Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule – Recycle, Pack Light!

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

A couple of months ago I stumbled upon a discussion board that talked about and showed a small, lightweight reusable container made out of the necks and lids of two plastic soda bottles.  I haven’t been able to find that same post ever since, but remember enough about it to want to give it a shot for myself.

How to Make a Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

I started with two identical plastic soda bottles to make sure that they would match in size. I cut the necks of the bottles off using a small hacksaw making sure that I kept the large flange that would be used to glue the two necks together later.

I used a vice to hold the bottles still while I cut through them. If you don’t have a vice you can still do the same thing by hand,but be very careful and take your time.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

Once I had cut off the neck of each bottle I used a flat file to smooth down the rough saw marks and left over plastic.  The idea is to remove all the rough edges until you have a flat surface level with the large flange as this will be where you will glue the two pieces together.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

Once I had filed the rough edges down and made sure that the edges were level it looked like this (below). I used a little 600 grit sandpaper to smooth the edges a little more than what I was able to do with the file.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

Here are the two sections of bottle necks ready to be glued together. I made sure that they were both clean and free from any rough edges that would stop good contact.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

I applied a small amount of super/crazy glue to the flat edges and then, using a small clamp, squeezed them tightly together to set. This type of glue only takes a minute or two to set, so after five minutes and a fresh cup of coffee I released the clamp to inspect my handiwork.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

The final result is a small water-tight container with two ends that can be open via the lids. The total weight of the container is 0.5oz and it took about 10 minutes to make including the time to let the glue set.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

It was a quick little project and a lot of fun to make.  My six-year-old son, Jack, helped me with some of the steps and watched throughout the entire process.  He thought it was pretty cool to make a little piece of gear out of something else.  I probably won’t be making a lot of these or using them for everything, but it is a useful little container and is very strong.  I could see this being used as a container and float for a small fishing kit.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule

If you have some time and a few spare plastic soda bottles laying around, give it a try.  After making this one I made another one with an additional flat piece of plastic sandwiched between the two necks that created a dual compartment container. I think I’ll use it for salt and pepper!

What other uses can you think of for this neat little capsule? Or can you think of any ways to improve on it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Featured in MAKE Magazine

My simple little plastic soda bottle lid capsule project was recently featured in MAKE Magazine and made into a 4-panel illustration by Tim Lillis. I was given permission to reproduce it here, check it out.

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule - Make Magazine

Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsule - Make Magazine

 

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286816493637692728 Andrew

    Brian, This is awesomely geeky. You should totally submit this to MAKE magazine.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Andrew, thanks – I think. Submitting it to MAKE hadn’t even crossed my mind, but now you mention it I might just do that. You don’t think it’s too geeky do you? Or is there no such thing…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03905646621885529845 John Roan

    Backpacking Geek – a title I always take as a compliment!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12716063796713704937 Dave C

    You could even glue a separator in the middle and have two smaller containers. Salt and Pepper maybe??

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04380958324541306917 JERMM

    hmm…maybe a water proof fire kit

    Dave C salt/pepper is good or other spices, lotion/creams

  • Thopter

    I made a few of these as geocaching containers. One difference was I cut the neck off the bottle on the thread side of the flange, and superglued the second cap to the smooth section between the flange and the thread. That way when the loose cap is screwed on, they meet flush in the middle. Sure, it reduces the capacity a little bit, but in my opinion it looks better.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Dave C and Thopter, great minds think alike. I mentioned at the end of my blog post: “After making this one I made another one with an additional flat piece of plastic sandwiched between the two necks that created a dual compartment container. I think I’ll use it for salt and pepper!” but I guessed you missed it :-)

    I’m thinking there are probably even more things that can be done to tweak this and make it more useful. If you have any ideas let me know and if you have a photo to share of ones you’ve made, I’d be happy to post them.

