Styrofoam Cup Spring Bonnets

I learned how to do this several years ago. I’ve made pilgrim hats, leprechaun hats (will post those soon too), and these springtime hats. These springtime hats are the perfect craft for spring, Easter, and Mother’s Day. They are really fun to make and the kids love watching them bake. It’s like having Shrinky Dinks in the oven!

Most common question: Does it smell?

Not really. Maybe a slight scent to the sensitive nose, but I could never smell anything. :)

Styrofoam Cup Spring Hats

printable version

You will need

Styrofoam cups
acrylic paint in pastel colors
small silk flowers
small beads
pastel or sheer ribbons
hot glue gun
magnets (optional)

What you do

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Note: The temperature and instructions in this craft are based off of a dark coated cookie sheet at 250 degrees F in an electric oven. You may want to experiment with different temps until you receive satisfactory results. I recommend baking one or two cups at the recommended temperature and time first. If they seem to melt too quickly or the ends curl up and under, try reducing the temperature and trying again.

Place Styrofoam cups upside down (open end of cup down) on a dark coated cookie sheet, placing them about 1-2″ apart. Note: we experimented with both dark coated and silver cookie sheets, the cups did not melt properly on the silver sheets.

Bake in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, don’t walk away! It will take about one minute before you see any changes to the cups, then the heat will begin to melt and shrink them rather rapidly after that. It’s lots of fun for the kids to watch, so be sure to turn the oven light on.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely. DO NOT try to remove the cups from the cookie sheet until they are completely cooled. As they cool, the Styrofoam that is stuck to the sheet will relax and release its grip from the sheet, allowing you to remove them easily. Most cups will melt rather well, thought you may end up with one or two that look rather distorted or disfigured.

Paint the “hats” with pastel colors, one coat is usually enough, and allow them to dry completely. Once they are dry you can embellish them with small silk flowers, pretty beads, and ribbons using a hot glue gun.

If you like, you can hot glue a small round magnet to the bottom of the hat at the brim and hang on the refrigerator.

NOTE: Below are two videos. The first one shows a successful shrinking of a cup at 250 F. The second video shows that at the same temperature another cup did not shrink all the way, even at almost 5 minutes. Out of 5 cups that I tried, 1 failed. I also show the successes at the end, and while watching a cup shrink in the oven is a little borning, I do talk during the video and try to give some explanations as to why it may or may not work for people. I hope these help!

VIDEO #1

VIDEO #2

Comments

  1. artsy_momma says

    I love them- can't wait to see the leprachaun hats! You are so good at explaining things- so easy to understand :)

  2. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free says

    Precious, Amanda. I think they'd make perfect place card holders for a Ladies Tea. You've been SU'd. :)

  3. Heather@ My Frugal Family says

    Those are really cute- a great Spring craft!

    Thank you so much for linking up with the Talented Tuesday link party at My Frugal Family, which is hosted every Tuesday. Please feel free to stop back in every week and post your newest projects!

  4. Amanda says

    Thank you all :)

    NormaJean – you can use any size, they all melt, but I used coffee cup size, sorry, don't know the oz.

  5. Rachelle says

    Ugh! Look at you go! That looks great! I love them.

    I also love the tie dye letters on your side bar. You've got some great ideas, I'm going to bookmark you! :)

    Rachelle

  6. Lori says

    These are totally cute. Love them..

    Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thurs. Please join me next week for another great party.
    Lori

  7. Jenn @ Delicious Ambiguity says

    Those turned out great! I've never seen this done before so thanks for linking up on Tot Tuesdays last week. I hope you’ll join me this week for another party. Happy Easter!

  8. Teresa says

    Adorable. But how do you get the brim of the hats flat around the bottom. When I shrank the cups they just shrank in the same shape without a brim.

    Thanks!

  9. Amanda says

    Hi Teresa

    It's really pretty hit or miss. You have to test different temperatures as well as cookie sheets. Using a dark coated pan will yield different results than that of an insulated sheet, just like with cookies. One pan will heat faster that the other. I always try one at a time until I get it right. The ones pictured above, I probably made 15-20 cups, and ended up with 6 or 7 with perfect brims. You can see some others I did that ended up with curled brims here http://www.familycorner.com/family/kids/crafts/foam-cup-uncle-sam-hat-craft.shtml

  10. lisa armour says

    do you have to attach the decorations using a glue gun i would love to try this with my brownies but find they have problems with glue guns

  11. Megan says

    These are adorable! I’m going to make these with my girls so their AGD’s can have Easter bonnets. Too cute. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Mariah Randolph says

    Greetings, Craft Goddess! Just wondering, if I pull them out of the oven a bit early, while they still look like top hats, do you think they will maintain their shape? Steampunk wedding are currently very popular, and I’ve been looking for something to do for each place setting. I think these would be great if I added a wig clip to the bottom so the guests could then wear them.

    • says

      You can remove them whenever you like, just keep watching through the oven window. The heat hardens the styrofoam, so yes they should hold their shape. Just let them cool before handling :)

  13. Jenn says

    I used to do these as a kid—37 years ago. Now that I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old. I am excited to do these again. Thanks for the instructional video. I love it!!!

  14. barb says

    hi: my cups did not turn out – didn’t round at the top and didn’t provide a rim at the bottom – bummer. I tried roughly 6 of them and they looked more like something the cat in the hat would wear. I will be persistent though because they are adorable. can’t wait for one of the cups to do what’s right. thanks for sharing. barb

  15. Margaret Johnson says

    Melting Styrofoam Cups: How do you make the brim melt out like a Spring Hat or Picture Hat rather than a man’s or Leprechaun Hat? The ones I did don’t make the brims like you have pictured above which are so cute. Thanks for replying.

    • says

      Hi Margaret. I’m afraid it’s just trial and error. It all depends on temperature, timing and can also depend on the brand of cup. There’s really no exact science that I have found, just luck of the draw. Sorry I can’t help more!

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