Introduction: High Quality Cups From Recycled Water Bottles

Picture of High Quality Cups From Recycled Water Bottles

This Instructable will show you how to craft high quality drinking cups, from used Water Bottles.
As inhabitants of the Earth not owners, we have the obligation to maintain and uphold the integrity of it. Start thinking sideways people. Start re-using,
re-cycling and up-cycling any way you possibly can. Before it's too late.

A great place to start would be the plastic bottle. Simplistic in design, but plentiful in opportunities to intergrate it into different applications.

This is a entry to the "Keep the bottle" contest. Please take the time to vote if you think the idea, is worth me getting a prize for it. I would really enjoy the prize, so please vote.

Step 1: What We Will Need

Picture of What We Will Need

We will only need a few basic items.

~ Water bottle

~ Cardboard

~ Sticky tape

~ Stove

~ Frying pan

That's it, lets go!

Step 2: Trim the Bottle

Picture of Trim the Bottle

Take your scissors and cut the top of the bottle.

We will make one rough cut to start, then another to trim the lip square.

Make sure you get this as straight as possible.
It will need to be straight as to ensure, when we turn the lip it ends up correct.

Step 3: Constructing the Jig

Picture of Constructing the Jig

To allow us to turn the lip on the pan we need a jig.

Take you cardboard and wrap it around the open end of your bottle.

Make sure it is not to tight as to inhibit the bottle turning.

Use the tape to secure it in place.
Ensure the tape will not come in contact with the pan.

Step 4: Turning the Lip

Picture of Turning the Lip

Turn your stove on and place the pan on the element/flame.
Heat to medium warm to hot.
Start gradually.

We want it at a temperature that will not burn the plastic, yet simply heat it.

Place you bottle lip down with the jig inplace and spin the bottle whilst grasping the base and jig.

Do not let the bottle sit for too long or it will melt too much.

Check the bottle every 5 seconds or so to see the progress.

Once the plastic has fully curled, your lip is finished.

(This method may be used to make support ridges for many applications with bottles. Try this on your own project. Once the lips is on the bottle, it then may be heated in boiling water to reduce its size... really cool stuff actually. I hope others use this method with your "keep the bottle" projects)

Step 5: Your Done!!

Picture of Your Done!!

Wasn't that easy?

No cost, minimal labour and a new set of fancy up-cycled bottle drinking cups.
What more could you ask for?

I don't know about you, but i am going to go have an ice cold beverage in my new cups.


jianqiang (author)2009-02-15

In 'Firefly', they drink out of cups just like this, not sure which episode, but its at the bar fight

Lftndbt (author)jianqiang2009-02-15

I believe there was a film in '95 called "Tank Girl". I recall seeing them in that movie and also a couple of other places. Maybe "Water world" also.

Spook-rabbit (author)Lftndbt2009-08-21

Ah just seeing the name of that wonderful movie makes me laugh, good old waterworld

allison326 (author)2009-01-08

would you plan to wash these by hand or in the dishwasher? are you concerned about the plastic leaching chemicals into your drink as it degrades? Could you coat the inside or the lip with something sturdier?

Sylkhr (author)allison3262009-01-22

I would hand wash them because it may release harmful chemicals such as bpa that might increase your chance of cancer. When you put it in the dishwasher, it will heat up the water alot which will make it more likely to release said chemicals into any drink you put in the cup. Hope this helps.

romedeiros1970 (author)Sylkhr2009-08-07

BPA is not a concern with this type of bottle. Only polycarbonate bottles have that problem. The dishwasher may partially melt them, as dodo91 pointed out.

Lftndbt (author)Sylkhr2009-01-25

Yes definatley.

dodo91 (author)allison3262009-03-31

if you put it in the dishwasher, it will shrink/melt. HANDWASH ONLY!

Lftndbt (author)allison3262009-01-08

By hand. No I will through them out after some use. The lip is solid and rigid.

fuzzycat57 (author)2009-06-25

This is great. I will use them for camping.

ycc2106 (author)2009-06-10

These plastic bottles are really solid - used one nearly everyday for 5 years. I could have gone on using it but it was a pain cleaning the mold that started growing inside. If it's cup shaped, I could have gone on for maybe 30 years!