  • Thopter

    I’m not sure that I mentioned dual compartments, but oh well. It’s all good ^_^. What I neglected to clarify before was in the ones that I made, I used only one bottle neck, not two, and two bottle caps.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06693290671629192387 Jason Klass

    That is an awesome idea Brian! I need to take salt with me to liven up my dehydrated meals and this would be the perfect salt container! Maybe it could hold tobasco sauce too?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Thanks Jason. No doubt it weighs more than a small individual packet of salt, but it’s just so cool to make – and it’s green (in more ways than one)!

    It can definitely hold liquids without an issue. With the double compartment version you have two water-tight compartments. Do you think you’ll be making any of these yourself? Can’t wait to see what twists you come up with :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04380958324541306917 JERMM

    Brian, I made two capsules today, one with a divider and one w/o. Fun project! I think I’m going to use the divided one with vaseline on one side and sunscreen on the other.

    A few have mentioned using with salt/pepper and Jason said tabasco sauce, at first I thought this was a good idea, but I’m not sure how safe the super glue is with food, just a thought.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13408579400303294769 TOTHEWOODS

    Awesome! I’m always interested in cool ideas for making your own gear. Thanks for the detailed instructions and pics. Very cool!

    Andy

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    JERMM, you point about food safety with the use of superglue is well taken. I’ll have to check on that and adjust the type of glue I use if necessary for food purposes – good thinking. Any chance of a photo or two of the ones you’ve made? I’ll add them to this post if you like.

    TOTHEWOODS, thanks. It’s nothing fancy and as I said it was something I saw elsewhere and thought it was really clever. You’re welcome :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04380958324541306917 JERMM

    Brian- I emailed a photo of my capsules, thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08943032032409466718 Patrick

    Brian…this is awesome…love it…I just spent $3.50 on a GSI S&P shaker that is 1.5″ x 1.5″…it’s nice…but I could have saved the $3.50 and had chance to brag on how I make my own S&P shakers…Still gonna make some…pills, spices for bland dehydrated foods, etc…thanks for tutorial…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Thanks Patrick. Sorry you spent $3.50 on the GSI shaker, if you had been reading my blog all along you could have saved a few bucks :) I’m just kidding, I hope you have fun making these. Let me know how it goes!

  • Anonymous

    If I am not mistaken, Superglue (cyanoacrylate?) was developed for medical usage on the body, so is likely not a toxic substance, certainly not in the exposure levels you might encounter using this gizmo.

  • Lori

    hi, your post and photos have been plagiarized by mollyann hesser at http://homeschoolscout.wordpress.com/ – she has stolen content and photos from me and several others, just wanted to let you know she victimized you as well. you can complain to wordpress here: http://automattic.com/dmca/ – we’ve already had another of her blogs taken down by wordpress due to copyright violations.

    sorry to be a bearer of bad news!

  • Ryan

    One thing that might be worth trying for even smaller and lighter versions is using the caps that come on “eco friendly” bottled water. They certainly won’t be as robust but for things like salt/pepper it certainly wouldn’t need to be. 

    Seems like more testing is needed… ;)

  • Ryan

    One thing that might be worth trying for even smaller and lighter versions is using the caps that come on “eco friendly” bottled water (http://www.mrsmoneysaver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/deer-park.jpg). They certainly won’t be as robust but for things like salt/pepper it certainly wouldn’t need to be. 

    Seems like more testing is needed… ;)

  • Fernando

    Protip: use some other glue.  Super glue can be effected by the plastic of the bottle.  Over time it will become brittle.

    I’d go with a plastic safe epoxy.

    But great idea! It will be where i keep my matches from now on :)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Fernando, that makes sense. I used crazy/super glue because that’s what I had handy. A few people have suggested that I try some other glue. If you make one to store your matches, post a link here if you can so that we can all see it.

  • Fernando

    Protip: use some other glue.  Super glue can be effected by the plastic of the bottle.  Over time it will become brittle.

    I’d go with a plastic safe epoxy.

    But great idea! It will be where i keep my matches from now on :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Fernando, that makes sense. I used crazy/super glue because that’s what I had handy. A few people have suggested that I try some other glue. If you make one to store your matches, post a link here if you can so that we can all see it.

