Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bottlecap Tambourine

I love giving homemade gifts as much as I love receiving them.  On a trip to our favorite junk antique store this summer, my husband saw a tambourine-like thing made from vintage bottlecaps.

Now, being an amateur musician with a home recording studio set up in a spare bedroom, he loves noisemakers, the more primitive, the better.  He was intrigued by the design but not the price tag, so he asked if I could make something like it.  "Sure!" I said.

Then, he loaned out the miter saw.  Humph!

I managed to get the miter saw returned to us right before Christmas and I whipped out a tambourine in an afternoon.  Here's how:

I'd been collecting bottlecaps for another project for some time, so I had plenty on hand.  I tried just pounding with a hammer to flatten them, but I found it was easier to use pliers on them first to pull out the crimped edges.

Then, I could go after them with a hammer.

I keep an old cutting board on hand, which makes a great work surface.

I used a large nail to pierce a hole in the center of each bottlecap.

I had some scrap pieces of 1x2 in the garage and used the bottlecaps to measure how long to cut the wood.  Then, I raided my jewelry-making supplies for some long headpins.

I clipped the head off the pin, and then twisted one end into a loop.  If you had an eyepin, you could skip this step.

I pre-drilled small holes in the wood and threaded the wire and bottlecaps through it.  After setting the second piece of wood on top, I clipped the excess wire, looped it, and pounded both ends of the wire into the wood.  I used a nail set to really get the wire embedded into the wood and smeared a little wood putty over it.  I wanted the overall effect of the shaker to be rustic, so I wasn't worried about hammer marks or a little wire showing through the finish.

I gave the whole thing a good sanding and painted it with black acrylic craft paint.  Finally, I sanded the edges one more time to expose a little bare wood and finished with a rub-on polyurethane.

When Mr. Tallgrass unwrapped it, he beamed and pronounced it was his favorite Christmas present.

I knew it would be.  :)


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