projects/paper cup snowman

How to Make a Snowman Napkin Holder from Two Paper Cups



Next time you buy a Grande Latte from Starbucks hang onto your paper cups.

With a little ingenuity you can upcycle them into this cool Snowman napkin holder.

What’s more, it uses no other material, which was the challenge I originally set myself… “What could I make using ONLY paper cups?”.

Repurposed paper cup snowman napkin holder
An ice cool Snowman...
Repurposed paper cup snowman napkin holder
...that's also a handy napkin holder!

Step by step guide

If you who would like to make your own paper cup snowman napkin holder, here’s some easy to follow instructions…

Body & head
How to make a paper cup snowman napkin holder: Step 1-3

STEP 1: Turn a 16fl oz paper cup (Starbuck’s Grande size) upside down and draw a line around it 8mm from the top and another 25mm from the bottom. Mark a 22mm section along the top line, this is a fold.

Draw the body of the snowman (4 curves) centred under the fold and between the two lines, leaving a 10mm gap at the top and a 6mm gap at the bottom. Use the illustration as reference.

Cut along the lines using a craft knife but don’t cut the fold! Also, make sure you keep the bottom offcut (A).

STEP 2: Fold the top of the cup upwards to form the head.

STEP 3: Fold both sides of the snowman’s body outwards.

Arms & hands
How to make a paper cup snowman napkin holder:  Step 4-8

STEP 4: Cut a 10mm strip from around the top of offcut (A).

STEP 5: Wrap and glue the strip around the ‘neck’ of the snowman to create the first part of the scarf.

STEP 6: On the bottom of offcut (A), adjacent to the rim, draw two ‘half’ hand shapes. Cut along the rim and around the hands.

STEP 7: Unroll the rim to create the other half of each hand and trim it into a curve.

STEP 8: Use a craft knife and sharp pencil to make a small hole in each side of the snowman. Trim each arm to a length of 52mm and insert one into each hole.

Scarf & hat
How to make a paper cup snowman napkin holder:  Step 9-16

STEP 9: Grab the second paper cup. Cut two 10mm wide strips from around the base, these will form the front of the scarf.

STEP 10: Snip the end of each strip with scissors to create ‘tassles’.

STEP 11: Bend the strips to create a ‘wavy’ scarf effect and glue them onto the front of the neck.

STEP 12: Now for the hat. First, cut out a rectangular section 30mm x 110mm from the spare cup.

STEP 13: Next, cut a circle 35mm in diameter.

STEP 14: And another circle 58mm in diameter.

STEP 15: Roll the rectangle into a tube, with a 10mm overlap, and secure with glue.

STEP 16: Glue each circle onto opposite ends of the tube.

Head & face
How to make a paper cup snowman napkin holder:  Step 17-19

STEP 17: To complete the hat simply glue it onto the top of the head.

STEP 18: Next, cut a slender ‘V’ shape into the centre of the face and fold it up to create the snowman’s nose.

STEP 19: Glue a strip of card 15mm x 45mm behind the ‘neck’ to strengthen it and stop the head from flopping down.

Pen & Paint
How to make a paper cup snowman napkin holder:  Step 20-21

STEP 20: Mix some PVA glue with poster (or acrylic) paints and decorate your snowman.

STEP 21: Use a black marker pen to add the eyes and mouth.

That’s it! Just add napkins and display on your Christmas table.


  • 2 x Starbucks Grande size paper cups
  • Scissors and craft knife
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Poster/acrylic paints
  • Paintbrush and mixing bowls
  • Paper and card glue (e.g. UHU in the UK)
  • PVA glue (for mixing with paint)
  • Black marker pens
  • Napkins!

Creative Takeaway

It can help to let the shape of an object shape your ideas… I chose a snowman because I knew the bottom of the cup would make a nice round face.

And don’t forget, paper cups are a fantastic ‘free’ resource… why not try repurposing them into other things, can you do better than me?