Neither paper nor plastic cups are actually "disposable" but we dispose of a lot of them! So much so, that they've become icons of our throwaway culture. The last time I got on a soapbox about the nastiness of some of the things we throw away (balloons), an anonymous industry person threw the book at me in a comment. Well, go ahead manufacturers of disposable cups! I'm not saying we shouldn't use them. But perhaps we could creatively repurpose them rather than dispose of them? And, in response to a comment thread on reddit: No, I don't really think anyone is actually going to craft with a used, lipstick-stained paper cup. But I do see completely unused "party supplies" being thrown out - those cups are fair game. And anything plastic can indeed be washed, reused and then repurposed. Or perhaps it's time to just look at these items in a new way: as cheap craft supplies, not disposable cups!? Here are 20+ ideas for you:
A glowing sphere of plastic that kids will love ... DIY care of Honest to Nod.
A glowing sphere of paper that grown-ups will love! From Cut out and Keep (see the Instructables challenge for more paper-cup lamp ideas)
The amazing "Cup de Light" that has been zooming around the blogosphere and Pinterest in recent weeks
Delicate paper-cup garland DIY from Hey Gorgeous
A little patriotic fringing for the upcoming holiday! From House of Earnest
Plastic cups covered in beautiful fabric give you these beauties ... care of Rebecca's DIY
Head to Wired and make some Cup Speakers... or, as they call them, iPod Ghetto Accessories.
A little plastic cup wrapped in jute cord (twine) results in a sweet plant pot. Care of Frugalful
Similaraly, cups and clothes pins create a home for air plants. From Going Home to Roost
Make an awesome, wacky desk organizer! Care of Curbly
Make a cute noisemaker for kids. How-to at Creative Jewish Mom
This paper-cup wreath should not look this good. But it does. Instructions at Twig and Thistle
Turn paper cups into a colorful centerpiece! Care of Morgan Made It
A little inspiration! Go look at all the pics of this installation... hundreds of doodled-upon paper cups ...
Be completely inspired by this bookstore interior ... many more pics of Scrumptious Reads here.
The mundane paper cup becomes fine homeware in the hands of Rebecca Wilson ...
A lot of cups (in the US anyway) are made of #6 plastic ... just like shrinky dinks. The picture above is from 356 do-overs. You should also check out the instructions at Dollar Store Crafts and Craft Fail
Amazing "swiss candy jewelry" from Aunt Peaches ... actual detailed tutorials
Make a colorful suncatcher ...
Or, finally, a shrinky plastic wind chime