  • Aaron Jossie

    Just made one of these. I like it. I’ve been wanting something smaller than a pill bottle to keep a few ibuprofens and zyrtec in my school pack. This will work perfect. Thanks for the post.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks for the feedback Aaron. Some other readers made modified version of the soda bottle capsule with a plastic divider in between the two sections to create separate compartments, check out the comments for a link to that on JJERM’S Outdoor Blog.

  • Aaron Jossie

    Just made one of these. I like it. I’ve been wanting something smaller than a pill bottle to keep a few ibuprofens and zyrtec in my school pack. This will work perfect. Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks for the feedback Aaron. Some other readers made modified version of the soda bottle capsule with a plastic divider in between the two sections to create separate compartments, check out the comments for a link to that on JJERM’S Outdoor Blog.

  • Kris

    In addition to, or an alternative to, the glue, you could try heat-seal the plastic.  It is a bit more work, but it will create a very tight seal if you do, and if you can’t find a food-safe superglue, works perfectly for this.  
    There are various plastic-welding methods you can use too.The easiest, but potentially unsafe, is heating the 2 parts with a flame at a distance.  Just make sure to do this in an open area as always with plastic-welding as fumes from the plastic are toxic to an extent.  Also, make sure these plastics are BPA-free too.  Don’t want any of that leaking in to foods.  Most food-plastics are BPA-free these days anyway, so should be okay.  

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      That’s a pretty cool alternative to superglue. I could place both flat surfaces onto a flat hot surface like an old iron and quickly remove them and sandwich them together. If I did it outside it would be better for the fumes as you point out. I might give this a try.

  • Kris

    In addition to, or an alternative to, the glue, you could try heat-seal the plastic.  It is a bit more work, but it will create a very tight seal if you do, and if you can’t find a food-safe superglue, works perfectly for this.  
    There are various plastic-welding methods you can use too.The easiest, but potentially unsafe, is heating the 2 parts with a flame at a distance.  Just make sure to do this in an open area as always with plastic-welding as fumes from the plastic are toxic to an extent.  Also, make sure these plastics are BPA-free too.  Don’t want any of that leaking in to foods.  Most food-plastics are BPA-free these days anyway, so should be okay.  

  • Rp_joe

    Medicine, Vitamins, Matches, Cooking oil, Car keys.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Exactly! Just pick the right size bottle neck for the job and away you go. The Gatorade sports drinks bottles are my current favorite size.

  • Rp_joe

    Medicine, Vitamins, Matches, Cooking oil, Car keys.

  • Jeff

    I love this little hack.  You can also use contact lens cases–they come in several configurations, a few very similar to the finished product pictured above.  That being said, I’m going to make a bunch of these tight now.  :)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Jeff. Contact lens cases are almost exactly the same thing, you’re right. But where’s the fun in that? Let us know how you do with your capsules! Cheers.

  • Jwaters

    This is awesome!

    http://www.oberk.com/

  • Joefrog

    Thopter beat me to it — I’ve also made a few of those for Geocaching.  check out geocaching.com and find a use for ‘em, and entertain the heck out of your son. 

  • George Wells

    Go to your local soda bottler and ask nicely for some of the blanks the 2L bottles are blown out of. They are complete with the threaded cap head but the body is only about 5 inches long and about 3/16 thick. They are super tough and our field technicians swear by them for storing drill bits and screws.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’d love to get some of the “baby” soda bottle tubes, but have no idea what a “local soda bottler” is or where to find one. Any advice?

  • JERMM

    Brian- I think he is referring to a plant where cola (soda) is bottled 

    http://www.pepsibottlingventures.com/locations/

  • LNTCamper

    http://www.tomrowsell.com/2011/08/soda-bottle-pre-forms.html
    Hey Brian – Saw one of the for the 1st time a couple of weekends ago with my Scout troop. It was used as a mini geocache, tie to a branch.

