Make Your Own Paper Drinking Straws

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

I have never been this excited about a project! EVER!  You should have seen me running around the kitchen screaming to myself like some modern-day drinking-straw-Einstein.  On second thought, it’s good you didn’t experience this Paper Straw Eureka!

Although paper drinking straws are now much cheaper than they were, I find the idea of making them (and the freedom to choose my own color and design) exhilarating.  I searched and searched and couldn’t find a tutorial anywhere.  And of course I then had to make one.

In this day and age there are so many convictions/beliefs to cater for.  This has made the whole endeavor a lot more tricky.

Will the final product be fit for vegetarians and vegans?

Will it be ecologically satisfying to the greenies?

Will it be non-toxic?

Will it even work?

I have used both corn starch paste and gelatin glue with great success.  I prefer the gelatin glue, though, because it is thinner than the corn starch paste and thus makes for less irregularity in the completed straws.  But the corn starch works.  So vegan/vegetarian option CHECK.

I used (and will advise you to use) paraffin wax to seal the straws with.  But being well aware of the paraffin-wax-is-a-toxin-from-the-devil debate, I have ordered some soy wax to test.  I will update the post once I know if it works as well as the paraffin wax.  I’m sure it will.  So ec0-geeko SEMI-CHECK.

Update 15/11/12:  I have now tested the soy wax and it didn’t work nearly as well as the paraffin wax.  To read more about it, see my post about using soy wax for sealing paper drinking straws.

Just as an aside, the paper straws you buy – unless stated otherwise – have been coated in paraffin.  If you have any concerns, read my little paraffin wax blurb at the end of this post.  For more information about soy wax and paraffin wax, see the post I did about Soy Wax versus Paraffin Wax.

As for the printer ink/paper being possibly deadly – bah!  They are coated in paraffin wax and will not be absorbed/ingested in any way.  Unless you decide to eat the straws, in which case you’re on your own.

Are you ready?

How To Make Your Own Paper Drinking Straws

You will need:

  • Templates – you can find all my available Paper Straw Templates here.
  • Scissors/Rotary Cutter
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Gelatin Glue or Corn Starch Paste (you could use a non-toxic glue stick, but I don’t advise it)
  • A Large Pot
  • A Mason Jar or some similar wide-necked vessel that is at least 2/3 as high as the straws
  • Paint Brush for applying the glue
  • Straw to roll straws around (you could use a dowel, but I tried it and it was really difficult to get the completed straw off the dowel)
  • Paper Towels
  • A Chopstick – yes, really.  Make sure the tapered end of the chopstick fits into the straw.


Print out the template.  You will be tempted to print it out on card stock.  DON’T.  Use plain old printer paper.

DIY Paper Straws

Make sure you print it out to the actual size.  To do this, click on Page Setup when printing.  Then select A4(borderless) as your size.  Click OK and Print.

DIY Paper Straws

If you have a large kitchen and can sit at the kitchen table and cut out your straws while the paraffin wax heats, I would strongly suggest getting the wax started first.  But paraffin wax is highly flammable and should be melted over a low heat with constant supervision.  And it takes forever to melt!!  So if you need to do the cutting and rolling in another room, do that first and then come back to this step.

Melting the wax

Place the wax inside your mason jar (I used a diddy Sharwood’s pot as I didn’t have a mason jar available).  Put the mason jar inside a pot and fill with boiling water.  Turn the heat up so that the water is just boiling.

DIY Paper Straws

As the wax melts, the level will go down, so you will need to add more.  I suggest adding enough wax that 2/3 of the straw will be immersed when dipped.

DIY Paper Straws

While this is going on, cut out your straws, making sure to cut inside the lines.  The paraffin wax will make the paper slightly transparent, so any lines will show.

DIY Paper Straws

This was one of my first test-straws.  Obviously the black outline was a bad idea.  So was not cutting inside the lines.

DIY Paper Straws

You will notice that the templates are slightly wider at the top than at the bottom.  Very long story short: due to the imperceptible thickness of the paper and the glue, the spirals become closer to each other as you near the bottom (see the photo).  By tapering the template, you are making the spirals more regular.  (The same will happen if you spread your glue too thickly or if your rolling angle is too big – more below.)

