The custom graphics are done with an innovative printing process that creates waterproof and durable images. We have tested iodophor, Star-San, bleach, and alcohol; all work fine when used for the short period necessary for sanitization. (Iodophor needs only 2 minutes, and bleach only 5. Soaking overnight is not recommended due to the risk of rust.) Excessive amounts of iodophor may stain the cap itself, and maybe even the printing. Any other sanitization method is at your own risk. Boiling can detach or distort the PVC liners, and should not be used on our caps or any others with liners. Just to be clear: DO NOT BOIL. Boiling may work with some types of caps, but not ours. We recommend a quick rinse of the caps before sanitization to remove any debris from shipping.
Our "oxy caps" have a special oxygen-absorbing liner to remove oxygen from the bottle. The liner is activated by exposure to moisture, so for best results, only keep the caps wet long enough to sanitize (a few minutes) and bottle. Only sanitize as many as you need; once they are wet they will be "spent" if not used immediately. They'll still work like regular caps, but their special oxygen-eating properties will be gone.
We recommend pry-off bottles only for all home brewers, and specifically for our caps. Twist-off bottles are weaker than standard bottles and break more easily, and it's harder to get a good seal, esecially with oxy liners. Twist-off-ness is based on the bottle: if your bottle has threads molded into the rim, the cap will twist off once applied. Pry-off bottles have a thick rounded rim.
If you're ordering caps for beer, our caps have one of two kinds of liners: standard and oxygen-absorbing. Our standard PVC lined caps create a strong, industry-standard seal on your bottle. If you're entering a competition, cellaring your beer, or just want extra insurance for a special batch, our oxygen-absorbing lined caps are right for you. The oxy liner is specially designed to remove oxygen from the bottle when exposed to moisture; the resulting beer stays fresher longer. Crafters can choose either sort; if no liner is desired, you can boil the caps and peel them off.
Our bottle caps behave like other standard bottle caps: rough handling, especially with sharp objects (like the edges of bottle caps), can damage the printing. Unfortunately, shipping often involves rough handling, and may cause some damage. Normal bottling usage will not cause any damage to the printing. If you're using an industrial sorter to bottle, let us know! If you intend to use bottle caps as long-term craft items, we recommend applying some protection to the tops, like an acrylic spray or epoxy stickers.
Thanks to our innovative technology, your custom image's colors will look the same on all of our different cap colors. As long as there is enough color contrast between your image and the cap color, you can choose whichever color you like and get the same results. Just don't put a black image on a black cap!
We offer digital printing directly on the top of the cap with a CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black) process. This is a very flexible technique that allows us to use any design provided, though like any digital printing we create most colors with small dots of ink that can be seen on very close inspection. The digital look disappears when viewed from a normal reading distance. Our technology creates a matte image printed on top of the base paint of the cap, which is a bit different in look from the traditional lacquered cap. The resulting image is slightly raised: this is more noticeable on caps with transparencies in the design. Please place a sample order if these differences worry you.
We can only print on the top of the cap; the edges will remain the base color of the cap. Our printing process tries to match on-screen colors, but we cannot guarantee colors will match the final product. Printing on white paper with a CMYK inkjet will provide a better approximation of the resulting colors than a computer screen. (If you need a very specific shade, please contact us.) Some colors will appear purer than others due to the digital process and resolutions available.
Our caps come ready to be put on a bottle, with the sides flared out. This "raw" form is somewhat different from the iconic bottle cap, which has the sides straight down. Crafters will probably want to "bottle" or "crimp" the cap. See the difference in these images:
If you want the "used" form but don't have a capper, you can probably convince your local home brewer or home brew store to let you use theirs. (Bring a twist-off bottle.) If you have many to do, you can also buy a capper. See our collection of the best homebrew equipment on Amazon.
Check with your recycling center to see if they accept steel bottle caps. Most but not all are equipped to handle them. Our caps are the same as standard crown caps for recycling purposes.