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.

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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.

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    21 Discussions


    Question 11 months ago

    Hi! I'd love to know how you Combat the water absorption capabilities of bamboo.. Do you use any natural lining inside? If so how is the taste of water affected?


    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    Hi thanks for sharing this. I wanted to know if there can be a leakage to such a cup and if yes than how can it be sealed. Thanks I am Yash


    2 years ago

    Hi I live in Florida. Storm took down tons of bamboo on my property. Friend made a beer drinking cup yesterday! Anyway when I get power back I would glad to figure out how to get this to people who want it. Maybe charge for shipping? Suggestions appreciated.


    3 years ago



    4 years ago

    Where did you get the bamboo to start?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    How big is the cup? In height and in width?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Cut the bamboo keeping two notches. Work the ends first, scrape, sand and decore the bamboo. After that cut the cups any size you want. You will get two cups or whatever use you want for the objects. It is a lot easier to work it. By the way, do not be afraid of the bamboo dust except in excess, when it should be treated as any wood dust. In the tropics where we use it, helps ashma sufferers. plus it have many more uses. Chek the internet for information.
    By the way, this is true to natural bamboo. not the ones treated with chemicals or processed for selling.
    Do not discard the damaged or not nice. use them as flower pots, pencil holders,etc. use them for your advantage..

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Juanangel- I'm interested in how or why dust would be used to treat asthma? It seems counterintuitive.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    To make the story short; it was a school working with asthmatics at a bamboo workshop. The kids were told to wear masks but it did not help breath at all, so they removed them and that is when they noticed the changes. A study was conducted, and some searches performed and finally accepted the benefits of bamboo for asthma. It was so long ago that I could not find the information. But here are some sites that give some information about the subject. Also search using: antispasmodic properties of bamboo (I am not patronizing the sites)


    6 years ago on Step 4

    With your dremel, you should be able to get one of those bushy-sanding bits, which ought to make short work of the bottom as well as the sides.

    Many long years ago I made a set of these .But I left the notch unsanded and cut the bamboo a half inch below the notch then carved 'decorative dentals' below .Instead of shaving the outer layer with the chisel try outlining a design {flower-tribal tattoo-geometric lines - initials etc....} and use the Dremel to chip carve a 1/32 deep through it.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Very nice. I'll be on a mission to find someone else's house. I made the mistake of planting it once. It's not one I'll repeat LOL.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I might be stating something obvious, but I'm gonna ask anyhow since bamboo isn't anything local in scandinavia;
    How easy are they to wash after use? Machineuse is out of the question right?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Osquar- I'm not too sure- I would probably only hand wash only. The wax would probably come off in a dish washer.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That is sweet!! I think you can order babmboo online if you can't find any locally. Although it would be awesome to find it around town. Great job!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! That is a good idea; I didn't think about that. It would be the way to go if you can't find any in your area.

    Any tips on where to find bamboo large enough to make a cup out of? I've only ever seen bamboo the size of the kind found in decorative planters.