Introduction: Resurrect a Brand - Burger Chef - Part 2 - Vintage Cup

About: Hi. I am a Dad, software product manager and avid runner. I enjoy building projects with my kids which generally means approaching design using inexpensive materials. Simplicity in design and build processe…
If you have been following along with this series, you may have noticed we are not going in order. There is a method to the madness. In this Instructable, we build a paper cup.

Note that I painstakingly recreated everything you see here from scratch including all logos and even our old friend Jeff. I hope you enjoy this project.

Worth noting:

1. CKE, the parent company of Hardees, Carl's Jr and probably many chains you know, still owns and actively protects their Burger Chef patents and trademarks. A simple Google search will show you that as recently as 2007, Hardees successfully dismantled a claim by a company that they abandoned the Burger Chef trademark.

2. This fan art project is part of a series. Look for roughly one per week over the next two months. Here are the Instructables you will see as part of this series:
1. Brand Identity, color palette, and logo
2. Cup
3. Road Sign
5. Placemat
6. Food Service Hat
7. French Fry container

3. Before we get started, I wanted to acknowledge that it would have been impossible to create this project without the web sites of archivists Jeff Flack and Kyle Brown. These guys have the difficult and mostly thankless job of validating the authenticity and preserving the mountain of material generated from the once mighty Burger Chef marketing machine. Both web sites are worth your time if you wish to read more about Burger Chef. Jeff in particular was nice enough to correspond with me by email and offer encouragement as I worked on the FUNMEAL and Cup. Which interestingly answers another question; yes, Jeff Lives!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this project, you will need:
1. Wide format photo printer (~Epson Stylus Photo 1400)
2. Super-B (13”x19”) Photo Supreme Matte Paper
3. White Foam Core Board available at most dollar stores
4. Aspen brand coffee cups available at Walmart (optional)
5. Plastic lids available everywhere but recommend looking for a clear lid without a brand name
6. Scissors
7. Liquid Super Glue (Loctite Longneck is the best. It doesn't discolor)
8. Clear Glue Stick
9. Attached PDF file (obviously you need the hat templates in the file)

Step 2: Select a Design

It's hard to decide which one to print. May as well print them all if you can afford the ink.

Step 3: Print

My Epson Stylus Photo 1400 makes Kinko quality prints. I love this printer. I don't love the cost of the ink. My printer is over five years old and sometimes gets a bit smudgy on a first run after sitting a few days. After the first page, everything comes out flawless. Your mileage will vary but you certainly will need a wide format photo printer to play this game.

Step 4: Select a Build Option After a Brief Basic Paper Cup Anatomy Primer

Before we get too carried away, it might help to have a basic understanding of real paper cups. Since our paper cup is not created in the same way, it is going to have some limitations that we need to creatively engineer around.


Option 1: Buy a massively expensive pneumatic cup forming machine. The first picture shows the parts of a real paper cup that is manufactured using a pneumatic curling and knurling machine. Nope. That isn't going to happen. These machines are designed for large production runs and also work with paper specially coated with wax or plastic to create a truly water tight barrier.

Don't despair. We have a few build options..

Option 2: Treat the project as a stage prop and skip an inner liner. This is the practical approach since most of us would either just place the finished project on a shelf or hand it to our kids for their play kitchen. The second picture shows the stage prop version. The key to success with this version is the placement of the foam core bottom. It creates a constant outward pressure to keep the cup form. It also acts to weight down the cup since it will always be empty. Even if you are an Origami Jedi, you'll not be able to knurl or curl heavy cardboard stock realistically. Obviously, this isn't something we can do. Since the top isn't curled, you can dab a bit of hot glue onto the plastic lid to hold it in place. Most of my first-generation cups are built this way. They look perfect but are non-functional.

Option 3: Start by building Option 2 and complete it by inserting a smaller paper cup. You can see the profile of this option in the third picture. This is the best method. The cups in the templates I provide are 20 oz cups. Simply glue stick a 16 oz white coffee cup and seat it into your hand crafted cup. It will fit perfectly snug at the rim. This give you a truly functional cup. This isn't a cozy. They are permanently bonded together but you can remove the lid and rinse it out for some light use or photographing product such as milk shakes or pop. I now build all my cups this way.

