However, the attractive convenience of disposable cups and bottles seems to always be an inhibiting factor when it comes to going packageless: if you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23 lbs of waste in one year. Packageless
Following the advice of another blogger, I decided to collect all of my garbage for a month to see how wasteful I was. After a month, I was surprised at how much non-recyclable and non-compostable items I bought. One area of improvement was reducing my use of disposable coffee cups. Since a large majority coffee cups are generally not recyclable or compostable, I had to throw them away in the garbage can.
Last week, I had a brilliant idea: I should make booklet covers out of them!
So I disassembled one of my coffee cups apart, and to my surprise, the large (Venti-sized) coffee cup had just enough paper to make a medium sized (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") notebook.
I looked around the internet to see if anyone else has thought of this but couldn't find a thing. So, I decided to make a tutorial about how to make a coffee cup booklet.
Tools and Materials
- 20 oz Large Coffee Cup (Venti)
- X-Acto knife
I used specialty tools in this tutorial. However, this booklet can be made with the basic tools described above. Here are the following tools that I used to make my booklets:
- Paper Guillotine
- Paper Corner Cutter
- Saddle Stapler
The directions are fairly straight forward. However, one of the difficulties in this project is the process of dissassembling the paper coffee cup. Since they're designed to be watertight, the paper is lined with plastic and made with a thick stock paper making it difficult to tear apart without wrinkling or damaging the paper.
Step 1: Peel Back the Paper Cup Lip
The lip of the paper is folded back to hold the lid in place, add structural stability at the top, and create a watertight seal at the top. The paper is rolled outward, so you have to unroll it so you can can cut along the seam in Step 2.
Step 2: Cut along the Seam
Next, you need to cut along the seam of the cup. At first, I tried to rip the cup apart at the seam, but the cup was glued so tight that I often found myself ripping the sides of the cup making it useless. I just used some scissors to cut the seam from the top all the way to the bottom.
Afterwards, keep cutting straight until you cut the base of the cup in half.
Step 3: Remove the base of the cup.
The bottom of the cup is useless, so you need to carefully remove it. Take care to pull slowly so the base peels away rather than ripping the sides of the paper cup.
Optional: Step 3.5: Flatten out the sides of the cup
The paper cup naturally curves to take the shape of a paper cup. You can flatten it out by...
- curling it the opposite direction against the edge of a hard surface (like curling ribbons)
- ironing it out using an electric iron
- pressing it with a heavy object for several weeks.
However, this is not necessary in my opinion because as you put the booklet in your pocket, it will loosen up and conform to the shape of your fat thigh.
Step 4: Cut the Outline of the Book Cover.
After the paper cup is dissassembled, you need to cut out the general shape of a booklet.
Leave extra margin space because you will need to cut the top, bottom, and foredge of the booklet. You also need to angle the template so that the image on the front cover is centered on the booklet. Also, if you center the front cover, the back cover will not be centered.
Step 5: Cut and Fold all Pages of the Booklet
Get some paper, cut them to a manageable size, and and fold them in half.
Step 6: Bind/Staple the Booklet Together.
Once you have all your pieces, you need to put everything together and staple bind them. If you don't have a saddle stapler, that's OK. You can staple them using a regular stapler and then fold afterwards. Another method is punch holes in all the pages and fold the staples in by hand.
If you want, you can sewn-bind them instead of stapling them.
Step 6: Cut the Edges
Lastly, you need to cut the top, bottom, and fore-edge of the book. I used a paper guillotine to cut the paper, but you can use an X-Acto knife to cut the edges of the booklet.
Step 7: Cut the Corners
Once you cut the top, bottom, and fore-edge, you need to cut the corners of the paper to help prevent folded corners. Also, it just looks aesthetically pleasing.
Step 8: Use your Journal and Enjoy
You should celebrate! You are saving the enviroment and also have a nifty new notebook.
Pictures of Coffee Cup Notebooks
Here is a few samples of my final product.
Here is a comparison of my notebook to a small Moleskin cahier.
Thoughts and Reflections
There are two reasons why I like making these notebooks:
- It's better for the enviroment - The general rule is that you should reduce, reuse, and then recycle. From now on, I'm going to buy a thermos so I buy less paper cups. However, since I already bought these paper cups, I might as well put them to good use by recycling them rather than throwing them away.
- Waterproof Cover - Since the paper was originally designed to keep in water, it's reasonable to assume that it will help keep water out.
Thank You for Reading!
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for improvement, please comment below.