When it comes to crafting with our kids, some of the best ideas that they enjoy the most are actually made from the simplest things. Of course, they’re kids with wild imaginations, so the more unconventional those simple crafting “tools” are, the better. Lately, they’ve been inexplicably obsessed with making things out of paper cups and we’re more than happy to oblige them since those are affordable and totally fun to work with.
Just in case you think your kids would enjoy crafting with paper cups too but you’re in need of a few ideas to help them get started, here are 15 awesome DIY ideas that will transform your simple cups into all kinds of things!
1. Pretty washi tape paper cups
Perhaps you’re just looking for a very simple idea that will keep the kids amused even just for a few moments at a slumber party? We always find that quick activities help them stay busy but accommodate the short attention spans they tend to have when they get excited. For example, check out how Madame Bon Bon used fun coloured and patterned washi tape to decorate paper cups and consider having your kids make cups like this of their own so everyone can tell their drinks apart during a movie and snacks.
2. Paper cup gift boxes
Are you a big fan of making your friends little gifts and trinkets on special occasions, but you always find things with lots of small parts or very small things more difficult to wrap effectively while still looking cute? In that case, you’re going to love the way Papermash wrapped their gifts in a paper cup so that everything stays all together at once! Of course, you still want things to look cute and be fun to open, so check out how they used twisted patterned paper and ribbons or strings to give the whole thing some decorative element.
3. Paper cup advent calendar
Do you like the idea of filling paper cups with little gifts or trinkets but you’d rather make a bit of a game out of it with your kids, instead of just giving them something one time? In that case, pick something they’ll enjoy making and opening… every single day! This DIY advent calendar by Pretty Little Party Shop is made from decorated paper cups hung upside down, with chocolates placed inside and covered over. Number the cups, hang them up, and let your kids open one every day in order to count down to an exciting special occasion.
4. Paper coffee cup cutlery holder
Do the paper cups you usually encounter come primarily from Starbucks or another favourite coffee shop of yours? Well, don’t worry at all, because those are absolutely still useful! In fact, because they’re bigger, Why All The Fuss actually finds them more useful in certain ways. Check out this tutorial for turning a large paper cup into a simply decorated disposable cutlery holder that’s perfect for a party where you’d prefer a quick clean up with few dishes.
5. Paper cup decor wreath
Have your kids always had fun stacking paper cups inside each other like a little tower, playing with them as though they’re differently shaped building blocks? Then why not make a craft together that actually takes advantage of that stackability? We adore this decorative door wreath from Booth 555, for example, especially if you have cups that are covered in all kinds of design and colours like the ones in the photo.
6. Paper cup racetrack
Are you looking for a craft that’s a little more in depth, creative, and abstract? Our favourite kind of craft to make along those lines are those that our kids can help with while we’re actually making them but that they can also continue playing with for ages after as well. That way they get double the amusement! This awesome toy car race track from The Everyday Momma, for example, is made from paper cups that have been flipped, cut, turned, and glued every which way.
7. Paper cup tissue holder
Do you often find yourself in need of tissues while you’re driving in the car, but you always have your family in the seats and don’t really have anywhere to put a box of tissues that’s convenient? In that case, try making yourself a tissue holder that can sit in one of your spare cup holders instead! We love this paper coffee cup design from AnnaDIYCafe that lets you simply pull tissues out the top so that they pull the next one up for easy access, just like in a store bought box.
8. Paper cup string lights
Did you like the look of the way the paper cups hung down from the wall in the DIY advent calendar idea we showed you above but you’d rather make a décor piece that’s at least a little more semi-permanent than something you’ll immediately start tearing down? In that case, have your kids help you make tiny little light covers for the bulbs along a set of string lights by poking them through coloured and patterned paper cups, just like Cats and DIY did here!
9. Paper cup iPhone speakers
Do you love listening to music on your phone when no one else is home but you can’t afford a set of speakers right now and you don’t have the electrical knowledge to make your own hardware ones? Well, we’ve definitely been there too but lucky for all of us, WikiHow as an awesome tutorial that will let you make surprisingly effective speakers of your own with some duct tape and two big paper cups! The music from your phone will echo through the cups when you place it in the slot and be amplified out from the wide openings at the ends.
10. Paper cup air cannon
If you’ve never played with an air cannon before, then you’ve definitely been missing out! They’re a funny little feat of physics and tomfoolery that provided us hours of amusement when we were kids, so naturally we wanted to make sure our kids get to experiences the fun too! Find out how this miniature homemade air canon was created from a paper cup and a balloon on Instructables.
11. Halloween paper cups
Have your kids always loved Halloween more than basically anything? In that case, they probably love Halloween themed crafts the most as well! It might not be fall time yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start collecting ideas for the season now for when the kids get bored and want some crafting time in the future! We love this cute paper cup craft idea from The Ramblings of A Crazy Woman, which is done by cutting and pasting construction paper shapes to create cackling Jack-O-Lanterns and spooky black cats.
12. Fall paper scarecrows
Were your kids pretty enthusiastic about the idea of making fall crafts but they haven’t quite taken up interest in pumpkins for the year yet? Then perhaps they’d prefer to make these adorable scarecrow cups in a similar technique instead! We love the way Living at The Whitehead Zoo added googly eyes for some funny personality.
13. Little paper cup pendant light
Large paper drinking cups aren’t the only kinds of paper cup you can use if crafting with them to make cool, unconventional things is the goal! We’ve always thought that the DIY projects we’ve seen that are made from little paper condiment cups were some of the coolest ideas around. This miniature cup pendant light shade featured on Rebloggy is the perfect example of what we mean. It looks amazing when the lights glow through from the inside!
14. DIY paper cup dispenser
Perhaps you actually just find that your family uses and recycles many paper cups in general, whether they’re drinking from them, crafting with them, or whatever else? Do you find, then, like we do, that there are always stray cups rolling around in places they shouldn’t be? In that case, try following in Thomas Kim‘s footsteps and making yourself somewhere effective to store them! Check out how they created a paper cup dispenser out of an old water bottle.
15. Cute paper cup telephone
Just like the air cannon, do you remember playing with “telephones” made of cups that have been joined by a string when you were a kid, and now you’d like to share that fun idea with your kids as well? Then check out this affordable paper cup version made by La Maison de Lou Lou! We love the way they’ve decorated their cups and the string in between.
Do you also know someone who has a big stash of paper cups and a penchant for all things DIY and crafting? Share this post with them so they can try using those cups up in all kinds of different, awesomely creative ways!