Option 4: Attach the wall to an existing paper cup as an over-sized Cozy. I don't cover this method specifically because it's pretty obvious how to just spray adhesive or glue stick one of these prints to an existing cup. Not pictured.

If you simply scanned this page, I'm recommending Option 3 as the best option.

Step 5: Cut

Paper Cup Walls
Cut out the cup side walls being particularly careful to not cut off the side tab. This is very easy and shouldn't take very much time.

Paper Cup Disc Bottoms
Cut out the disc cup bottoms. You will see two circumferences. Cut the inner smaller circumference for a standard build (recommended). Only cut from the outer circumference if you are attempting a radiating tab (not recommended).

Foam Core Disc Bottoms
Using a discarded paper cup disc bottom from the previous cutting task, trace a circle onto a piece of foam core. Cut the foam core using leaving ample extra space beyond what was previously marked. The foam core will be coated with paper on both sides. Remove the paper from only one of the sides, preferably the side with markings. You can throw away the paper you peeled off as it will not be used.

Step 6: Roll

We need to roll the paper before gluing. This will prevent the paper from fighting and recoiling out of shape. It will also makes gluing the tab easier and allow the seam to be nearly flat without gap. Don't skip this step. Gently roll the paper. Do not over tighten or you will risk creasing the paper and leaving dent marks. The last picture shows the paper cup walls relaxing after having been rolled and before the final gluing stage.

Step 7: Glue Wall

This is the hardest step. A lot can go wrong if you don't take your time. Test fit before gluing. The paper cup wall has two options for attaching. The best method is to overlap one wall completely over the tab and up to the final line on the opposing wall. The second option is to only cover the tab. If you are using Aspen liners in the final stages, cover up to the final line on the opposing wall for a snug fit.

Run a bead of crazy glue down the length of the tab. The tab needs to be completely covered in glue. Carefully draw the opposing side over the tab. You will only have a second or two to position the walls. They bond extremely fast because the glue soaks into the paper fibers, creates a tremendous amount of surface area, and the chemical reaction starts heating up almost immediately. If you inadvertently get glue on your fingers, be careful not to make contact with the paper or you will likely pull graphics and color off. Be careful.

Step 8: Glue Bottom

Insert one foam core disc, paper side facing down, into the cup. I just drop the disc down into the cup and then position it into place slowly using my fingers tips. If your hand is rather large or you have trouble reaching your fingers to the bottom of the cup, you could alternatively use a knife to lower the foam core disc into position.

The goal is to position the foam core disc about 1/8" to 1/4" from the bottom of the cup wall. It's recessed on purpose. I'm able to position it with a bit of nudging using my fingers but you may find it easier to tap it into position with a pencil eraser.

Using a liberal amount of crazy glue, leave a trail of glue around the perimeter of the foam core disc. I've never had a problem with crazy glue leaking through the paper. You don't need to worry about the outside becoming color distorted.

If the cup is inverted, this is pretty easy. The foam will melt as the crazy glue activates. That's is OK and to be expected. In fact, it helps since the outer wall will then relax to the proper contour and the paper of the foam core base also bonds. After a few seconds, the base stops reacting and becomes firmly bonded to the wall of the cup.

The final step for the bottom is to apply a paper disc to cover up any of our previous foam core base and glue work. Smear a layer of glue using a glue stick onto a paper disc. Press into place.

Alternatively, use one of the paper discs with the radiating flange cuts for extra strength. I personally don't think this is worth the effort. I've never had a base fail using the standard method.

Step 9: Pop Top (Option)

Aspen makes a 20-count 16-oz coffee cup with lids package that sells at Walmart for about $4 US. These cups are perfect for our project. They take just seconds to install.

Use a glue stick to lay down a thick coat of glue about an inch in width starting from the curl of the Aspen cup. Insert the Aspen cup into the Vintage cup while trying to line up the rear facing seams of both cups.

Place a 16-20-oz pop lid on top. The ones pictured here are from El Polo Loco and have no visible brand markings. There are a lot of lids that fit perfectly with this cup but be aware that the big fast food restaurants have their logo on the lid and that may distract from the finished look.

Step 10: Coffee Top (Option)

Aspen makes a 20-count 16-oz coffee cup with lids package that sells at Walmart for about $4 US. These cups are perfect for our project. They take just seconds to install.

Refer to the process for the Pop Top (Option) and simply use the black coffee top lid packaged with the Aspen cups.