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
2 of 241 comments
  • Betty Betty on Sep 26, 2022

    I put 8-ounce cups upside down on cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pan of cups in oven for a few seconds and they melt into shapes-no 2 alike. Hopefully you have a window in stove door to watch the process. I made 400 of these-looked like hats. Decorated with items from my sewing boxes. Used as favors for a national meeting.

  • Gail@Purple Hues and Me Gail@Purple Hues and Me on Sep 26, 2022

    That sounds adorable, Betty! What a creative and unique idea!