Can You Make a Snowman Napkin Holder from ONLY Paper Cups?

Ingenious Crafts. Insanely Fun How-Tos.
Repurposed paper cup snowman napkin holder
An ice cool Snowman...
Repurposed paper cup snowman napkin holder
...that's also a handy napkin holder!

Next time you buy a take away 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?”.

Perfect for your Christmas and Thanksgiving lunches!

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 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).

*Starbuck’s Grande size paper cup!

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

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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*)
  • PVA glue (for mixing with paint)
  • Black marker pens
  • Napkins!

*popular UK glue brand

What will I learn?

1) How even a paper cup can be repurposed into something useful.

2) The shape of an object can shape your ideas… I chose a snowman because I knew the bottom of the cup would make a nice round face.

3) Paper cups are one of modern life’s most useful ‘free’ resources… never throw them away!

Give it your own twist

If snowmen are not your thing try making a lion, all you would need to do is add a large mane behind the face.

I’m sure there’s lots of other creatures, real or imaginative, you could make - there’s no rules, anything goes!

Written by
Photo of Scott Bedford
Scott Bedford

Maker, Illustrator and Author