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Designer vases from used coffee cups
by makendo on November 25, 2010 Table of Contents Designer vases from used coffee cups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Designer vases from used coffee cups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: Materials and equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: What and how . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Sculpt a vase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Add flowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 3 4 6 8 8

http://www.instructables.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/

and insulating. It's an interesting gift if you add flowers or a small plant. Step 1: Materials and equipment This simple project uses equipment that will be found in nearly all kitchens. only takes a few minutes.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . I used a slow cooker. I imagine. And a used styrofoam cup (a new one would work. of course. but flimsy and rarely recycled. You also need a small bowl and a rubber band.Intro: Designer vases from used coffee cups Styrofoam cups are light. Here's a way of transforming a used styrofoam cup into a similarly-sized vase of your own design. but it's much better to recycle/repurpose one). but a pot with a lid would work fine too. Slow cooker and bowl Image Notes http://www. is ridiculously easy to do. Image Notes 1. and every vase/pot will be unique. cheap.instructables. It costs nothing.

. you'll just melt the cup and make a stinky mess of your cookware.it's also faster). or it will take AGES. After 1 hour. This cup was treated in a pressure cooker. because the plastic gets quite soft. Note how the proportions are nearly perfect. Whether you're making tiny cups or making funky vases of your own design. it first expands.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . You should have preheated the slow cooker.1. then shrinks smaller and smaller the longer you leave it. get the cooker up to heat first (on high). You can do this by putting the cup in a submersible ROV and sending it 1400 m underwater.. The photo below shows how when you heat the coffee cup. Used styrofoam coffee cup 2. Put coffee cup inside bowl that is floating on water (hard to see here. Put a styrofoam cup under high pressure and/or heat and it will shrink dramatically as the gas is driven out. I know). but you get a more perfect little cup in a pressure-cooker (see the second photo . After half an hour 4. Otherwise. Regular cup 2. I did these in the slow cooker.you'll get a neat miniature coffee cup. Aww.e.instructables. but not much good for anything (espressos?). Put lid on. by popping one in a pressure cooker for half an hour . or much more easily. isn't it adorable? Image Notes 1. http://www. It also gets somewhat distorted. i. Small strong rubber band Step 2: What and how Styrofoam is a brand name for expanded polystyrene (a hydrocarbon polymer blown full of gas). It's also important to cook the cup bain marie style. Image Notes 1. After cooking for a minute or two 3. It's cute. despite the diminutive size Image Notes 1. Image Notes 1. inside a bowl that is immersed in water.

making it collapse inwards instead. It seemed to work well. Valaynetine reports that some sorts of polystyrene cup don't change shape at all. Done! Try putting two bands on. and boil for a couple of minutes (watch it.instructables. with the cup upside down. so that's probably the style to use. you get best results from looser bands. and take off the rubber band. Strong.Image Notes 1. tight bands will create the most interesting effects. Feedback COASTER19 advises that if you have a pressure cooker.all the same sort . The ones I tried . and a 7-minute cooking time. or put an odd-shaped object inside to act as a mold (I ran out of used coffee cups. After cooking for an hour or so. This project is great for experimentation to see what effects you can achieve. This behavior can be manipulated by applying a constant force to some parts of the cup. the cup both softens and expands. Image Notes 1.were a soft. you have a mini-cup Step 3: Sculpt a vase We're going to take advantage of the fact that in the first few minutes in the slow cooker. it's only 46 seconds long! http://www. replace the lid. Take a coffee cup. Check it out. and put a rubber band around it near the top.. Remove once suitably shape-changed. don't time it!). calischs from InstructablesTV made a short video based on this instructable. relatively bendy type of cup.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . and cut the rim off then immersed the cup in boiling water with the help of a metal weight. Put it in the bowl. Tip: get the rubber band as tight as possible.. so haven't actually tried the latter). Something odd has happened to my cup.

2. After a few minutes in the slow cooker.instructables.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ .I'm guessing the effect would be more regular if you did. Image Notes 1. I used tweezers to help remove the rubber band. Two bands for twice the shape changing effect Image Notes 1. I watched the process rather than timed it. Image Notes 1. I didn't make the band nice and even .Image Notes 1. Two bands make the shape more interesting http://www.

but it is also a blank canvas for your own creativity. The cup becomes quite textured as the individual beads swell in the heat Step 4: Add flowers With flowers or a small plant. please post a picture in the comments section. This vase is exactly the same height as the original cup 2. so if you make one. Image Notes 1. I think the plain white vase is interesting enough on its own. you have a nice inexpensive gift with a unique twist. no doubt due to the extra band http://www.instructables.Image Notes 1.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . It would be great to see variations on the theme. This one is a little shorter.

com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . It almost looks like a spout http://www. I don't know why this one buckled so much.instructables.Image Notes 1.

