Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tutorial - How to Flatten a Plastic Cup (Part 1- With Heat)

My favorite type of plastic to craft with other than plastic yarn is a plastic container (e.g. fast food plastic cup, yogurt cups, shampoo bottle, etc.). These containers are something that you wouldn't typically give a second thought to tossing away when empty.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you will think differently about them. You wouldn't know how versatile it can be just by looking at the plastic container.

If you're still not quite sure, maybe a creative visual will help. The pictures below are samples of my plastic container designs.
This is my Florida Gator tote made from 2 (back and front) souvenir Florida Gator plastic cups. I grabbed several of these out of the trash container at one of the baseball home games.
Sun Visor made from a Taco Bell plastic cup.
  This design was inspired by Suzie's Visor Cap pattern.


This is a Coca Cola plastic cup tote made from a large Coca Cola cup
that I took out of the trash container at one of the local S&S gas station.
This is a cell phone sleeve I made to hang inside a market bag
made from a Wendy's plastic cup.

So are you feeling it yet? Hopefully you are so let me share with you how I breakdown down and flatten a plastic container. You'll notice the technique I use mirrors how I make plastic fusion.
This is what you will need:

 Scissors, Iron (set on polyester), plastic cup, file folder and a sheet of wax paper
From rim cut down to right above bottom section. 

Cut around cup just above bottom section.

Cut off top rim of cup.  Feel free to leave it on but experience has shown me that it is more difficult to flatten with the rim on.   

  Place the cup inside the file folder then lay a piece of wax paper on top.


  Using one hand to keep it flat, use the other hand to place iron flat in the middle of folder then move iron out. As you continue this, you'll see the cup/container begin to flatten.

Keep moving the iron back and forth wax paper until the cup is completely flat.

 Now it's ready to craft with - let your imagination run wild.
p.s.  One thing I'll suggest now but will repeat on each tutorial, cover the front of cup with clear tape (masking or shelf cover) to protect the ink.  If not, you will notice over time and usage the ink will fade.
Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or would like additional clarification or details.  


  1. Thank you for sharing! I really like the market bag ideas - I'll have to keep an eye out for some really cool cups!

  2. I wonder why you iron on top of wax paper...the wax will mess up your iron. Better to use "parchment paper," newspaper, or even computer paper is you can't get parchment.

    Even gift wrap will be ok...just use the white side against the plastic.

  3. Great recycling, I really like your things.