  • Fred_sheffield

    Most sources state the glue in a “set” state is safe. Super glue was developed to seal battlefield wounds until they could reach a secure area. If you have reservations, visit the manufacturers website, as well as the FDA. Personally I would not hesitate to consume a product stored in one of these containers, after the glue has had a couple days time to dissipate any vapors. Great idea, I would also throw in a couple of wax sealed kitchen matches, a fire would be nice after taking an unexpected dump into the river.

  • Fred_sheffield

    Most sources state the glue in a “set” state is safe. Super glue was developed to seal battlefield wounds until they could reach a secure area. If you have reservations, visit the manufacturers website, as well as the FDA. Personally I would not hesitate to consume a product stored in one of these containers, after the glue has had a couple days time to dissipate any vapors. Great idea, I would also throw in a couple of wax sealed kitchen matches, a fire would be nice after taking an unexpected dump into the river.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Jeff. Contact lens cases are almost exactly the same thing, you’re right. But where’s the fun in that? Let us know how you do with your capsules! Cheers.

  • Jeff

    I love this little hack.  You can also use contact lens cases–they come in several configurations, a few very similar to the finished product pictured above.  That being said, I’m going to make a bunch of these tight now.  :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Exactly! Just pick the right size bottle neck for the job and away you go. The Gatorade sports drinks bottles are my current favorite size.

  • C J

    I am not an outdoorsy person but I like your idea.  As I was reading some of the comments (especially the ones about storing liquids), I thought why not glue on one of the caps.  This way it will help the liquids not to leak & if you use different color caps then it will help to remember which one is removable & which one isn’t. 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      CJ – gluing on one of the caps is another great way to modify this and make it your own. That’s the beauty of this easy project, there are so many variables that you can make just a small change and turn it into exactly what you want.

      Great to hear that you’re finding good uses for this simple little MYOG! Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a comment.

  • C J

    I am not an outdoorsy person but I like your idea.  As I was reading some of the comments (especially the ones about storing liquids), I thought why not glue on one of the caps.  This way it will help the liquids not to leak & if you use different color caps then it will help to remember which one is removable & which one isn’t. 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    CJ – gluing on one of the caps is another great way to modify this and make it your own. That’s the beauty of this easy project, there are so many variables that you can make just a small change and turn it into exactly what you want.

    Great to hear that you’re finding good uses for this simple little MYOG! Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a comment.

  • Taovens

    This is a great idea. you could even put a small o ring between the two before gluing to ensure a water proof seal.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m not sure if you mean an o-ring or flat rubber washer? The latter would work better and provide a flater surface for gluing.

  • Taovens

    This is a great idea. you could even put a small o ring between the two before gluing to ensure a water proof seal.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m not sure if you mean an o-ring or flat rubber washer? The latter would work better and provide a flater surface for gluing.

  • http://ayva.com.au/ injection moulding

    Wow.. cool DIY tips, i have tried the whole process before but i guess my glue wasn’t enough to stick them together. BTW, which one you are using? Must be a strong one that can set those pieces in a couple of minutes.

  • http://ayva.com.au/ injection moulding

    Wow.. cool DIY tips, i have tried the whole process before but i guess my glue wasn’t enough to stick them together. BTW, which one you are using? Must be a strong one that can set those pieces in a couple of minutes.

  • Thebridgetdaddy

    You could make these from 3 liter soda bottles for bigger storage.

  • Thebridgetdaddy

    You could make these from 3 liter soda bottles for bigger storage.

  • Susan

    When adding the divider, why not cut the plastic with a little tab on it? You could punch a hole in the tab and hang it from a key chain!!

  • Susan

    When adding the divider, why not cut the plastic with a little tab on it? You could punch a hole in the tab and hang it from a key chain!!

