Introduction: Plastic Bottle UU Chalice

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

In today's story, we heard about food and blessings! People need food to live, so it's really common across history and culture for people to bless and give thanks for the food they are about to eat. Preparing and sharing food with others can be considered a similarly sacred life-giving and loving act. The chalice is one of the ways we as UUs create and honor sacred spaces in our every day lives.

So let's make a simple, quick chalice that we can use to make any space sacred, especially our kitchens at home, so we can bless the food that we make for ourselves and others.


-Two empty plastic drink bottles

-Xacto blade


-Masking or duct tape


-Construction paper

Step 1: Cut the Tops Off Both Bottles.

I chose two bottles of slightly different shapes. Different brands of plastic bottles are shaped slightly differently, and some are even different colors and have different patterns! See what's in your recycling bin.

Using an Xacto blade or a pair of especially sharp scissors, cut off the top of both bottles right above the label. You can follow the label as a guide for your blade. You might need to get a grown-up's help for this!

Step 2: Remove the Plastic Rings.

Plastic drink bottles have plastic rings around the necks. Carefully slide one blade of a pair of scissors under the ring and snip it off. This can be a little tricky, so definitely get a grown-up or older sibling to help with it.

Stack your bottle tops one on the other. I like the wavy texture on the larger of the two, so I decided that would be the top of my chalice.

Step 3: Wrap the Necks With Tape.

It's best to use masking tape for this, because that kind of tape is easiest to decorate, but you can also use duct tape, or Scotch in a pinch. If you use duct tape, you'll probably want to trim a piece to the proper width.

Wrap the tape a couple of times for stability.

Step 4: Decorate Your Chalice.

I like using masking tape the best because it's so easy to draw on with markers. I drew a UU chalice symbol on mine! What will you draw on yours?

You could also add stickers to the chalice itself, or add designs on the plastic with permanent markers, if you like. It's your chalice; make it look however you want!

Step 5: Make a Flame.

Most of the time, UUs light a candle in our chalices. It's not safe to light a real candle in a plastic chalice like this, though. It might melt! If you have an electric candle, you could use that, but I decided to make a chalice flame out of paper. Whenever I want to light my chalice, I slide the flame right in!

Draw a flame shape on a piece of construction paper. If you add a rectangular tab on the bottom, it'll fit nicely into the neck of the bottles so that it stands up by itself. Now you can "light" your chalice!

Step 6: Light Your Chalice and Bless Your Meal...or Anything!

Just like in the story, my partner and I worked together to make a meal. Then we lit our chalice and gave thanks for the blessings of the food and each other. Maybe you and your family can do the same?

If you live alone, there are other ways you could "share" a meal safely during this time. Maybe take a picture of it and share it on Facebook or email a picture to friends or family to let them know you're thinking of them! Or, you could make a meal and make a date on Zoom or Facetime to eat "with" a friend.

No matter what, now you have a simple chalice to bless whatever space you have during this time. Any space can be sacred.

This will be especially useful as we continue our online church services going forward. Now, if you didn't have a chalice already, you can make your own to use during services. Or everyone in your family can have their own to light!

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