.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . 2011. I wondered what would happen if I used a slow cooker instead. which made the flower stand up Related Instructables Designer Vases from Styrofoam Cups (video) by calischs the many uses of an everyday coffee cup by delta1998 styrofoam cup (polystyrene insulated foam container) beer safe by thematthatter ?omposite PET Vases by bara1962 Carleyys Blog Round Up September 20th by Carleyy Pretty Vase From Plastic Bottle by coolcat Comments 50 comments Add Comment view all 66 comments WhyHello says: I'm curious how did u get this idea :) Mar 7. These are glass beads. 10:14 PM REPLY I knew that you could get a miniature polystyrene cup by pressure-cooking it.. 2011. 2011.Image Notes 1. and the rest was just messing around. 7:55 PM REPLY http://www.instructables. 7:56 PM REPLY makendo says: Mar 7. WhyHello says: I wonder if you can use a microwave Mar 7.

2:07 PM REPLY I know that styrofoam melts almost instantly against the tip of a hot glue gun (personal experience) so it might just create holes in the cup. 7:36 AM REPLY makendo says: Dec 28. a triangle of three or a stack of cups? For the triangle. put bands on the outside. WA makendo says: Jan 7. we have all sorts of clever mechanisms for scavenging small amounts of toxins out of our system . If I get hold of any styro cups. The stack could look really crazy . 2010. Or a peanut.. or smokers would have to worry about a quick death from cyanide poisoning as well as a slow one from cancer. if you added water. assuming there is any left in there. I'd never considered it. and a styrofoam cup doesn't contain much. Or painting something. you could heat the cup in specific places. http://www.bunchfamily. Feb 4. 2011.good idea to include the video. 8:53 AM REPLY Suzanne in Orting says: Jan 6. Then. 2011. 12:45 PM REPLY Neat! I wonder how these would work as little planters if you poked holes in the bottom. especially if it was a industrial strength type gun. They work just fine as planters. but the one In have is a basic rubber stamping type and I think if enough attention in paid to the distance.I hope you try it! sitzikbs says: totally awsome idea! its even great for recyceling! Dec 21. or a crockpot with a liner added.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . Thanks for the additional ideas! Suzanne in Orting. WA valleycrosser says: Feb 1.. interesting. so if you want to be super-cautious. I'll let you know what happens. and cooked it for a minute or two. but they're kind of an awkward shape. 2010. Since I have sheets of foam. Or lighting a candle. 2010. The gas used to foam polystyrene is volatile. say. I was thinking about cutting them in circles and using the gun to raise the edge of the blanks to create "plates". I'm kind of concerned about the chemicals that would wear off on the pot as well. maybe this would be something I'd try with a reject pot. will be minuscule . 2011. you might get some unusual effects. 9:07 PM REPLY I'm sure it would melt the styrofoam if it was held too closely. 2011. 2011. annab135 says: Could several be combined in such a way that a larger vase could be made? Dec 28. Microwave ovens work their magic on water. it will be do-able.you'd expose yourself to far more toxic chemicals by eating any blackened piece of food. Any dye that dissolved in the water would not stick to the cup. I never thought about using the the heat gun to melt holes in the foam. 3:28 PM REPLY Interesting idea. just do it outside. 7:12 AM REPLY Bunchland says: We loved this idea so much we thought we would share it with our readers as well.just as well. 2011. would dye in the water stain the cup for you? makendo says: Feb 6. 2011. In fact. don't be surprised if your cup goes all Salvador Dali on you! Good luck. However. but I doubt they'd hold together well unless you left the band(s) in place or glued them. 10:12 PM REPLY Probably not. Fortunately. I have one for heat embossing when I rubber stamp.makendo says: Mar 7. 12:30 PM REPLY Thanks. unfortunately. Feb 4. Or an apple seed. who knows? You should try it :) ellequoi says: Feb 5.ca/valentines-day-craft-styrofoam-vases-paper-flowers makendo says: Thanks for letting me know . Suzanne in Orting says: Feb 1. 1:10 PM REPLY http://www. I look forward to hearing about the results. 2011. Also. Any leaching of blowing gas. It won't stick to the pot. 9:27 AM REPLY Hmm. Are you imagining. 2011. Suzanne in Orting. 11:03 PM REPLY I was wondering if you could manipulate the shape even more by putting the cup on a turntable/lazy Susan and using a heat gun.instructables. It could be an interesting addition to the textures.