DIY Paper Straws

You will also notice a very feint line (about 5 mm long) more or less 1 cm from the top right corner of the templates.  This is your rolling guide.  On your first turn, you should try to match the edge of the paper up to this line.  If in doubt, rather roll to the bottom of it than to the top.
DIY Paper Straws
Also, as a rule of thumb, if your design is to the left, your template is the right way up.

 Glue and Roll

Now turn your template around (keeping the top at the top) and apply your glue to the right edge.  Exactly as on the photo.  If you are in any doubt, double-check that you are, in fact, placing the glue behind the design and not behind the blank side.  As you get more comfortable with the whole procedure, you can start spreading the glue all the way down and then rolling.  But to begin with, just do a 5 cm strip of glue and get the first turn stuck down before applying more glue.

DIY Paper Straws

As I was using the gelatin glue outside and in the rain (in order to optimize lighting for photos), I used a little make-shift bain marie to keep it nice and runny.  It is worth noting one brilliant advantage of the gelatin glue:  if the whole straw goes completely pear-shaped, just unroll it quickly (but gently) and rub the gelatin glue off.  It comes off in little jelly balls :)

DIY Paper Straws

So…with your glue applied, place your straw on the top left corner and start rolling your paper around it.  You want to put the straw at a 15-20 degree angle to the paper.  Rather less than more!  If your angle is too big, your spirals will become closer to each other towards the bottom (the same as when your glue is too thick, you apply uneven pressure, or you don’t taper your template) and your straw will be super short.

Make your own paper drinking straws
This is the right way (above).  See how even those spirals are?

Make your own paper drinking straws

This is the wrong way (above).  And look at the difference between the two.

Starting from the left corner, roll the paper around the straw, making sure that you are on, or below, the rolling guide mentioned above.

Continue rolling the paper around the straw until you get to the end.  I find it easiest to twist the straw with my left hand while guiding and pressing the paper with my right.

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

When you get to the end, apply a touch more glue.

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

Apply gentle pressure for a second or two and rub off any excess glue at the same time.  Remember to remove the plastic straw when you have finished rolling your paper drinking straw.

DIY Paper Straws


DIY Paper Drinking Straws

If your straws appear flimsy, don’t be concerned.  The wax will harden them.

Trimming the ends

When you are all done rolling, cut off the pointy tips.  You can cut them individually, but I like cutting them a few at a time.  I use an already-cut straw as a guide so that all of them are even.

DIY Paper Straws

The ends will look a bit sad now.  Just poke and prod them to get them nice and round again.

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

Dipping the darlings

Once your paraffin wax is all melted it is time to dip the straws.

Turn the stove off.  It’s way easier to do this without steam everywhere.  Make sure you have your kitchen towel/paper and your chopstick to hand.

Take one straw.  It doesn’t work with a bunch, I tried it.  Dip it into the melted wax.  Make sure you dip more than half the length.  Lift it out of the wax and shake off any excess wax.

DIY Paper Straws

Now give the straw a gentle wipe with the paper towel.  You don’t want to remove the wax, just smooth it out a bit.  If you remove too much wax, your designs will fade in the water and your straw won’t be as strong as you’d like.  

I find it easiest to keep a piece of kitchen towel in my left hand and roll the straw on it with my right hand.  For a neater finish, roll along the lines, not against them.

DIY Paper Straws

Now quickly take your chopstick and poke it into the end of the straw.  You are using a chopstick because the points are usually tapered, making it the ideal tool to insert into the straw.  When it starts meeting resistance, roll it two or three times and then remove.  This makes the end nice and neat and removes the thin layer of wax that accumulates at the mouth of the straw.

DIY Paper Straws

If you take a close look at the photo below you can see the difference between the waxed and unwaxed ends.

DIY Paper Straws

Now repeat with the other side of the straw, making sure to dip it into the wax past the previous dipping point.

And there you go!

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

DIY Paper Drinking StrawsI tested one of these paper drinking straws in a glass of water for 8 hours and it was still fine.  Anyone who still has a straw in their drink after 8 hours was obviously not very thirsty to begin with, and shouldn’t complain if the straw disintegrates after that length of time.

I hope you don’t find this project too daunting, because it really isn’t.  You can make, from scratch, 20 straws in an hour.  The main time constraint is the melting of the wax…soooo slooooow.

