I’ve been known to host the occasional blow-out at my place, and since I don’t have nearly enough glassware to accommodate 30+ guests (nor the time to make runs to the rental company!), I frequently opt to use single-use recyclable cups. Typically I love the clean look of regular clear plastic ware, but when I recently stumbled upon this contact paper photo technique, I thought it might be fun to dress up basic Solo Cups with black and white photos. Camille was kind enough to loan me some of her own childhood pictures for the test run, and I fell in love with the final product — perfect for honoring a birthday boy or girl at the next bash you host! Keep reading to see how it’s done…

  1. Print out childhood photos using a laser printer on regular paper. If you don’t have a laser printer, Xerox copies of photos work as well. The higher the contrast of the photos, the better. Cut individually into squares as pictured.
  2. Peel back off of contact paper and place photos face-down onto the clear adhesive. Firmly rub back of photos to help transfer photos.
  3. Cut out photos .
  4. Fill a bowl with warm water, and drop the contact paper-covered photos in. Be sure that photos are fully submerged, and leave for ten minutes.
  5. Use fingers to gently rub paper off back of contact paper. The photo will have transferred onto the contact paper. Set photo contact paper down with the adhesive side up and allow to dry completely. As it dries, the tackiness of the contact paper will return.
  6. Adhere photos to Solo cups.

*This post is in partnership with Solo Cup. Thanks for being supportive of the sponsors that help keep CamilleStyles.com your daily destination for lifestyle inspiration!

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Comments (37)
  1. 1
    melissa January 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    This is brilliant. I love it.

  2. 2
    gloria January 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I always try to use real glasses when hosting at my home but sometimes a plastic cup is a must. I know there is a whole song devoted to the “red solo cup” but I definitely prefer the clear plastic cup. Thanks for dressing up the solo cup!

  3. 3
    laura cottrill January 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Very clever!!

  4. 4
    linda nguyen January 22, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    omg – this is amazing. and i literally use contact paper for everything, why i never thought of this i don’t know! xo!

    • Chanel Dror January 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

      it might be my new favorite crafting material… so versatile and easy to work with!! 🙂

  5. 5
    Cristina January 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Love the way this turned out Chanel! I’m into the clear cups 🙂

  6. 6
    Miz Amz March 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Does this come off when the cups are filled with ice & the cups get wet? That’s why I’ve always been against those paper “water bottle” wrappers people try to use at parties. They only work on room temp water bottles! This ideas of yours looks as if it would work with cups that are wet with condensation, though . . . How long do these last? All evening?? 🙂

    • Chanel Dror March 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Hi there! From my experience, these do not come off when cups are filled & cold. As long as all the paper is rubbed off (step 5), the contact paper should adhere to the plastic and stay put. Hope that helps & best of luck!

      • Miz Amz March 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

        Yahoo!!! Cannot WAIT to try this!!! I have the perfect party coming up to make these! 🙂 Thank you so much for posting this & for your prompt response!

  7. 7
    catherine June 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    i have adhesive shelf and drawer liner. it is clear. is that different than contact paper\? when i put the picture on it and put in water the picture came off the adhesive

  8. 8
    erica June 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    can this work with harder plastic cups? or only the disposable ones?

    • tawny October 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

      YES! i am wondering the same thing! would we only be able to use the disposable cups?

      • Chanel Dror October 8, 2014 at 11:45 am

        Hi Tawny, I haven’t tried this on non-disposable cups. Feel free to give it a shot & let us know how it goes!

  9. 9
    Misty January 12, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    So glad I came across this! Will be perfect for my son’s high school grad party!! Thanks 🙂

  10. 10
    Elizabeth March 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Hello! This is awesome! I just tried to transfer, and for some reason I am not able to get it to transfer. I only have one semi-successful attempt, but it is super faint. Any tips? Thanks!

    • Anna Vincent December 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      My guess is you’re using an inkjet printer instead of a laser printer. I tried with my inkjet printer and get super faint results also.

  11. 11
    Teri Heckethorn April 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I tried this twice the other night. When I go to check the photos soaking in the cups, the photos have come off of the contact paper or slide off when I check them. What am I doing wrong?? Want to do these for a 60 th birthday May 2, 2015. Thanks for your help. I bought my clear contact shelf paper at K mart. Am I buying the correct stuff?

    • Allyson April 28, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Same thing happened to me Teri, did you find a solution 🙁

      • cynthia clark February 27, 2017 at 11:36 am

        when I rub the paper off, the photo comes off the contact paper as well…..

        • MaryLyn Miller March 22, 2017 at 6:59 pm

          I see that she used Bare cups by Solo, Maybe that made a difference?

        • maureen greene June 20, 2017 at 6:03 pm

          there is a difference between shelf paper (made to be removed) and contact paper (made to stick). My guess is you used shelf paper.

  12. 12
    adleberghr August 12, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Great post! I cited it in my blog.

  13. 13
    Lily April 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I am So looking forward to trying this

  14. 14
    luisaluna15 November 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Hello, A question… only works in Black and White photos? I designed a logo in colours and I want to apply this tecnich.

  15. 15
    Brenda July 27, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I love this idea! I just tried it, and when I tried to separate the picture from the paper, the paper pretty much dissolved like tissue paper. Should I use better paper?

    • Brenda July 27, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      I tried it again and had better luck, but it still doesn’t seem like I am doing it right. Perhaps I am rubbing too hard because I peel the picture right off, and there is no image. Thank you for any help you can provide.

  16. 16
    Brenda July 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Has anyone tried this and been successful? I haven’t been successful, and I’d love to hear what I might be doing wrong because I love the idea!

  17. 17
    Angie July 31, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you for this great idea, will be trying at the next event

  18. 18
    Karyn E Caprara June 18, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I’m having an issue once i rub the back (after the soaking process) of the paper and let me dry they are not becoming sticky 🙁 Any tips? Should i leave it in the water as i rub the back? HELP using this for a 60th bday party coming up and i LOVE the way they look just can’t figure out how to make them stick



Chanel Dror