Bottle cups are one of the most common items in an everyday backpack. They are popular, most notably because a 32 oz Nalgene water bottle sits neatly in the cup, thereby saving space when backpacking. Probably the most recognizable of the bottle cups are the GSI Glacier Bottle Cup and the Ozark Trail Bottle Cup (sold at Wal-Mart, etc). One of the limitations of the bottle cups is that they do not come with lids nor are lids available from the manufacturers. The lid from a Stanley Camp Kit can be used on the bottle cups, but in order to get the lid, the cost is usually over $10. In this Instructable I’ll provide directions on how to modify bottle cups to accept DIY lids, explain how to make your own low cost lids, and how to make a lid holder for pouring hot liquids.
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Step 1: Tools & Materials
- Drill or metal hole punch
- Sanding sponge (to remove sharp edges)
- 4” table belt sander
- Vise (for bending wire)
- Blow torch (to remove BPA coatings)
- Side cut can opener
Step 2: Background
As I mentioned in the introduction, the lid from the Stanley Camp Kit (center of photo) can be used on the various bottle cups. Although people have mentioned several possible DIY lid variations (29 oz Delmonte fruit can, Cookie tin wafer cans, Pepperidge Farms cookie tin lids, etc), many people have found that the variations didn’t work on their bottle cups. The problem is that the cup lips are too large (diameter) to allow the tops of common food cans to fit easily. I’ll explain how I remove the cup lips and make DIY lids from food cans.
In the above photo the GSI Glacier Bottle Cup (on the left) has the lip still in-place and the Ozark Trail Bottle Cup (on the right) shows the cup with its lip removed. The Stanley Camp Kit lid and the DIY lid will work on both cups after modifying the cups.
One of the things that people discover while using the Stanley Camp Kit lid the first time on a hot stove, is that the plastic lid tab gets very soft and is useless after that. Simply remove the tab when its soft and replace it with a key ring (see photo above). As you’ll see in following photos the key ring is a great replacement for the tab.
Step 3: Removing the Bottle Cup “Lips”
To remove the lips of the cups cleanly, I used a four-inch tabletop belt sander. It takes very little time to remove the lip and there is very little finishing work required afterwards. The photo in the upper right shows the rim after a small amount of initial sanding. Continue sanding until the lip separates cleanly. Don’t over sand the cup, but be sure that all of the lip is removed and the edges end up smooth. I polished/smoothed the cup edges, inside and outside, using a sanding sponge (normally used for sanding wood for painting). This process usually takes about 5-10 minutes per cup.
Step 4: Comparing the Stanley & DIY Lids With Different Cups
The DIY lid (shown later) works well on all of the bottle cups I tested. The Stanley Camp Kit lid surprisingly fit so well in the Ozark Trail Bottle Cup that it could actually be turned upside down without falling out. The top left photo shows the Ozark Trail cup on the left with the Stanley Camp Kit lid before I pushed the lid into the cup; the top right photo shows the lid “seated”. Although the fit is "snug", I wouldn’t trust this fit when pouring hot liquids. In a later step I’ll show how to make a lid holder that works with the bottle cups I tested.
Step 5: Making a Low Cost DIY Bottle Cup Lid
Starting with an appropriate sized food can, cut off the top using a side cutting can opener. To determine an “appropriate” sized can, just take the modified bottle cup and test fit it with the top of the can before cutting off the lid. In use, the can lid will be inverted and sit on the bottle cup. The bottom two photos show the Ozark Trail Bottle Cup (lip removed) on left and the GSI Glacier Bottle Cup (with lip) on the right. The photos show that the lips must be removed in order for the DIY lid to fit properly.
(The can shown above was a 13 oz can.)
Step 6: Removing the BPA From Food Can Liners
From the Consumer Reports Magazine:
“The debate revolves around just what is a safe level of the chemical to ingest and whether it should be in contact with food. Federal guidelines currently put the daily upper limit of safe exposure at 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. But that level is based on experiments done in the 1980s rather than hundreds of more recent animal and laboratory studies indicating serious health risks could result from much lower doses of BPA.”
Step 7: Completing the DIY Lids & Comparing Results
The DIY lid is lighter, takes up less space and costs much less than the Stanley Camp Kit lid. However, the Stanley Camp Kit lid is made of stainless steel so there is less chance that it will rust after repeated use. As long as the DIY lid is dried after each use, it should remain rust free for some time. If it should show signs of rust, simply polishing the area again should prolong the life of the lid.
|DO NOT PAINT THE DIY LID. For example, even Rustoleum high heat paint is NOT safe for use on food surfaces. The resulting discoloration that occasionally occurs indicates the paint OFF-GASES (emits toxic vapors).|
Step 8: DIY Cup Lid Holder
As I mentioned in a previous step, when pouring hot liquids I don’t trust the lids staying on by themselves. I created my own cup lid holder using a common food shredder. I removed the shredder plate and bent the wire to fit a GSI Glacier Bottle Cup. See first set of photos above. I finished by shortening the handle.
The bottom photos (of the second set of photos) shows the holder being used with an Ozark Trail Bottle Cup/Stanley Camp Kit lid (left) and with a GSI Glacier Bottle Cup/DIY cup lid (right).