Paper Cup + Copper Luminaries


I had so much fun playing with gold foil for my cocktail glass post, I decided to revisit metallics using copper leaf. Check out this simple diy to create mini luminaries—Elevating a common paper cup to an object of glittering beauty. Plus, they’re crazy cheap, so you can fill a big space with glittering candlelight…without breaking the bank!


• Copper leafing kit (Containing copper leaf sheets and adhesive size like this one)
• Paper cups in various sizes (I’ve used these in 9 and 14 oz)
• 2 soft paintbrushes
• Latex Gloves (makes handling the copper leaf sheets a little easier)
• Scissors
• Small rolling pin or fat handled wooden spoon
• Battery operated tealights

Step 1: Starting with a paper cup, paint the inside with adhesive size. Cover the entire inside (or only parts of the cup for a textured look). Allow to air dry according to the directions on the kit.
Step 2: Apply a sheet of the copper leaf directly to the surface where you’ve painted the adhesive. To best line the inside of the cup, I like to tear off 1/4 squares of the copper sheet and loosely roll them around a small rolling pin. The pin helps transfer the foil to the curve inside of the cup. Press down, working to avoid any folds or bubbles. If you have any gaps, press in foil with your fingers (be sure to wear gloves!)
Step 3: Once you’ve applied the copper leaf, dust off the excess pieces using a soft, dry paintbrush and trim down the top of the cup in an organic shape.
Step 4: Insert a battery operated tealight and group for a glowy effect. They look lovely grouped on a dinner table or lining a footpath at night!


Feeling lazy like me? No need to trim the tops. These guys look every bit as pretty with their paper cup collars.


The juxtaposition of matte paper and shimmering copper foil makes these look way more expensive than they are. The materials totaled less than $15 and can yield more than 30 luminaries.



• You can also trim the cup first and then apply the copper leaf, for a more textured look.
• Save time! Leave the bottom inch of the cup free of foil and use sand to fill the gap for opacity when the candle is lit.
• If using these outside, drop some sand in the bottom to give some weight to the cup.

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