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How to Customize Plastic Cups

There are different ways you can customize your plastic cups.
plastic cups multi coloured image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Whether you're preparing for your kid's birthday party, supporting your team at the next big game or looking for a different way to market your company, customized plastic cups are a great way of celebrating a special day and putting your business in front of people. You can purchase customized plastic cups from professional printers. However, this can be costly and as most printers will only operate in bulk, you might end up with far more cups than you need. Making your own customized plastic cups is relatively inexpensive and can be a fun project for crafters.

Things You'll Need:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint applicator
  • Laser printer
  • Graphics software
  • Decal paper
  • Black paint


  • Always ensure paint has dried before using the cups as it could be harmful if ingested.

Use acrylic paint. You can purchase acrylic paint and a bottle with an needle-sized applicator from your local craft store. As acrylic paint is waterproof, it will not wash off when you clean the cup and can be re-used again and again. Try making a sketch of your design before you start so the painting process is easier. Using acrylic paint, you can create colorful patterns and spell out names. The paint dries quickly so you will be able to use the cups within an hour of painting them.

Use vinyl decals. If you have a laser printer, you can create your own decal design using a graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. After printing the design out onto special decal paper, simply dip the design in water, carefully remove the backing paper and apply it to the cup. You might want to seal it by covering the design with a small piece of laminating paper so it doesn't get damaged if it gets wet.

Etch your design onto the cup. Paint over the sides of the cup using black craft paint and wait for it to dry. Then, use a blunt knife, a paintbrush handle or even your fingernail to scratch out names or patterns. The paint will scrape off, revealing the cup's color underneath. If you choose this method to customize your cups, you will only be able to use them once as the paint will run when you wash the cups after use.

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