& many thanks for the tips. 5:52 PM REPLY xKari says: lol i was referring to when you heat the cups =P Dec 16. it will take a long time. Thanks! Valaynetine says: Dec 18. 4:47 AM REPLY makendo says: Fair enough :) Dec 17. 7:42 PM REPLY Yeah. 2010. Post pictures if you can! ricerock says: Dec 7. 4:12 PM REPLY makendo says: Thanks! Promise her that you won't eat the cup. thanks again! xKari says: This looks really awesome! when i told mum about it. 2010. 2010. Dec 15.I'll add your advice to step 3. 3:50 PM REPLY COASTER19 says: Dec 11. that would be really helpful. rice cooker. I'll try with a different type of styrofoam. using various levels of boiling water. the pot should be boiling). I wonder if it is the type of polystyrene cup. 1:27 AM REPLY Do you like place the cup upside down in the bowl and is there no water in the bowl please answer me I am very excited to make one!!!!! -rice rock makendo says: Dec 7. Maybe the more rigid style of cup doesn't work so well. 5:08 PM REPLY makendo says: Dec 16. Next time. Make sure everything is hot before you start and the rubber band you use is tight.but nothing happened with the styrofoam cup. 2010. 9:35 PM REPLY Glad to hear you tried it. Bowl is empty. 2010. 4:47 AM REPLY xKari says: lol but i have to because it's her kitchen XP Dec 17. All the cups I tried were the same sort . bendy and not brittle. When I tried it. but all I had on hand was those stretchy.this trick works best if everything is really hot before you start (i. that is really useful to know . 7:24 AM REPLY Water in the slow cooker. 2010. 2010. Otherwise.some may be more heat resistant or stronger than others. even when left in there with there lid on for about ten minutes. I dont know if it was my cups.instructables.quite a soft polystyrene. but I won't try and convince your mum it's safe (even though it is). though . the "no knot" kind. 7:17 PM REPLY I love this idea. 2010. 3:50 PM REPLY I really can't see why the band would matter . a crock pot. the cup upside-down. 2010. but the cup neither shrank nor expanded. 2010. When you say nothing happened. she got concerned about the chemicals from the cups though =X Dec 15. I found that it worked better with a less tight rubber band. did the cup at least shrink (even if it didn't change shape)? The only other thing I can think of is the temperature . ask for forgiveness rather than permission :) xKari says: and equipment Dec 17. Can you substitute a rice cooker for the slow/pressure cooker? Dec 6. Good luck! jen7714 says: Great instructable! I do have a question though. but after trying about five times. rubberband like hair ties. A pressure cooker gets a lot hotter than a slow cooker. not sure if you're familiar. The water was boiling pretty heavily.Valaynetine says: Dec 17.anything tight ought to do it. Put cup in right way up (see 3rd photo in step 2 for what it should look like before you put the lid on). and in the preassure cooker for 7 minutes.e. but when I put them in the preassure cooker with a fairly tight rubber band they were crushed. 2010. so your results make sense. I know. 2010. Does the type of band I used affect that? I don't see how it would. 10:48 AM REPLY I attempted this. 10:45 AM REPLY It could be the type of foam then. makendo says: Dec 11. 2010. 2010. and a stainless steel stock pot. makendo says: Dec 17. 12:36 PM REPLY http://www. 2010. If you could possibly post a picture of the type of cup that doesn't work.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ .

