How to Create a Folded Paper Cup

Paper Cups of Holding

Paper cups can hold many things, like blue corn tortilla chips, M&Ms and even very small mandarin oranges. They can hold water, too.
Paper cups can hold many things, like blue corn tortilla chips, M&Ms and even very small mandarin oranges. They can hold water, too. | Source

Folded Paper Cup Directions

An excellent beginner's Origami project is a folded paper cup with a variation to make it a free-standing cup if desired. You will need square Origami paper, about 8"x8". If you don't have Origami paper, copy paper works just as well. You will need to trim it to 8.5"x8.5" square.

To Fold

A. Begin by folding your square piece of paper across the diagonal, running your finger along the crease so that it is sharp. With the paper folded, orient it so that the crease is closest to you and horizontal.

B. Fold the right corner of the paper so that it meets point LL, located on the left side of the paper's edge.. Then fold the left corner of the paper so that it meets point MM, located on the right side of the paper's edge.

C. Fold the forward-most top corner down and tuck it into the front pocket made in step B. Crease the top edge sharply. Turn to the back.

D. Fold down the remaining top corner down. There won't be a pocket on this side, so crease the top edge sharply.

Check your work. You should now be able to open up the cup and fill it with M&Ms.


Origami Paper Cup Diagrams

Front side of paper with fold A marked
Front side of paper with fold A marked | Source
Back side of paper with remaining folds marked.
Back side of paper with remaining folds marked. | Source

Folding a Paper Cup

A. Fold paper diagonlally B. Fold side points to LL, MM.
A. Fold paper diagonlally B. Fold side points to LL, MM. | Source
C. Fold forwardmost top corner down and tuck corner into forward pocket. Turn paper over.
C. Fold forwardmost top corner down and tuck corner into forward pocket. Turn paper over. | Source
D. Fold remaining top corner down and crease sharply.
D. Fold remaining top corner down and crease sharply. | Source

Origami Cup Holding M&Ms

A paper cup folded from a piece of paper 8.5"x8.5" will hold approximately 53 peanut M&Ms. This cup cannot stand up by itself.
A paper cup folded from a piece of paper 8.5"x8.5" will hold approximately 53 peanut M&Ms. This cup cannot stand up by itself. | Source

Freestanding Folded Paper Cup

Now that you have mastered folding a paper cup, try this variation to make it freestanding.

E. Make a horizontal valley fold approximately 3/4" up from the bottom of the cup. Then mountain fold back along the same line. Open the crease back up so that the cup is as it was before step E.

F. Now open up the cup and turn it upside down, so that you are looking at the cup's bottom. Press your finger in the center of the bottom and make and indentation. Continue to press gently until the indentation meets the crease you made in step E. Making and then maintaining this crease is the most important part of creating a freestanding paper cup.

G. Flatten and smooth out the bottom by pressing the end-points towards the center of the cup's bottom. It is okay if it turns out wrinkled, just be sure you maintain the crease that you created in step F.

Now turn the cup right-side-up and fill with M&Ms. The cup may hold fewer M&Ms, but it will stand up by itself, freeing your hands to work on the keyboard or do other chores.

Variation For Freestanding Paper Cup

E. Fold about 1/2" horizontally from bottom of cup.
E. Fold about 1/2" horizontally from bottom of cup. | Source
F. Push bottom in to meet crease E.
F. Push bottom in to meet crease E. | Source
G. Tuck in points to smooth out bottom
G. Tuck in points to smooth out bottom | Source

Freestanding Folded Paper Cup

Folded paper cup stands by itself and holds 48 peanut M&Ms.
Folded paper cup stands by itself and holds 48 peanut M&Ms. | Source

What to do With a Paper Cup

  • Folded paper cups are very versatile. You can use them for practical purposes, tucking one into a first aid kit or purse to hold water, in the event you need to take medication or just need a drink. But one of the best ways to use a folded paper cup is to make individual serving-sizes of snacks for a party. It's also a great way to keep kids involved in the party preparation process - they can fold and fill the cups while you get other things ready. The paper can usually be recycled afterwards, provided that the snacks were not messy.
  • Paper cups can be made in smaller or larger sizes, in different colors or with patterned paper. Origami paper is quite festive and fun, or try large art papers from the art or craft supply store.
  • Large paper cups can be used as a child's hat! Try upcycling newspaper to fold an oversized cup, then have your child decorate it to create a fun hat.
  • Use folded paper cups as office organizers for small things like paper clips, binder clips, mini Sharpie pens, and rubber bands. Specialty art papers are fun to use for this purpose.

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Comments 2 comments

Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 3 years ago

Interesting tutorial. Amazing what we can DIY! Voted up and useful.


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks Monis Mas! I've been really interested in paper crafts lately!

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