Introduction: Coffee Cup Dress-Up

Drinking a lot of coffee is hard work. But we made it happen.

I started to save coffee cups, and then wanted to make something with them. One day it was clear. I have a mannequin. I want to make a coffee cup dress.

I love the results! I was able to recycle cups into art. When I look at the dress I see my love of coffee, the moments shared drinking coffee, and making this creation. Now, I share my love of coffee and making with you.

While we purchased and drank our way to our coffee cup collection, consider other ways to gather used cups from local coffee shops, businesses, schools, or friends. Reuse. Recycle. Reduce.

Get Started

Read through the instructions before starting. It helps to plan ahead.

Design - Make your own design or follow along and create a similar dress with YOUR cups on YOUR base. Have fun being creative.

Base - You’ll need a base to make your dress on. I used our mannequin. If you don’t have one, use a dress form, large stuffed bear, doll, or a really good friend. The dress is removable!

End of Life


I wanted the dress to be removable so while building the dress, I kept in mind it would be opened/cut from the back.


Use caution with hot glue.

Most of the dress is held together using hot glue. Tape is used for blocking out some shapes before gluing.


  • 160 Coffee cups*, coffee lids, coffee sleeves.
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Surface to cut on (cutting matt or cardboard)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks (qty 50+)
  • Safe place to rest hot glue gun on
  • Tape-packing or scotch tape.
  • Cardboard (reuse shipping boxes ) qty 2
  • Bandaids- because hot glue likes fingers.
  • Tarp
  • Coffee. Of course!

*Different size cups are ok. Less cups are needed for a smaller frame.

* It was important to me, my cups still had coffee stains, or the order ahead label on them.

Step 1: The Bodice - Use Coffee Sleeves

Create the strapless V front and waistband.

Work from the top down to the waist.

1. TOP: I used 5 sleeves per side to create the two tear drop shapes.

To start, cut and tape the shapes onto your form. See the outlines of the 5 shapes. Don't worry if this step takes some time. You'll get it. When you are happy with your design, glue it together.

Allow overlap of the pieces when forming the shape. Then glue under each the overlap.

Until the entire bodice is complete you will need to tape the pieces to your base otherwise it will fall off.

2. TRIANGLE: Create a triangle shape for the center detail. It will also hold the two sections together. Glue in place.

3. WAIST: Use whole sleeve strips to form the waist band. This should also secure the bodice in place.

4. BACK: The back top is open.

Step 2: Skirt Structure-Use Coffee Sleeves and Cardboard

The skirt structure will provide the support and place to glue the coffee cups to. Keep this in mind when forming the structure.

Most of this structure will NOT be visible. However, I wanted the coffee sleeves to be visible along the bottom of the skirt. So I saved them for those areas and used cut up shipping boxes for the non-visible skirt structure.


Wrap a row of sleeve sized strips below the visible bodice waist band. You'll use this row as an anchor for the vertical strips.


Cut 10 - approximately 10" x 3" strips. Glue them vertically from the waist row you just created in #1.


Cut several thinner strips (approximately 12" x 2").

Bend the cardboard to create curves.

Glue them to the vertical strips, creating a wider skirt area. Overlap the strips when you glue them together. Remember, you won't see these.

Place each horizontal row 6-10" apart from each other depending on the size of your cup.


Cut and add vertical strips, then horizontal strips to create the shape as shown.

Add volume to the skirt, by adding longer strips.

When you get to the bottom, notice on my design, the front is shorter then the back.


I used the coffee sleeves for the bottom section of the structure.

Step 3: ​Step 3 : Belt -Use Coffee Lids

Decorative, but also, the belt covers the overlap of the skirt structure attaching to the Bodice.

1. Cut 4-5 coffee lids in half. Test place them to be sure you have enough to fit around the waist.

2. Glue on.

Step 4: The Coffee Cup Skirt: Use Coffee Cups

Plan out the colors and sizes of your cups. I put the smallest cups along the bottom. The largest cups in the center. Make the design your own.

1.Cut the coffee cups in half

I found it helpful to make a cut line in the bottom first, then cut the sides.

You don't have to cut out the bottom of the cup, but I did. It seemed to provide more flexibility when placing and shaping the cups onto the form, however, I think it could work either way.

2. Plan, place and glue

Work one cup at a time, adding a cup to the structure. Start from the top. Complete one row around the structure, before going to the next row.

TIP: Glue to the cup above if there isn't structure to glue the cup to. It works out.

TIP: Add more structure to the skirt along the way if you need to.

Step 5: I Can't Believe I Made This!

The hat is optional. Have fun creating something with your leftover pieces.


Step 6: It's All About the Coffee.

Coffee Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Coffee Speed Challenge