Recycled Art: Creating a K-Cup Mobile

recycled art k-cup mobile

A few months ago, my husband and I debated over whether or not to purchase a Keurig.  We liked the idea and convenience of having this coffee machine, but our biggest concern was the environmental impact caused by the K-Cups.  You can check out the Keurig website to see what their company is doing to help ).

We ended up making the purchase and do not regret it one bit.  In fact, it is now my all time favorite appliance.  To rid myself of some of the guilt that went along with not being as “green” as I could be, I decided to try and come up with a project that incorporated the used K-Cups.

After I had a decent sized collection (about 11), my son and I decided that the first thing we should do was to thoroughly examine the K-Cups – how did they work?  So, we ripped open the aluminum foil top.  Inside, as expected, were coffee grounds.

kcup

What I personally had never thought of was the fact that there was a tiny coffee filter attached to the inside of the K-Cup which held the grounds.  We dumped the used coffee grounds into a bowl and decided to save them for our compost, as coffee grounds can be quite beneficial to your garden.

Already, I was feeling greener!

Playing with the grounds was good messy fun and a sensory bin I hadn’t considered making before.  I’m glad, however, that I did it over the sink for easier cleanup.  We then cleaned out the K-Cups and set them on the kitchen counter.  We noticed the hole that had been punctured in the bottom of the K-Cup where the water flows through.  This is when we got inspired.

We decided that we would use the K-Cups to make a mobile.  We quickly got out our washable tempera paints and began decorating.

painting cups

While my son was painting, I was scrambling around a bit trying to find the other things we might need to assemble our mobile.  We eventually consulted Poppa (my father), who found some string and then took my son on a hunt for twigs.  We tied the three twigs together, a low, a medium, and a high, and waited for the K-Cups to dry.

Once they were ready, we poked a bigger hole in the bottom of the K-Cup (which was now the top since we turned them upside down) – grownups, this is YOUR job!

My son helped cut the individual pieces of string that would be used to attach the K-Cups to the twigs.  I put a knot at one end and my son fed the string through the hole.  He then showed me in which spot that particular K-Cup was to go and I helped tie it on to the stick.

We repeated this until all of the K-Cups were attached.  We had to adjust the location of some of them slightly when the mobile seemed unbalanced.  We ended up with four on top, four in the middle, and five on the bottom twig.  Then, we attached another string to the top and made a loop by which we could hang the mobile.

child with handmade mobile

I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the way this turned out.  Not only is it pretty, but we were able to recycle the contents of the K-Cups (in our compost) and the K-Cups themselves by transforming them into a hand-painted lovely piece of art which is now on display in our living room.  And, being done right around Earth Day, we felt really good about supporting my coffee addiction while reducing our impact on the environment!

Final thoughts:

  • We tried to hang the mobile outside, but when I checked on it on a particularly humid day, the paint had re-hydrated and rubbed off onto my fingers.  Therefore, I would recommend this be an inside mobile especially if you are using washable paints.
  • Depending on your child’s age and ability, you may have to tie many of the knots while your child holds the twigs.
  • To extend this even further, you might consider turning this into a wind chime by adding jingle bells to the string inside each K-Cup.

How else can you use your K-Cups?

Looking for other ideas for turning waste into art?  Check out some of these great ideas:




Amy About Amy

Amy is stay at home mom to a 4 year old son and a 18 month old baby girl. Before becoming a mom, Amy was an elementary school teacher and has a Master's in Literacy Education and a Reading Specialist certificate. She is also the director and teacher of a local Kindermusik program. She loves theater, music, and dance, and of course, playing with her children. Amy writes Stuck Under a Baby, tweets as @stuckunderababy and can be found on Facebook.