And if you mess up one or two (or five) straws, take heart.  After making about 60 of them I still occasionally got the angle wrong or applied too much glue.  It’s not the end of the world :)

Printable Paper Drinking Straw Templates

 You can find all available templates here.  I will be adding more templates as I generate them.
The Paper Straw Templates are in PDF format, with 6 straws per page.
If you want me to generate one of the designs in a different colour, or you have an altogether different design in mind, drop me a line and I will see what I can do.
When you print your templates, please remember to follow the printing instructions at the start of this post.

DIY Paper Drinking Straws

Much Ado About Paraffin Wax

I am well aware of the controversy surrounding the use of paraffin wax and the belief that it is harmful.

It isn’t, in fact, toxic.  It is also non-digestible, so it comes out pretty much like it went in.  It is used in crayons, candles, wax paper and -cloth, candies/chocolates, chewing gum and as a coating for cheese and a sealant for preserves.  These are but a few of its uses.

For this project you won’t be burning it, so no soot and harmful toxins from that.

And you won’t be eating it…

…at least, I hope not.

I hope you feel inspired to make your own paper drinking straws and would love for you to share your results with me.

Remember to subscribe to my newsletter if you would like to be kept in the loop. You can also like my Facebook page or follow me on Bloglovin or Google+.
Happy Baking!


DIY Paper Drinking Straws


  1. says

    Thank you so much! I was quite worried, because I sell it in my country (made by me) cause here are not very common…

  2. says

    I am coming out with a product line that stores natural food in jumbo paper straws. The manufacture of paper straws I was looking at said moisture from the air could seep into the straw and potentially harm the product. Thinking back on how long pixy sticks have been around, I really doubt if he is right. However, just to be safe, would coating the paper straws in paraffin wax prevent that from happening? I will be mass producing these so making them individually would not be an option. However, I love your ideas and appreciate the information. Why do you cover the straw in the wax? I am assuming it is to keep the straw from dissolving while in a liquid. Do you think covering my straws with the wax could help prevent the food inside from having moisture seep in? Thanks, Janece

    • Dedri Uys says

      Janece, hi.

      That is exactly why coat them and if you buy paper straws they will already be coated in parafin wax, otherwise they would dissolve too, and they don’t. If you would like to give them an extra dip, I am sure that it will help to keep out moisture.

  3. says

    Hi Dedri, i’m from Indonesia in Asia. You know what, it’s difficult to find this thing here. thank you for sharing ya. one question, did you print the template using ordinary paper and ink? Do we have to print it on special paper (with special ink)? Thanks.

    • Dedri Uys says

      Just ordinary ink and paper will do. The ink will be sealed by the paraffin wax, so you don’t have to worry about the ink “bleeding”

  4. Patricia says

    Thank you! You are a genius! Used your template to cover some bright plastic straws in a pattern to coordinate with the paper pinwheels I made. Midnight crafting calls for creative solutions :0)

  5. Lynnsey says

    Thanks for a great tutorial! I really thought I’d be the only person crazy enough to want to do this so it was a nice surprise, and even better to find out that you’re a fellow South African :-)

    • Dedri Uys says

      Hi Lynnsey. Yup. Great minds and fools, my mom always says. These straws aren’t tricky, so you should be able to make them quite quickly once you get the hang of it. I love my handmade straws and use them only on special occasions (or when I’m having a drink and need to be cheered up).

  6. Katie says

    I am so excited to make these but looking for striped, and chevron designs! Do you by chance have a template- or how do I go about making the templates?

    • Dedri Uys says

      Hi Katie, chevrons are impossible because of the way these straws are rolled, but I have plenty of striped templates. I have emailed you the templates for hot pink, orange, black and yellow. I hope they are what you were after x

  7. Wybie says

    Omg…Dedri…you’re so amazingly detailed & completely brilliant! I don’t think I have the patience or the skills to make my own straws, but I loooovvee the fact that you did & you made them so spectacular!! Cheers!!

  8. Mandi says

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial; I can’t wait to try it! I would love to make some hot pink stripe, bright blue stripe, and little playing card suits for my daughter’s Alice in Wonderland party next month. Do you mind sending me those templates or even telling me how to make the templates for future use would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again! You are awesome!

