Wonky Foam Cup Vases

3 Materials
10 Minutes
Have you ever discovered something a bit unbelievable that you just have to try? I did! I saw a post on Instructables a few years ago and was curious to see if it really worked. It was about transforming Styrofoam coffee cups into uniquely shaped vases. How cool would this be if it really worked? Imagine the possibilities! And the best part is you only need Styrofoam cups, a crock pot or large pot w/lid, rubber bands, water and probably weights to keep the foam cups down. For a complete tutorial see: http://plumperfectandme.blogspot.com/2015/07/wonky-foam-cup-vases-how-to.html
1. Start by filling a crock pot or large pot 3/4 full with water and set heat on high to boil. 2. Put a rubber band or bands around a Styrofoam cup. The tighter the bands the greater a unique design will develop.
3. Add a small weight - I used a small glass votive) to keep the cup partially down and put in hot water. Tip: Use pot holder gloves and tongs - the water is extremely hot!
4. Watch the cup transform - it could take just a few minutes or much longer depending on the crock pot. It only took a few minutes using a large pot w/lid, but nearly one hour using a generic brand crockpot. A more sophisticated crock pot with many features also changed the cup in a few minutes. 5. Carefully remove cup with tongs and remove rubber bands. The cup is cool but the water is hot, hot, hot!
Results using one rubber band
Two bands, not tighten
Here's the group of banded cups I submersed. One, I cut the top off and tighten two bands around the foam. It is bending slightly and I didn't do such a good job of cutting the foam. I like the ones where I just used one rubber band the best.
Transforming foam cups into vases really does work. Although they can look a bit wonky and very unique. But isn't that what some of us look for in décor? And you can add all sorts of embellishments like covering the vases with a coating to change the texture, paint, stencil or add mixed media. The possibilities are unlimited.

Gail@Purple Hues and Me
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jan 07, 2018
    Why use a crock pot? Can't you do this just using a regular pot of boiling water????

  • Cristi Roe Cristi Roe on Jan 03, 2019

    What a great discovery! I can just see a classroom full of kids giggling and enjoying making these flower pots for Mother's Day, what kind of paint could be used on styrofoam?

  • Ruth Ruth on Jan 09, 2019

    Do you have ideas for the (cleansed after use) styrofoam that frozen chicken comes in?

    I would love to see more ideas on styrofoam that would usually end up in the landfill.


Join the conversation

4 of 237 comments
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Dec 17, 2020

    Many years ago-Carol Duvall made easter hats out of styrofoam cups and they were so cute for easter -we would just bake them in a low oven and watch them change forms. And you can decorate so cute and paint.

  • TheRadiochef TheRadiochef on Jun 17, 2021

    Loved your project, after done, I would add plaster paris to the cups halfway to keep them from tumbling and also put in the silk flowers at the same time. Loved it.