mark Board
I find it easiest to actually lay the bottle opener hardware and bottle caps on the board. It allows you to see what the final piece will look like with color and design. Then measure (if needed for spacing) and mark the board for the centers of your bottle caps.
Make sure to measure each specific brand/type of cap so you know which bit (1 1/8″ or 30mm) to use at each cap location. To do so, use a spare board to drill a sample hole of each size and insert each type/brand of cap to test for fitting.
I have printable template files for the Chevron and Diamond layouts in my Member’s Area. To download, you’ll need to sign up for free membership at SeeMelissaCraft.com to receive the member’s area password. You can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.
Step 3 of DIY Bottle Opener
Drill Bottle Cap Holes
Using the properly sized spade bit for each hole, drill on the board front to a depth that makes the bottle cap flush with the board when inserted. You’ll want to use a spare board to test and dial in the correct depth for each type of cap before drilling your project board.
Step 4 of DIY Bottle Opener
Drill Hanger Holes and Slots
Determine which two or three bottle cap hole locations would allow for the most secure hanging. Using the 3/8″ bit, drill from the back of the board at those locations. You’ll want the top of the screw hole to be at the top of the small hole the spade bit made in the back. This is where you’ll insert the hanging screw head when mounting on your wall.
Use the 1/8″, 3/16″, or 5/32″ bit to drill a hole about 3/8″ from the screw hole toward the top of your opener. Then drill another hole right below that, and another below again until you have created a slot. This creates space for the screw to slide when hanging to secure your opener to the wall.
Step 5 of DIY Bottle Opener
Drill Magnet Hole
On the back of the board, use your Forstner bit (size based on magnet size) to drill a hole near the bottom for the magnets. Test drill on your spare board to get the hole as deep as possible without breaking through the front. The goal is to leave the thinnest layer of wood so the magnets have less material to penetrate.
Step 6 of DIY Bottle Opener
Using medium-grit sandpaper (around 100), sand your board. Sand the entire piece – front, back, sides, top, and bottom. I like to slightly round my edges on the front. Always sand with the grain. Then use fine-grit sandpaper (around 320) to sand your board again.
After sanding, remove the dust that’s left behind. You can either use an air hose to blow it off or wipe down with a wet rag.
Step 7 of DIY Bottle Opener (Optional)
Follow the directions on your product label to stain your board. Stain the entire piece – front, back, sides, top, and bottom. Do not worry about staining the bottom of the cap or magnet holes. You will, however, want to make sure you stain the sides of the holes since the top portion of the hole will be visible.
I made a quick, makeshift curing rack so I did not have to wait for the back to cure before I could stain the front. I put a few thumbtacks in a piece of cardboard at the same locations as the hanging holes. Then, after I stained the back, I could place the board’s holes on the thumbtacks.
Step 8 of DIY Bottle Opener
Insert the Bottle Caps and Magnets
Once your stain has cured, use your hot glue gun to squeeze out a circle of hot glue along the edges of the bottle cap holes. Be generous. This creates a dam so your polyurethane cannot seep too far down the cap edges or under the caps.
Place your magnets in the hole drilled on the back without putting down any adhesive first. You do not want any additional material between the magnets and the caps they need to catch. After the magnets are in, use hot glue to completely seal around the edges and back of the magnets. Be generous. You want to create a solid seal the polyurethane will not be able to penetrate and leak into the magnet space.
Step 9 of DIY Bottle Opener
Follow the label instructions on your product to apply polyurethane to the board. Seal the entire board – front, back, sides, top, and bottom. You can use your drying rack to expedite the process. I applied the lacquer to the back first, then set it down so the tacks were in the screw holes so I could finish the sides and front. Make sure to use extra polyurethane around the cap edges to fill any remaining air space. According to my label, three to four coats were recommended. I applied four to ensure a more durable seal.
Step 10 of DIY Bottle Opener
The openers I ordered came with screws to install the opener. Use those screws, or find appropriate ones if yours did not come with any, to attach the opener to the wood. Center it horizontally at the top of the board. Because the screw heads tend to be semi-flimsy, I recommend either drilling a pilot hole or using a cordless drill with considerable force to insert the screws.
Step 11 of DIY Bottle Opener
Enjoy Your Next Cold Beverage!
If you like this project, check out my tutorial for bottle cap keychain hangers.
SeeMelissaCraft.com members: Click here to get free printable PDF templates for the Diamond and Chevron layouts of this project.