RiddleOfSphinx (author)2009-02-14

Wow, and customizing these would be endless too. It's ibles like these that I love so much...easy to do and won't break you financially : )

i didn't think sonic the hedgehog had uses for glass bottle cup thingies

To hold the shakes he drinks while chowing down on chilli dogs ;)

Lftndbt (author)RiddleOfSphinx2009-02-17


Lftndbt (author)RiddleOfSphinx2009-02-14

Thanks for your kind words. Yes, basic and simple was the main idea. ;)

DasBus (author)2009-02-05

Just a note to say that I am voting for this Instructable. Sure, many of the others in this contest are way cool, but this was one of the first ones to enter AND it is one that I plan to use at Burning Man this year. When people come to visit my camp for drinks, I will be serving them in these cups. I'll have plenty of empty water bottles on hand, and I can cross of cups on my shopping list! YAY!!!! Thank you for this idea. : )

Lftndbt (author)DasBus2009-02-06

WoW!! Thanks heaps! I hope they enjoy them at Burning Man. ;) It's a pity Australia is so far away, I would like to roll up to your camp and get a cool beverage in one of these. This I'ble was the first in the competition. Hence being in Aus I was on lunch when the contest opened where as everyone else was a sleep. One benefit to living in a different timezone.

DasBus (author)Lftndbt2009-02-07

There's Burning Man stuff in your neck of the world! Info for Austrailia: and info for New Zealand: So you have no more excuses! : )

Lftndbt (author)DasBus2009-02-08

I had no idea of an Australian effort. No excuses at all!

ChaseReno (author)2009-02-05

I like the recycle idea but one wonders about the gases being emitted by the melting plastic. I'm no tree hugger but it seems that some tree hugger some where might find this a bad side effect. Regardless, I'm going to give this a try.

Lftndbt (author)ChaseReno2009-02-05

Just read the comments below... Lot's of strong debate. It is an interesting topic... Remeber to Vote if you like it. Even the top runners only have a few votes. Your vote could make all the difference.

random1 (author)2009-01-30

Here in the NE USA poland spring water bottles contain less plastic than most other water bottles and are BPA free. It doesnt say BPA free on the bottle, but I just called the company to ask. He said only the larger more rigid water bottles have BPA.

Lftndbt (author)random12009-01-31

Interesting indeed!!

aceLED (author)2009-01-08

this is pretty cool but the reason we usually have to recycle these plastic cups is because after awhile (like a couple uses) they give of a chemical thats not exactly healthy for u most people can withstand the chemical its self but some may not be able to for a long period of use if they always use it could become harmfull. I can't tell u exactly what chemical it is and the reason they use the chemical in there but I do know there for one time use maybe 2 or 3 times but don't make this the only cup you use cause we need to find other uses for the bottles thats why this competitions here

Lftndbt (author)aceLED2009-01-08

Lets just be clear about one thing. Before making such a degrading comment perhaps you should atleast have the decency to go google the subject first. Not only does the plastic uphold its integrity long after the contents have been removed, the chemical leaching progress only rapidly occurs after exposure to extreme conditions eg. Extreme UV exposure for ended periods of time or constant and vigorous physical manipulation. Plastic from the bottles no doubt degrades, but no where near as fast as what you are making out. Not only are these cups safe for 2 or 3 times, they will uphold their ingetrity long after their functional life is extinct. The one thing I would agree with you on, is that I also would not make just one and use it constantly. In regards to finding other uses for bottles, perhaps some of your own advice would not go a stray. So what are you planning on submitting, as this is just a snippet of the several I will publish on bottles?

aceLED (author)Lftndbt2009-01-26

I didn't mean to degrade u what i meant was to inform its a great Instructable and to be honest i have made one on a rainy day just last week and i was taught that there not instant problems but do eventual cause them and that they start to degreed after 2or 3 uses but can't be extremely harmful ..except for the possible cancer thing but it is a great instructable and i do apologies for any inconvenience

scoochmaroo (author)Lftndbt2009-01-11

You touch on an important point here.

