Repurpose: Cupfuls of Potential... | the ReFab Diaries

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
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  1. Great roundup. The speakers are genius! I've made the glowing spheres from plastic cups to use as outdoor Christmas decorations ( We love them! Also, did you know they make biodegradable plastic cups from corn? We used them at our wedding, and it only took a few months for them to break down in our compost pile! :-)

    1. Thanks Michelle! For the kind words and the input! I do think the biodegradable stuff is the way to go - glad to know it really does disappear! I'm a huge fan of your blog btw ... :)

  2. These are awesome!! I want to try all of them! Thanks!

    1. Glad you're inspired! If you do try them, please come back and share the results! :)

  3. So many ideas! Thanks! Good that I found out about all these other blogs too :-)


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