DIYdiy projects

diy project: painterly party cups

by Kate Pruitt

The inspiration behind these simple watercolor party cups from Stephanie Polli made me very happy. To me, this project exemplifies what makes DIYs such a great outlet for creativity — can’t find any paper cups you like? Make some! The coral and ocean blue color palette is perfect for a spring fête, and I could easily envision an entire set of great tableware inspired by these designs. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie! — Kate

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CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

I’ve been admiring the use of watercolor designs in clothing fashions and dishware this season. The look is playful and full of color. With my upcoming birthday party this month, I was inspired to incorporate watercolor designs into the party theme. I was shopping for supplies, feeling a little underwhelmed by the disposable-cup options,  when I got the bright idea to hand-paint watercolor designs on plain old paper cups. It felt fresh, unexpected and perfect for a spring gathering! — Stephanie


  • 16 oz. paper coffee cups
  • wide, flat paintbrush
  • acrylic paint
  • water
  • tarp or covering for work surface


1. Place the protective covering over your work surface. Paint will flick as you’re working, so make sure you’re not wearing your favorite shirt, either.

2. Squeeze a little paint into a cup. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon for 13 cups. Slowly dilute with water, mixing with your brush.

3. Apply thin strokes to your cup. Feel free to experiment here — it’s fun! Just make sure you don’t paint the cup to the brim. You don’t want your guests putting their lips on dried paint.
4. Line up your cups to dry. I gave mine about an hour, just to make sure there was no bleeding.
5. Enjoy!

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