How to Create Pictures in a Chain Link Fence With Styrofoam Cups

Styrofoam cups can do more than hold drinks--they can create mosaic pictures in a fence.
Styrofoam cups can do more than hold drinks--they can create mosaic pictures in a fence. (Image: paper cup with sleeve image by Danuta Kania from

Since most styrofoam cups taper slightly, they fit into almost any residential and commercial chain link fence and can be arranged geometrically to write messages, create designs, and make art. The technique has risen in popularity since its conception to commemorate events, cheer on sports teams, and leave visible messages that are easy to remove. They also give a bohemian touch to utilitarian metal or a focal point to a bland yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil (optional colored)
  • Chain link fencing
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Paint (optional)

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Choose a fence that you would like to decorate, or choose a piece of chain link instead, which can be moved easily or mounted on a wall. Fences are ideal outdoor decorations since they won't be carried away by wind or animals, while separate pieces are ideal for indoor decorating.

Draw a design on paper before implementing the project. This will let you know how many cups to use, and, if you're painting, how many cups you need of each color. Draw with colored pencils to distinguish cups if you want to use paint.

Paint your cups if you want them to be colorful. As an alternative to painting cups yourself, some companies sell colored inserts that can be used in a fence instead of cups.

Push your styrofoam cups into the holes in the chain link fence according to your design to create your desired picture or message. Small cups like these fit into chain link easily. Make sure the cups are facing whichever way you think gives it more aesthetic appeal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using styrofoam alternatives may keep your yard healthier since they are more environmentally friendly.
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