  • Brihadi

    I am thinking of placing a thin piece of recycled plastic (like from take out clam boxes) between the 2 soda mouths, to make 2 sections and making a travel salt and pepper container for lunch boxes.  Need to think of a cover for the shake side…Hmmmm

  • Brihadi

    I am thinking of placing a thin piece of recycled plastic (like from take out clam boxes) between the 2 soda mouths, to make 2 sections and making a travel salt and pepper container for lunch boxes.  Need to think of a cover for the shake side…Hmmmm

  • Billy B.

    i used a 3/4 pvc pipe in between the caps works great

  • Billy B.

    i used a 3/4 pvc pipe in between the caps works great

  • Shah Malati

    irs awesom for all including the kids for project work in school. i thnik such things should b used for all purpose very nice and very creative

  • Shah Malati

    irs awesom for all including the kids for project work in school. i thnik such things should b used for all purpose very nice and very creative

  • LMatt

    Nice! I just paid 8 bucks for something similar to hold spices.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      If you bought it at REI take it back and make some of these! If you’re happy with it then make some of these anyway, you’ll find all sorts of uses for them I guarantee it.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonLooseArrow Jason Loose Arrow

    I love it!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Jason. Is so easy and can be used for so many different things. I also make Gatorade bottle versions with the wider necks ;)

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    I didn’t think about that. It would make a great kids or Boy Scouts project for sure!

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    Genius! Love it :)

  • Sam

    This is a great idea if you wear contact lenses (like me!). Fill with saline and if you have to remove ur contacts, you have somewhere to put them!

  • Ann

    Just be super careful to wear protection over your mouth and nose {especially your CHILD’S} because those small plastic fibers will lodge in your nose, sinuses, lungs, etc and are dangerous!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kay.radebaugh Kay Radebaugh

    The ideas for the uses for this are endless. Just go to a sporting goods store’s website and see what they are advertising their for.

    Personally, I thinking making a bunch of these would be great. I like the idea of putting tabs on them and can see a way to put a tab on it without making the container two sided. I’d keep all my kitchen supplies on one metal ring, first aid supplies on one, etc. I think I would even go a step farther and color code the containers: red lids for first aid, yellow for kitchen, green for supplies (fishing, fire, etc.).

    I was thinking that these would make great fishing bobbers. I would glue the middle of the fishing line between the two halves, then secure a hook to the other end. Wrap it all up around a rubber worm and carefully shove it into the container. A slightly larger container might work a bit better. When it’s time to fish pull everything out (carefully so you don’t need the antibiotic capsules), put the lid back on, unroll the line and set it up. Might not be enough to go deep sea fishing but a trout should be fine.

    For those worried about the super glue around the food fear not. It’s used on open wounds and you aren’t actually eating the glue. (at least you shouldn’t be eating it) Once you glue it all together let it “cure” for a few days without the lids on it so the fumes released when drying don’t get ‘bottled up’ (lol) and it will be fine. I personally prefer to use E6000 to glue plastic to anything, especially other plastic.

  • Amy B

    This would make a great micro cache for geocaching!

  • josh camp

    I know this is an older thread, but wanted to say thanks anyway. I used the same concept for my sawyer squeeze mod a couple weeks ago. I fused to caps together so that the clean water goes straight into a platypus. NO spill.

  • kay

    homemade chapstick contanier?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Certainly!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016224543 Shannon Marie

    I’m so excited! I just made this today – I used PowerAde – a little larger lid, and heavier plastic. I used Elmer’s ProBond Advanced, so I’m waiting for the cure time…24 hours is forever!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tina-Hamby/100000329931826 Tina Hamby

    I’d use it for pills. The split compartment would be perfect!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Tina – are you going to make some?

  • Rose

    This will be great for carrying prescription drugs or Tylenol on my purse!! Can use little round stickers found in the stationary section at stores to write what is in them then sticking them to the top of the lid.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Small stickers is an easy solution! Thanks for sharing.

  • jeff

    You mentioned dividing the container by including a piece between the two necks and then using that to hold salt and pepper. If you add a perforated piece to each top under the caps, you’d then have a salt and pepper shaker that is water tight, but also one which won’t come open easily.