It’s free, jaunty, quick and eco-kosher:
the Queen Esther or King Ahashveros Coffee Cup (sleeve) Crown. The alliteration is even more delicious in Hebrew: Keter Kos Kafe.
My husband does the daily coffee-house thing. He triangulates amongst locally-owned joints. One of the byproducts of this habit is the accumulation of cups and sleeves. The cups are repurposed as seed-starter pots, but the sleeves multiply unused in the shed, awaiting an aha moment. I had the aha moment last week, and it is this: the Keter Kos Kafe. I like typing it and I like saying it.
The pedagogical beauty of a coffee sleeve crown extends beyond the worthy ideas of Trash Art and upcycling. The crowning asset is the fact that this crown, unlike posterboard and construction paper versions, will be tolerated by grades older than Kindergarten. The attraction lies in the appeal of miniatures and in the appeal of coffeehouse culture, even to children. Suddenly, I have a lesson plan and free supplies for several grades at the same time. We shall see which ones actually embrace the activity, and if in earnest or tongue-in-cheek.
My husband and I keep getting flashbacks of Jughead. I think this means that a coffee-sleeve hat is appropriate for people old enough to know who Jughead is. My guess is that it could work for toddlers, an uneven mix of school-age types, Hillel goofballs, and hipsters, too. The boys in my third grade art class would not be game, but the girls would. It just depends.
When I program coffee sleeve Purim crowns with a group, I’ll offer acrylic paint. Acrylic dries fast and will only take one coat. It does, however, stain clothes forever, so I will proceed with caution (as usual).
I might leave my own crown unpainted and go for the “Environmentally Friendly” prize at shul, but to be truly carbon footprintless, I’d have to secure it to my head with elastic removed from an old pair of undies, and I’m not willing to go that far. I also have no idea what the rest of my costume will be. I don’t have enough sleeves to make actual sleeves.
Get scissors, hole punch, elastic. Extras: paint, glitter glue, flat-backed gems, etc.
First, note that the wider opening will be the top of the crown. If the wider opening is on the bottom, you’ve got a fez.
EZ VERSION: don’t even cut it. The sleeve is already a crown shape if you keep it right side up. Without points, though, you’ll need to paint or cover it with crown-ish paper.
CUT THE POINTS: If you must have a guide, pencil a line straight across the sleeve about one inch down from the top. Do this only on one side of the flattened sleeve. This line will be the depth of the points. Pencil in some mountains which rise from the line up to the top of the sleeve. Keep the sleeve closed and cut the points through both layers at the same time. Kids can do this, but little hands might not have the strength and skill to get through very thick cardboard.
TO PAINT: Acrylic, as I mentioned (one coat, fast), and poster paints are my top choices. If you don’t glop it on, your sleeve will be dry enough to embellish within 10 minutes.
To keep fingers clean and cardboard tidy, slip the sleeve over an empty 16oz. water or soda bottle while you paint. You can hold the bottle with your free hand. Or, if the bottle is full and heavy, it can stand on the table while little kids manipulate the brush.
ELASTIC: Punch a hole on each side of the sleeve, low on the crease where the sleeve sat folded from the manufacturers. Cut a length of elastic and tie a knot at one hole, bring the other end around and tie a knot there, too. Or, just staple it in place.
I used 12″ of the thin black elastic thread, but the lengths will vary according to how stretchy the elastic and how big your head. Remember to put the elastic behind your neck, not under your chin. Much more comfy there, and far more attractive for everyone concerned. Wear the crown at a jaunty angle.
CARNIVAL STATION alert: A stack of sleeves and box of supplies would make a darling Purim Carnival Station. Make sure the sleeves are repurposed, saved from trash. It defeats the re-purpose if they are purchased new. Add adhesive gems and provide metallic Sharpies if your conscience allows. A hot-glue gun will stick any gem, even pony beads, to the tip of each point.