  9. tilly says

    its a good idea but its quite hard to get your hands on everything so you could just buy them for about a £1.

  10. Melissa says

    This is awesome! My daughter is having a pink & white themed party & I can’t find pink & white stripped straws anywhere. Do you have a template for that. The party is tomorrow night so hopefully we can get them made tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

    • Melissa says

      The links to the gelatin glue aren’t working. Do you use the recipe that also use glycerin & vinegar?

      Thanks for you help:)

      • Melissa says

        Nevermind about the link! I think my internet was just being glitchy for a moment:) I’m really excited about making these!!!

  11. Megan says

    Hanks for posting this! I appreciate you testing it out and being willing to share ur findings? Wish me luck! I’m trying these out for a shower:)

  12. Mary says

    Oh My! These are the most darling things ever. Those store-bought ones are SOOO expensive! And then add on a ridiculous amount for shipping & handling. I’m hosting a gender reveal party for a friend. Do you think you could pretty, pretty please make a pink striped and a blue striped template? Thank you SOOO much. :)

    • Mary says

      …Or, if you want to share the best way for me to make my own template, that would be wonderful, too! (Or you could get extra Karma points and do both, lol).

      • Dedri Uys says

        Haha, I’m a little bit busy at the moment, so won’t be able to do a post about making your own templates for a little while, but am happy to send you some templates. Baby blue and light pink thick stripes?

  13. Jennifer says

    This is so cool! Thank you for posting this! We are doing a lemonade theme for our youngest Daughter’s birthday. Could you make some pink or yellow lemon print straw templates…? Or just a hot pink stripe?

    • Dedri Uys says

      hi Jennifer. Did you get my email? Were you wanting actual little lemon slices on the template? I’ve done a hot pink stripe, so can send you that x

  14. Eloise says

    Hi! If I don’t have Paraffin Wax, because I can’t find it in the hardware or anywhere here in our city. Can i just melt candles? EHE:( and can you send me templates too?:) Thank you for this!!! You’re amazing!

    • Dedri Uys says

      Eloise, I have answered by email. Thank you very much for the comment. Most candles are made from paraffin wax. It’s up to you, really. Not sure how beeswax would fare, though, so I’d check what’s in the actual candle. I do suggest using food grade paraffin wax, though. It can be easily purchased from eBay.

  15. Angela says

    How can I make my own templates? I would love to follow your tutorial and make some black and white paper straws!!!!

    • Dedri Uys says

      I can’t wait to see how your straws turn out, Angela. Best of luck and let me know if you have any further questions!

  16. Jessica says

    Hi, thank you for posting this, i love it! :) can you please send me some hot pink, baby blue, dark blue thick strips templates plz, thank you so much

  17. Ivy Lee says

    Hello, I love this guide on how to make paper straw! Since valentines coming, do you have templates that suits valentines but are slightly more colorful? It’ll be nice to make it for valentines day xD

  18. Luci says

    This is a Brilliant idea!!! If i would like to make a big amount lets say 1000 how would this change your production line? Will there be a quicker way, or does the same time and process take place?

    • Dedri Uys says

      I have replied in email, Luci. You’d need quite a few of your buddies to help you if you want to make a thousand. System is still the same. I tried to make it go quicker – believe me – but no dice. Good luck!!

  19. ruth says

    I would like to make houndstooth print drinking straws but can only find houndstooth print tissue paper and gift wrap. Do you think the gift wrap paper would work?

  20. says

    Wow you are so brilliant, been dying to figure out how to make my own paper straws.

    Just a quick question have you tested them and do they work?
    I’m also keen to find out about the soy wax instead of paraffin wax.

    • Dedri Uys says

      Thank you, Laurene.

      I have now tested the soy wax and am sorry to say that it didn’t work nearly as well as the paraffin wax. I would go as far as to say don’t even try it. I will do a post about it soon. Hope your straws come out grand. Can’t wait to see them.

  21. Minette says

    Jislaaik, jy’t my net so opgewonde.

    Ek probeer ook nou ‘n inspirasie-eiertjie lê (met ‘n heel oorspronklike idee voor-‘n-dag kom, ingeval jy wonder), maar dis net stof-eiertjies.

    Oulik, Dedri!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *