Introduction: Clean, Chic Bamboo Cups

About: I'm a Coral Reef Ecologist with a passion for photography. Check out my latest project at

I've always loved drinking out of naturally formed substances. I like the look and feel of bamboo. In addition, bamboo is tough and durable.

There are a ton of places you can buy bamboo cups online, but those are dime a dozen. I'll outline how to craft your own, custom bamboo cup. It is unique, and it will make you feel like you are living in feudal China or Japan. Caution: you may find yourself inexplicably craving rice wine while using this cup.

Step 1: Supplies and Materials

Not too much needed for this project:
  • Large piece of bamboo
  • Hand saw
  • Dremmel
  • Food grade wax or sealant
  • Wood Chisel or knife (optional)

Step 2: Step 1: Cut the Bamboo to Size

The first step is to decide how tall you want your cups to be, and what type of lip they will have. 

I decided to go for the slanted top design, like the ones you see in old Samurai movies. 
  1. Measure out the desired length (Mine was about 6'' at the top). Be sure to locate the "notch" in the bamboo. This will serve as the bottom of the cup
  2. Use a hand saw to cut the cup at an angle (approximately 45 degrees). If you are OG, just use a machete or sword to slice through the bamboo. However, if your skills are not to par, the cut will tear off a small piece of bamboo at the end of the slice, leaving behind an ugly section. 
  3. Cut below the "notch" to form the bottom of the cup

Step 3: Step 2: Sand and Chisel

Next, use a knife, dremmel, or sanding paper to sand the outer layer off. 

This step is completely optional. If you want to leave the outer layer on, no prob. It will give it a more rugged, authentic look. 

If you sand it all the way past the green part down to the yellow section, it will look very clean and sleek, like the kind one finds in stores. 

I decided to go in between, and just sand off the outermost layer, leaving some green color behind. 

I used a wood chisel and dremmel.

The bottom part near the notch is especially hard, so a knife or chisel is very helpful with this part.

Step 4: Step 3: More Sanding

Use a sanding bit and dremmel to sand down the lip and bottom of the cup.

Also, sand the inside of the cup with sandpaper. You need to get the light, flaky layer out of the cup so it doesn't come off in your drink later on. It may be hard to reach the deepest part of the cup, so you may need to improvise a bit. I stapled a piece of sandpaper to a wooden dowel in order to reach the bottom of the cup.  This part can be quite laborious, but don't give up!

Step 5: Step 4: Coat the Cup

Before you use your cup, it is a good idea to coat it with some food grade wax or sealant. I got this Butcher Block Conditioner at Home Depot. 

Add a layer with some cloth, and let it stand for at least 20 min. Buff off any excess and repeat up to 3 times for maximum sealability.

Step 6: Step 5: Drink!

Now you get to use your new bamboo cup!

I must say it took longer than I expected to make this cup (all the sanding), but nevertheless it was not a hard built.

It would be cool to make a set of these. I also made a small one as a shot glass. 

They also make great gifts! I made this one for my good friend Luke Walker.