Thanksgiving Craft

These festive little pilgrim hats are so fun to make as you watch them shrink in the oven! They make great table decorations, but be sure to make them a few days before the big holiday since your turkey will be monopolizing oven time on Thanksgiving Day!

Styrofoam cup pilgrim hats

What you need

Styrofoam cups, one for each hat
Acrylic paint: black, brown, white and gray
Paint brush
gold glitter glue

What you do

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Author's Note: The temperature and instructions in this craft are based off of a dark coated cookie sheet at 250 degrees F in an electric oven. You may want to experiment with different temps until you receive satisfactory results. We recommend baking one or two cups at the recommended temperature and time first. If they seem to melt too quickly or the ends curl up and under, try reducing the temperature and trying again. We have also baked these in a 300 degree gas oven.

Place Styrofoam cups upside down (open end of cup down) on a dark coated cookie sheet, placing them about 1-2" apart. Note: we experimented with both dark coated and silver cookie sheets, the cups did not melt properly on the silver sheets.

Bake in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, don't walk away! It will take about one minute before you see any changes to the cups, then the heat will begin to melt and shrink them rather rapidly after that. It's lots of fun for the kids to watch, so be sure to turn the oven light on.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely. DO NOT try to remove the cups from the cookie sheet until they are completely cooled. As they cool, the Styrofoam that is stuck to the sheet will relax and release its grip from the sheet, allowing you to remove them easily. Most cups will melt rather well, thought you may end up with one or two that look distorted or misshapen.

Paint the "hats" with brown, gray or black paint, one coat is usually enough, and allow them to dry completely. Once they are dry paint a band around the hat in a contrasting color (brown, black or gray) and allow to dry again.

When bands are dry, paint a white buckle or use gold glitter glue. If possible, prop hats on their sides to dry to minimize the glitter glue running. Note: If using glitter glue, it will go on 3 dimensional and dry flat. This may cause it to run together. If this happens, simply add some black paint (or whatever color your band is) to the center.

These fun decorations can also be used as treat cups! Be sure to paint the inside and bottom of the hats as well, then turn upside down and fill with treats.



Comments on "Styrofoam Cup Pilgrim Hats"

Leona April 28, 2013 | 12:34 PM

Use 8 oz cups,try 300 or 325 temp and watch fast. Pull out qiuck because they will still melt more.You can also paint spring colors and add flowers with a glue gun and add a skewer stick and put it in a plant pot. (:

Tina March 16, 2013 | 12:10 PM

Use the smaller styrofoam cups- the ones with the ribbing around the middle work best.

Shirley November 07, 2011 | 3:21 PM

I was wondering the same things as Tracy and had made two or three attempts before I found the above instructions. I used a stoneware cookie sheet that has been darkened over the years and an oven thermometer so I knew my oven was at 250. I did one 12oz. cup at a time and yes, it did form the rim, but I had to carefully make the brim flat by hand. They are very cute and fun to make. I am going to try some smaller sizes too. Shirley in Washington

tracy November 17, 2009 | 8:03 PM

help! i have tried several things trying to make these.... they are so cute!! i have an electric oven i have tried it at 250 up to 280 maybe i don't understand... are the cups suppose to melt and make the rim also? is it the 8zo cup or larger? any help would be appreciated thanks Tracy

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