Mexican Folk Art Bottle Cap Cross

I just returned from Playa del Carmen, Mexico and as always tempted to buy everything in sight. I love anything and everything artisan and I know it’s because I grew up with a mom who is crafty. She crochets, embroiders, macramés, sews, and makes it all handmade with love. Till this day I’m a sucker for folk art, artisan, and handmade products.

On the plane home, I realized I still hadn’t posted this craft with you. It’s a beautiful Mexican folk art cross with bottle caps, and in the bottle caps are photos of my ancestors.

This is a wonderful craft to memorialize loved ones that have passed. Of course Dia de los Muertos is the official holiday where we honor our loved ones, but this cross can be displayed year round, and can even showcase your family tree.

If you know me, or follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I have been on an antique kick. I thought it would be fun to create this with an aged effect. My crafting partner, Thrifty Rehab, nailed it (and glued it)!

The best part of this craft is that it is personalized and you too can use images of your loved ones. If you already have digital images, perfect. If not, and you have photos that you don’t want to destroy, no worries. Simply take a picture of the photo with a digital camera or use a scanner. Once you have the photo uploaded to your computer, you’ll use a photo editor to size each image to 1 inch to fit in the bottle caps. We used Photoshop but any image editor that you’re familiar with will work.

Next, find trinkets and colorful images. Since this DIY is unique to you and your family, find items that you feel express your family members’ personalities or objects related to fun memories. If you don’t have things handy you can purchase embellishments from the craft store.

We used clock hardware, paper crafting supplies, and rose cutouts from a magazine. If you don’t have the all the supplies we have listed, use your imagination and get creative with the things that you do have. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to create art! Let’s begin.


  • Computer
  • Scanner or digital camera
  • Printer
  • Photo editing software
  • 8 bottle caps
  • Sand paper (coarse grit)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • Disposable container for mixing rusting solution
  • Paper towels
  • Hacksaw
  • Reclaimed wood 1.5” x .5” you’ll need the following lengths: 15”, 5”, 5”, 4”, 4”
  • Tape measurer
  • Pencil
  • Wood glue
  • 3 clamps
  • Stickers, cut-outs, or print fun images
  • Miscellaneous metal objects, beads, paper crafts, etc.
  • Tacks
  • Scissors

First, resize and print digital images of your relatives and cut each one out to be one-inch diameter.

Next, if you had to buy new aluminum bottle caps from a hobby store, you can easily rust them prematurely. First, scuff them up using the sandpaper. Next, lay them in a disposable container and pour hydrogen peroxide, covering them. Add three tablespoons of salt and in 10 to 20 minutes the bottle caps will have a nice rusty patina. Remove them from the solution; allow them to air dry on paper towels.

Carefully use the hacksaw to cut your pieces of reclaimed wood. (We picked ours up at Hobby Lobby). You’ll need to measure and cut one 15” for the center, two 5” pieces for the cross, and two 4” pieces for the base.

Now, the fun part, assemble everything. We simply used wood glue to put everything together, including the cross. Be sure to use clamps to stabilize.

We hope you have as much fun building your Mexican folk art bottle cap cross as much as we did.

If you make one we would love to know how you embellished yours.

Do you want one, but just aren’t crafty? Well guess what? You can order one and we will make it for you! Just email Kirsten at and she’ll give you all the details on how she can make one for you!

Photography: Jenna Sparks & Thrifty Rehab / DIY: Thrifty Rehab