Recycled Backyard: Fast Food Soda Cup Planters

Jill Staake

We recycle anything and everything we can at my house, but our curbside pickup only accepts plastic types 1 and 2. That means that the drink cups I bring home from my occasional (or slightly more than occasional) trips to fast food restaurants have to go in the trash… something that just never sits right with me. I’ve been trying to come up with an easy way to re-use them in my garden, and my recent project using colored electrical tape to dress up tin cans for Fourth of July finally gave me the solution I was looking for!

What You’ll Need:

  • Plastic soda cups (not necessarily from a fast food place, of course)
  • Colored electrical tape – I used both 1 inch and 1/2 inch thick tape. You can find these at your local home improvement stores.
  • Scissors
  • Decorative paper punch (optional)
  • Medium gauge wire (optional)

What You Do:

  • Wash and dry your cup(s) thoroughly.
  • Poke several small holes in the bottom of each cup. If your scissors have “pointy” ends, that should work fine. If not, a small screwdriver works well.
  • Start wrapping your cup(s) with electrical tape – use your imagination!
    • The tape lends itself very well to stripes, but there are lots of options.
    • I used a small flower-shaped paper punch to create shapes; it took a little experimenting but worked out pretty well.
    • The yellow and red tape may not completely cover the printing on the cups. Try using a layer of white tape first before adding yellow and/or red.
  • If you want to create hanging planters, poke two small holes on either side of the cup just below the rim. Cut a piece of wire and thread it through each of the holes, going around several times for strength.
  • Fill the bottom of the cup with potting soil, and add plants of your choice. Annuals sold in 4.5″ pots fit perfectly into the cups.

This is a really easy craft that kids will love, but can be a lot of fun for crafty adults too. What will you plant in your soda cup planters? Tell us below!

  1. Sandi says

    I make birdhouses out of the 44 oz. plastic cups and lids. Freeze the cup full of water so you can cut with a large hole saw; add a twig perch; glue lid on. Let the cup unthaw and pour out the water. Dry well and paint. add a wire hanger and you’re finished. The birds loved to nest in these.

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