Friday, July 17, 2015

Wonky Foam Cup Vases - How To

Want to know how to transform those Styrofoam coffee cups you have and use into uniquely shaped vases?  I saw a tutorial on Instructables from a few years ago and was curious to see if it really worked

Materials Used:
Styrofoam cups
Crock Pot or Large Pot w/Lid
Rubber bands

Here's what I did: 
 1.  Add water 3/4 full to crock pot set on high or to stove pot w/lid and let water heat up hot or boiling, first.

2. Put a rubber band around a Styrofoam cup.  It's easier to start at the bottom of the cup where it's smaller and move the band up.  I distorted the first cup trying to put the rubber band on from the top. Also, the tighter you make the rubber bands the greater a unique design develops.  

3.  Add a small weight (I used a small glass votive) to keep the cup partially down and put in hot water. *Over at Instructables, the directions said to put cup in a small bowl first, but I found this unnecessary in using both the crockpot and large pot with lid.  *Tip: I used pot holder gloves and tongs to remove the cups - be careful, the water is extremely HOT!

4. Depending on the type of crockpot you're using (I tried two different ones), with both heating quite differently.  One, I left the cup in for over an hour with the following pictured results:  

It took a long time for the cup to transform and then it was bending slightly.  Don't know if this was from the pressure of the rubber bands.
Next, I cut off the top border and tighten two rubber bands by doubling them twice and put in another crockpot.

With the second crockpot, it only took a few minutes to achieve the results as seen in the picture below.  Still, bending slightly, and I didn't do a good job in cutting the foam.

I tighten the bands again and use just one near the top.  I put this cup in a large pot, added a weight and put a lid on the pot.  The cup took just a few minutes to change.  I like this shape much better.

I tighten the bands again, weighted the cup and put this one in the second crockpot that heated hotter on HI than the first. I like this shape the best!

Here's the group of banded cups I submersed.

The experiment of transforming foam cups into vases really does work.  Although a bit wonky, and unique. Isn't that what some of us look for in décor?  The possibilities are open for adding embellishments like covering the vases with a foam coating to change the texture appearance and adding other mixed media are unlimited. Perhaps I'll try something like that next.

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting!


  1. Such unique shapes! They don't look like foam cups any more but lovely pieces of art. Thanks for this great idea. I do have a question...when you put the cup in the pot of hot water, do you take the pot off of the heat?

  2. These are adorable. Wow!! It is amazing what you can create out of the simplest things. Gail, you always create the most amazing crafts.

  3. These are so cute. You come up with some of the most ingenious techniques and ideas. You never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy

  4. This is awesome! I had no idea you could even do that! It's the perfect way to transport flowers without having to worry about breaking the vase. (I'm seriously clumsy!)

  5. Wow, great way to upcycle those foam cups... they look... not like a foam cup. That's my favorite type of upcycle project, when you can make something pretty that looks NOTHING LIKE what you started from!

  6. Oh Gail, you are so amazing! I am always so inspired by you and how you can take something simple and ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary.

    Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs!

  7. Never in a million years would I have thought of this! And I love it!
    Here from 2 uses Tuesday.

  8. Such a unique and creative idea it!!
    Dr Sonia
    Cards Crafts Kids Projects

  9. That is so cool! p.s I love purple as well, it's the best color! :)

  10. I love this idea! A custom vase for that is so easy to make. Great job Gail!!

  11. Could you do this on the stove top? Also, I wondered if adding food coloring to the water would change the color of the cup.

  12. Could you do this on the stove top? Also, I wondered if adding food coloring to the water would change the color of the cup.


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