HOW TO: Make a Sippy Cup Name Tag

What do you do at a toddler gathering with a table filled with identical cups?

Photo of two Klean Kanteens with bead rings wrapped around their necks. One shows ceramic beads with drawings of an apple, soccer ball and polar bear. The other contains alphabet blocks and simple single-color beads.
I bought some Klean Kanteen sippy cups online last November. Everything was copacetic for a few months until three local natural food stores began selling the cups. Now everyone has them.

I tried marking our cups with a Sharpie pen, but the ink rubbed off during washing. Then good ol’ Mom got the idea to wrap a string of beads around the cup. The ribbed bottleneck design of the Kanteen makes it possible.

The idea is simple. Buy a thick elastic cord or sturdy metal resizeable chain and some beads that fit your cord. String up the beads, cinch them tight against the bottle and tie or secure the string.

If you have the tension right, the beads stay in place even if the bottle is turned upside down.

It’s important to have your chain or cord selected before buying beads because the holes running through your beads may be too small for your chain. Select plastic or metal beads instead of glass or ceramic if you fear their breakage.

The easiest way to approach this project is to visit a bead store. When I say “bead store” I mean a store with tables filled with hundreds of types of beads for sale, a store oriented toward helping people make their own simple jewelry. Tell a staffer what you want to do and let them lead you through the process. You’ll pay more for the beads, but if you bring your sippy cup, you’ll walk out of the store with a finished product.

Another option is to visit a craft store such as Michaels or JoAnn’s for your components. We found a nice inexpensive assortment of letter cubes at JoAnn’s.

Safety disclaimer: My almost-3-year-old daughter responsibly handles her sippy cup and does not stick objects in her mouth. If a bead chain were to break it would unleash a visually enticing deathtrap if your kid tried to swallow the beads. So, use good judgment in deciding whether this project is a good fit for your child.

Now, if you use straight lined plastic sippy cups, a loop of beads probably won’t stay in place. Have you come up with another method for distinguishing your toddler’s cup?


18 Responses to “HOW TO: Make a Sippy Cup Name Tag”

  1. Sandy says:

    For my twins to be able to tell their Klean Kanteens apart, we just stuck a different sticker on each one. If you use the shiny metallic ones, they even stay on through a bunch of washings!

    May 29th, 2007 at 8:02 am

  2. Miriam says:

    I haven’t actually purchased these yet, but I think they are a good idea, and I will probably buy some for my son starting preschool in the fall…
    Hope that helps!

    May 29th, 2007 at 8:49 am

  3. Cathy says:

    I label everything with masking tape, which removes easily for washing.

    May 29th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

  4. STL Mom says:

    I labeled my daughter’s plastic lunchbox with my P-Touch labelmaker back in August. It’s been washed almost every weeknight since, often in the dishwasher, and the label is still stuck on firmly. Her name is slightly faded, but still legible.
    I’ve since used it to label aluminum water bottles, and those labels look like new after several months of hand-washing.
    I also use the labelmaker to label toys before show-and-tell, and I labeled my new digital camera with my cell phone number in case I lose it. Once you get a labelmaker, you’ll find reasons to label everything!

    May 29th, 2007 at 4:53 pm

  5. lisa says:

    Cute idea, but I’m much in the sticker or duct tape camp myself.

    May 29th, 2007 at 9:11 pm

  6. Kate says:

    Sharpie. Refresh when necessary.

    May 30th, 2007 at 4:32 am

  7. Linda says:

    Perhaps not ideal aesthetically, but it would be very simple to tie a piece of colored yarn around the cup with no beads, so you didn’t need to worry about loose beads if the string breaks.

    May 30th, 2007 at 8:05 pm

  8. kelly says:

    we went through the Sharpie phase but they wash off so quickly that I dreaded marking her stuff each morning before packing up her lunch bag. We read a hack about colored electrical tape and that has worked great. It doesn’t peel or fade and so far we’re the only ones at school with the idea so everyone knows that something with a spot of blue tape on it is hers.

    I like the bead idea and once the teething is done, we might try it too!

    June 1st, 2007 at 9:17 am

  9. Carla says:

    We use the bumpy name orbit labels too. ( They work on a variety of cups, waterbottles etc. and they stay on through the dishwashing cycle.

    June 1st, 2007 at 6:45 pm

  10. Tiffany Holley says:

    I’m home with DD, so I haven’t really stressed over this yet, even though she’s 2. Church nursery folks ususally tag everything with masking tape or the P-Touch, depending who’s there. I love the bumpy names bands – I think we’ll have to do that!

    Follow our full-time RV adventrues at

    June 2nd, 2007 at 5:15 am

  11. alecia says:

    We use Mabel’s Labels for bottle, sippy cup, backpack, special toy, etc. labeling. They are very durable. We have had to replace some labels on the sippy cups/bottles, but only after about a year of going through the dishwasher.

    June 4th, 2007 at 9:07 am

  12. Anna says:

    We use colorful vinyl labels from Identity Direct, and they are CHEAP! Love them, they stay on everything, even in the dishwasher.

    June 5th, 2007 at 8:58 am

  13. Jan says:

    Those look more like baby bottles. Is that what kids are drinking out of now?

    June 6th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

  14. Julia says:

    I also label our klean kanteens with p-touch labels. They’ve stayed on for a few months now. So far so good.

    If you live in Canada and don’t want the hassle of shopping through Amazon or other US online stores you can get Klean Kanteens at PlasticFree

    February 6th, 2008 at 5:14 am

  15. Sheri says:

    I went to the dollar store and got some of those rubber/silicone bracelets ( like the Lance Armstrong Livestrong ones) and wrote my daughter’s name on it and stretch it onto sippycups. Works great. Cheap alternative to bumpybands They also come with words like Love and Believe on them or just plain.

    May 26th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

  16. becks says:

    Beer Cozies. Makes them easy to identify, nice to hold when cold, and softer when thrown at back of mamas head while driving.

    July 27th, 2008 at 11:47 am

  17. Julia says:

    I was so excited to read this post. Ive been going through your blogs from beginning to most recent. I just go to this one & I saw beads! I manage a bead shop in Oak Park, IL called Bead in Hand ( and would love to see customers coming in to make this kind of thing. Thanks for pointing out picking out your string first….its hard when someone has their heart set on a bead w/ a very small hole that just wont fit on the cord.

    December 20th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

  18. Elizabeth W. says:

    We have some of the bumpy name bands and I love them and need to get some more with my older boys’ names on them for their sports bottles. The thing I love about the bumpy is that it is stretchy but very tight, so once you wrestle it on to a bottle it stays on, even bottles that are straight and the whole string thing wouldn’t work for. But the beads are very cute – I would totally use that if I had those kind of sippies. One more idea when you are making the bead chain to make it a tad safer – if you knot the string in between each bead then if it breaks only one bead comes off instead of a whole string full.

    December 20th, 2009 at 7:50 pm