10:36 PM REPLY Hi Ilove thisw idea but have to ask if the plastic gases that are leaving the pressure cooker are haealthy to bearthe in? Ihave to be extra careful with plastics and heat in any form. 10:11 AM REPLY There is no need to paint it to make it waterproof . 8:55 AM REPLY Another question.thanks makendo says: Dec 6. 5:54 PM REPLY Ahh okay. instead of a vase because it will just leak every where. let us know how you get on. 2010. have you ever left a cup of coffee or tea over night in these kind of cups? the next morning you'd see beads of coffee on the side of the cup. 10:02 AM REPLY I think it's great to make these into just sculturs or soemthing. 11:51 PM REPLY CrLz says: Elegant. 2010. the vast majority of the gas remains in the foam (that's why the cup expands). 2010. 2010. 2010. 11:54 PM REPLY Thanks. this must be one of the safest! Also. because it's relatively easily recycled. so it can't really be a functional. 9:52 AM REPLY http://www. It's up to the individual citizen to locate (and deliver to) a private company for recycling. My eyes (as well as my brain and body) are old.it's every bit as watertight as it ever was. so give it a try (I've never used a rice cooker to cook rice.makendo says: Dec 6. Can't wait to try it! And thank you so much! You too on your runner up finish :) deladybex says: Dec 5. Thanks! makendo says: Exactly correct! Dec 5. float a dry metal bowl in the water. 2010. Sounds creative once you got the hang of it.you'd undoubtedly be exposed to worse when filling your car or lighting a fire. This is a beautiful Instructable..too bad. Then put the coffee cup (no water in it) in the dry metal bowl. I only suggested painting it for decoration. :) Thanks I'll definitely try it out. Good luck with the upcycling! Dec 5. rat3 says: Dec 5. I'd like to try this. just hard to transport because of its bulk. how does it remain upright? I can't tell what has water in it and what doesn't. neither of which are particularly risky activities. While the expanded polystyrene is mostly air. These cups look pretty impressive so I was thinking of making some for a centerpiece.the polar water molecules aren't in the least interested in interacting with the polymer. Dec 5. makendo says: Dec 5. 12:40 PM REPLY poppet2 says: Thanks for clarifying. 10:47 AM REPLY Duckism says: Dec 5. Just make sure everything is up to heat before you put in the cup. 12:02 AM REPLY Well. 2010. poppet2 says: Dec 5. These vases have had water in them for a week or so and are as dry as a bone on the outside. 2010. it's watertight by virtue of its hydrophobicity .. If the cup doesn't have water in it.instructables. 2010.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . Great post! Dec 5. They don't collect expanded polystyrene here either . makendo says: Dec 5.. 2010. espeically if they want to coat the cup with different kind of spray and stuff making this easily recyclable polystyrene cup into soemthing that can't be recycle any more. 2010. so they don't penetrate the cup in the slightest. poeple are green washing this project a little too much. the gas they use to foam the polystyrene beads is pretty benign anyway . because you're just putting the cup in the bain marie for only a few minutes. I suspect that anything with a lid that can boil water would work. Similar to a double boiler when melting chocolate. 9:18 AM REPLY I believe he is saying to put water in your slow cooker pot. 2010. 3:27 PM REPLY Thanks. how is that green? it would just be much better for the environment if you simply put the cut in a recycling bin. much less polystyrene cups). Where I live the city does not recycle this type of plastic. I don't trust them entirely. sparkleponytx says: Dec 5. 2010. both your designs and your Instructable. (and congratulations on the eclairs!) jen7714 says: Dec 6. makendo says: Good luck. Of all the experiments you might do with plastic. I'm always looking for more ways to upcycle foam cups that come into my house. it is completely functional without. 9:22 PM REPLY Thanks. The photos are lovely and the idea is original. 2010. Very cool. Great for Xmas gifts.

2010. 8:47 AM REPLY makendo says: They do. 2010. Dec 5. 9:46 AM REPLY Thanks. don't they? :) Dec 5. Styrofoam is a trade name for a different product and it is not used in foam cups or meat trays or any of the numerous other food related containers that people call Styrofoam. 2010. it's tricky whenever a brand name becomes the default name for something. so I tried to both call the material by its common name and explain that the material used is actually expanded polystyrene. 2010.nejo0017 says: really nice reuse!!! Dec 5. Dec 5.instructables. and yes. However. 2010. 8:40 AM REPLY Just a note though: foam cups are NOT Styrofoam. 9:48 AM REPLY lotusduck says: To me these seem like super tiny lampshades. 9:48 AM REPLY weibbed says: This is very clever and will be fun to try. you're quite right. makendo says: Dec 5. 8:54 AM REPLY view all 66 comments http://www.. poppet2 says: Does the styrofoam cup contain water? Is the bowl in water as well as filled with water? Dec 5.com/id/Designer-vases-from-used-coffee-cups/ . Mostly it is used for insulating house and occasionally in craft products.. 2010.