There is a lot of controversy over what kinds of carcinogens may be leeched from different forms of plastic when exposed to UV or heat. There are numerous articles on the subject, and I recommend this one on truthorfiction because it addresses a lot of personal fears and rumors we hear all the time.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all myself, but it's an individual's duty to do the research. There are so many kinds of plastics and chemicals involved in our day to day life. We need to be more educated on the possible effects and dangers therein.

Lftndbt (author)scoochmaroo2009-01-12

Personally my decision is I don't care to worry myself about such things. Lifes too short to worry. But you do have to wonder about those types of things. In 20 years time they will be telling us teflon gives you cancer. Oh wait.... They already said that didn't they.

blugyblug (author)aceLED2009-01-11

If you told us WHAT chemical, we would believe it, but this just means that you believe all those stupid myths. Cmon, this is instructables, we never believe such stuff.

madhops0620 (author)blugyblug2009-01-15

actually he's right. It's a chemical called BPA, or BPA bisphenol A it can be found in plastics and has been known to leach out of the plastic into your drinks, which could potentially increase your risk of cancer. Nalgene recently made new water bottles that are BPA free and so have many other companies, however the risk is pretty low, but increases if the container has been heated up.

Subvert (author)madhops06202009-01-15

BPA is only in the harder plastic, such as used by Nalgene. Whatever their recycling number is (like 5 or 7 or something high like that), will be your guide for what has BPA in it. Softer plastic like in "disposable" water bottles doesn't have BPA in it.

dkfa (author)Subvert2009-01-21

Not really, try burning these and sniff the smoke. Won't be very good will it?

Lftndbt (author)dkfa2009-01-25

Strange comment..

Subvert (author)dkfa2009-01-22

I don't really see what your comment has to do with my comment. I wasn't suggesting burning anything. Nor would I ever suggest burning most things without some respiration protection.

Lftndbt (author)Subvert2009-01-25


Lftndbt (author)Subvert2009-01-16


madhops0620 (author)madhops06202009-01-15

By the way, the only reason i posted this is because he didn't know what the chemical was, but I still think It's a great instructable. 5/5

Lftndbt (author)blugyblug2009-01-11

I thank you for your support get please Google the subject before shooting them down completley. The is definatley proof that some types of plastics degrade. If a bottle does degrade dramatically then it will realise chemicals. These chemicals in large quantities do effect the human body. However these are to be disposed of at some stage. That stage is up to you. Thanks for your comment though!!!

Lftndbt (author)Lftndbt2009-01-11

get = but
the = there
realise = release
Just a bit of translation.
I'm sure there is more. Sorry i'm tired.

Lftndbt (author)2009-01-25

Check out the Bottle Lamp as well!!

jeff-o (author)2009-01-08

If you live in Canada (not sure about the States), pick up a bottle of iced tea from Tim Hortons. The plastic bottles the iced tea comes in are super-strong; the plastic thickness is at least twice that of other bottles. They would work really well for this.

Lftndbt (author)jeff-o2009-01-08

The lipping method create rigidity.

Sylkhr (author)Lftndbt2009-01-22

Translation over

Lftndbt (author)Sylkhr2009-01-25


jeff-o (author)Lftndbt2009-01-08

Oh, for sure. But thicker plastic would produce a glass that might last even longer.

Lftndbt (author)jeff-o2009-01-08

Yes I would agree. However as a degenerative plastic a longer use life, might leed to other issues... Best just to use these for novelty purpose a few times, then throw them away.

jeff-o (author)Lftndbt2009-01-09

I'm still not convinced that the chemicals leeching out of a properly washed plastic bottle will do any more harm to you than the chemicals in our food and air, or transferred from our unwashed hands...

Lftndbt (author)jeff-o2009-01-09

Well we can agree though, that it is still better safe than sorry. Best dispose of these after a few uses I would say.

DasBus (author)2009-01-09

I would think an old frying pan that you're not going to use for food cooking would be best. Or does it not matter? Just wondering if any of the plastic melts on to the pan. Actually, I have an old cookie sheet that I don't use for food anymore, and that should work just as well.

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