This is the first of many posts wherein I exploit my mom and her mad crafting skills for my blog. You are forewarned.
Kentucky is home to a lot of awesome local things, bourbon notwithstanding. One of those great local things is the ginger and citrus soda Ale 8 One, which was developed in the 1920s. The name of the drink was the product of a slogan contest at the Clark County Fair and is a bit of a pun for “A Late One”, indicating that it was the latest thing in drinks. It is a beloved Kentucky product and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the logo is AWESOME. Whenever Julia came to visit me in Kentucky, she refused to leave without at least one six pack for the road.
The idea to make earrings out of the bottle caps from Ale 8 bottles came from a friend of a friend and my mom was happy to oblige. She made a pair for me, too, and I absolutely love them. You definitely need a few specialized tools and materials, but once you jump into jewelry making a little bit, you will be amazed at what coolness can come of it.
Ale 8 One Bottle Cap Earrings
Special tools needed:
- Miniature anvil, aka jeweler’s anvil
- Chain nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Miniature hammer
- Side cutting/nipper pliers
- One small nail
All of these should be readily attainable at your local craft store, as long as it has jewelry making supplies.
- Two bottle caps of your choosing
- 24 gauge gold wire–or whatever you have handy–or pre-made jump rings and eyepins
- Two hook earwires (the bit that goes through your ear)
- 6 seedbeads in colors that work with your bottle caps, or more if you like! (We used Czech glass, #11 round)
Aside from building the bead/earring hook apparatus, which is called an eyepin, this project mostly involves hammering out your bottle caps on a miniature anvil, which is about the cutest 5lb hunk of metal you can buy. Begin by placing the fluted edge of the bottle cap on one horn of the anvil (or comparable hammering surface). Flatten the flutes out all around the bottle cap.
After a little work, you will be able to work on removing the plastic seal on the underside of the bottle cap. Mom said she finds it easier to hit the seal with the hammer a few times to get the process started. Be careful to remove all the plastic or else you will have a very difficult time fully flattening the cap.
See that little hole on the anvil? It will come in handy to poke a hole through the top of the bottle cap. Take your small nail and hammer it through the earring at a spot very close to the top edge, taking care to be both close and far away enough from the edge for the jump ring to fit comfortably.
Now, earring construction!
So jump ring and eyepin construction is not the easiest thing for yours truly, photographer extraordinaire, to document. However! I found this very clear and handy tutorial for how to make a whole bunch of jump rings at once. Here’s one for eyepins (and headpins, too). Go take a look at that if you need and then join me back here. You may also feel free to buy them pre-made.
Loop your jump ring through the little hole in your bottle cap. Next you need to work your wire into a loop with a straight bit for your complementary colored beads. This is your eyepin, as you have already learned from that handy tutorial.
Load up your beads on the eyepin in whichever configuration makes you happy. We went with alternating gold and red. Continue with your eyepin construction by bending the wire ninety degrees, cutting to size, and bending the wire into a loop shape.
Sometimes you want a simple cocktail: no need to break out the jigger, juicer, or shaker. A highball can take you from empty hands to happy hour in about as much time as it takes to pop a couple of ice cubes from their chilly prisons. And so, today we feature the Kentucky Proud version of a whiskey and ginger ale, substituting in bourbon and Ale 8 One.
Play around with the proportions if this is your first time and you’ll have a fine, quick drink soon enough. Serve it up in your favorite Derby glass or whatever else you have handy. (This is my favorite out of the Derbys I have attended; time and multiple moves take their toll and Derby glasses are fragile.) This is a refreshing drink full of ginger flavor: warming enough for dark winter nights and chill enough for a warm summer evening. It’s an old standby in our house and I think you’ll like it too.