Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The 411 on Paper Hot Cups

Have you ever wondered what makes a paper hot cup? What is in a hot cup that isn’t in other types of paper cups?

Paper is an ideal cup insulator because of three of its properties. First, it is able to reduce the passage of air through a cup because of the wood fibers that trap the air. It also conducts less heat and finally, paper blocks the passage of light radiation so it further reduces the passage of heat through the cup.

Regular paper cups can hold warm to fairly hot drinks but when it gets piping hot, you will probably need a cup sleeve or better yet, a hot cup. Hot cups are specifically designed for greater heat retention. Think of it as a cup with double walls or layers in which air is trapped. Therefore, the heat does not transfer to the human hand. Some multi layered paper hot cups have a decorative and corrugated layer which allows for better insulation as well as an opportunity for branding or advertising.

In the beginning, hot cups were made by being glued together. Its waterproof property was then achieved by dropping a small amount of clay in the bottom of the cup. The cup was then spun at a high speed in order for the clay to travel up to the walls of the cup so that it could be water resistant. However, due to this process, the cup’s content reeked and tasted of cardboard. To remedy this, hot cup manufacturers have developed the technique of spraying both the inside and the outside of the cup with wax. Later on though, polyethylene (PE) was invented and it was used to cover the surface of the board. The coating used for cups varies for hot drinks and cold drinks. Some paper cup manufacturers use PLA or polylactic acid or polylactide, which is a renewable resource and a biodegradable bio-plastic coating, to coat paper cups. The use of PLA makes a paper cup more compostable and thus more eco-friendly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Project Paper Cup: “Froggy” Fun with Yogurt Paper Cups

In the previous editions of Project Paper Cup, we have shared with you different fun and easy ways to create different kinds of paper animals. For this issue, we are going to add another animal to our collection but we are going to do it with a little twist. We are going to do a paper frog, but not just an idle frog. We are going to make a paper frog catching a fly! As usual, we are going to try to be as eco-friendly as we are creative and that is why we are going to use recycled yogurt paper cups for this project.

Aside from used yogurt paper cups, you will also need black construction paper, green construction paper, bond paper, a pair of scissors, tape, glue, a red pipe cleaner or straw and coloring materials.

First, cut horizontal strips from your green construction paper. Wrap them around your yogurt paper cup until it is completely covered. Use tape or glue to secure it. Set aside. This will be your frog’s body. Now, it’s time to work on your frog’s legs, eyes, and mouth. You can also use the remainder of your green construction paper. Make sure to create four legs—two large ones and two small ones. If you are unsure on how to go about it, look at pictures of frogs for reference. When you attach them to the body of your frog, take note to attach the large ones to the sides and the smaller ones towards the front. Get some of your bond paper and black construction paper. Use the former to cut out eyes and part of your frog’s large, triangular mouth. Use the latter to complete the lower half of your frog’s mouth. Use the same set of papers to create the fly that your frog will catch. It can be as simple as a black bug with white wings.

Now, get your pipe cleaner. This will serve as your frog’s tongue. On one end, attach your black and white bug. Then glue the other end to your frog’s mouth. Make sure to slightly twist the pipe to give it more dimension. Use your coloring materials to further decorate the frog. Have fun with it! And don’t forget to show your finished product to family and friends.

Like we always say, when it comes to converting used yogurt paper cups into easy-to-do and fun art projects, the only limit is your imagination. The next time you are enjoying a healthy serving of yogurt, don’t forget to save the cup because here in Project Paper Cup, we turn trash into art.