How to Make a Cup Holder for a Wheelchair (DIY)

how to make a cup holder for a wheelchair

As a wheelchair user, staying hydrated cannot be overemphasized because it helps with the easy movements of the rest of your body that aren’t restricted.

A cup holder is, therefore, a useful accessory that helps you carry your cup or bottle wherever you go and prevents you from getting dehydrated.

Dehydration contributes to the root cause of many health problems in the human body. Staying hydrated is important as it helps in regulating your body temperature, absorbing important nutrients, protecting your organs, and moving your joints smoothly.

Some signs of dehydration include thirst, nausea, fatigue, lethargy, headache, cracked lips, dry or sticky mucus around and in the mouth, reduced urination, and urinary and kidney problems.

Extreme dehydration can lead to death.

It can be particularly hard, especially if you are in a wheelchair and due to your restrictions, to hydrate your body constantly. This is why you need a cup holder attached to your wheelchair to help with easy access to your water, drinks, or beverages.

Let’s focus on tracking your fluid intakes with handy cups and water bottles because most people consider a wheelchair cup holder as an accessory that is fairly important to the wheelchair.

Since a cup holder is an add-on designed for holding varieties of cups and other drinking containers, your water bottle will surely fit into it. Below, you will learn the types and how to assemble a cup holder for your wheelchair so that it can remind you to stay hydrated at all times.

Table of Contents

Types of Wheelchair Cup Holders

Wheelchair cup holders can come in a variety of styles and mounting systems including DIY, as you will see later. It all depends on your taste and budget. Below are the types available.

Unbreakable Cup holders

They are made of strong fabrics and can adjust to fit a range of different cup sizes.

Universal Cup holders

These come in standard sizes for mugs, cups, and water bottles, which are usually mounted on the wheelchair frame with a clasp.

Foldable Cup holders

They can be closed when you need to take your wheelchair through an entrance. This way, you don’t have to keep screwing, unscrewing, and turning your cup holder forward.

Related: How to Oil Your Wheelchair Effectively

How to Make Your Unique Cup Holder for Your Wheelchair

diy cup holder
Image credit: walmart.com

You can make your cup holder by using cardboard/paper or fabrics. You need the following materials, depending on the type you decide on.

  • Cardboard/Paper
  • Fabric
  • Preferred cup for measurement
  • Swivel arm
  • Velcro strap          
  • Scissors    
  • Shapes/figures for design (not necessary)
  • Durable cartons
  • Glue (Bond Adhesive)
  • Paint/Marker
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

How to Make a Wheelchair Cup Holder with Cardboard/Paper

Simply cut a cardboard and carton circle using the cup. Colour the cardboard circle with your favorite colors using the paint/markers.

Place the cup and fold the cardboard and carton around it so it can take the shape of the cup.

Glue them all together, making sure to cover all sides, and leave to dry. After it gets dried, take the swivel arm and glue it to your dried cup holder. Leave to dry then attach the cup holder to your wheelchair.

Related: Here’s How Much to Tip Wheelchair Assistance at the Airport

How to Make a Wheelchair Cup Holder with Fabrics

Measure the cup and cut your desired fabrics with the measurements, leaving room for allowances.

Attach the Velcro to the fabrics by sewing. Make sure to target the allotted opening for the cup holder because that is where the Velcro should be sewn.

Join the fabrics together with a sewing machine, or use a needle and thread if you don’t have one.

To attach to your wheelchair, remove the Velcro strap, wrap it tightly around the wheelchair armrest or frame, and then strap it back.

How to Make a Wheelchair Cup Holder with Mesh Pencil Holder, Nuts, Bolts, and Washers

You need the following.

  • Any color of mesh pencil holder (which will now become your new wheelchair cup holder)
  • 6 by 1 inch mending plate with four holes
  • 3/16 and ½ inch stove bolt
  • 2 ½ by 2 ½ by 5/8 corner brace with holes
  • Washers, wing nuts, and metric bolts (the type you get depends on your wheelchair type)
  • 10mm open-end wrench, hack saw, filer, and flat mouth screwdriver

Start by filing out the edges of the mending plate so that it is no longer sharp. Fasten the 6-inch mending plate underneath the wheelchair armrest using the metric bolts. Make sure to leave one hole sticking out of the armrest as this is where you will attach the cup holder.

Continue by using the hack saw to shorten one arm of the corner brace by one inch so that there is only one hole left. File it down and make two large enough holes in the mesh pencil holder so that the bolts will be able to pass through them.

Attach the shortened corner brace to the back of the pencil holder with the 3/16 stove bolts. Then fasten the pencil holder to the last hole you left out on the mending plate using another 3/16 stove bolt with the washers and wing nuts.

To preserve and clean your newly made DIY cup holder, you can always detach it from the wheelchair and attach it back. 

Related: How to Protect Walls from Wheelchair Damage

Attaching a Ready-Made Cup Holder to Your Wheelchair

how to make a cup holder for a wheelchair

The process of attaching a cup holder to your wheelchair is pretty much the same regardless of wheelchair type.

A cup holder is usually attached to the armrest of a power wheelchair while it is usually fixed on the frames (just where the knee of the individual is positioned) of a standard or manual wheelchair – because of the armrest differences.

For an electric wheelchair, remove the screw on the free armrest (that does not contain the joystick) and attach the handle of the cup holder to the screw hole. Fix the screw back tightly through the handle hole. When attached, the cup holder usually faces sideways.

If you’re passing through a door, slightly loosen the screw and turn the cup holder forward. Tighten the screw back so that it doesn’t get lost. It is best to leave the cup holder this way so that you don’t have to keep screwing and unscrewing when you need to pass through entrances.

3 Reasons Why a Cup Holder is Necessary

Helps Wheelchair Users Stay Hydrated

Elderly people are prone to lose their sense of thirst as they grow older. So, they may not remember to drink water frequently. It is, therefore, important for seniors to stay hydrated all the time as it prevents them from mental confusion.

Caregivers should be aware of dehydration concerns and take preventive measures when caring for a wheelchair-restricted individual. They can recommend getting a cup holder for the individual.

Prevents Other Medical Conditions Caused By Dehydration

Other unusual signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, UTI, muscle weakness and cramps, dizziness, forgetfulness and confusion, deep rapid breathing/increased heart rate or low blood pressure, psychosis or delirium, heat stroke, seizures, and low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock).

Encourages Hydration Whether or Not the Wheelchair is in Use

Additional ways to encourage and keep yourself hydrated are by mixing your water with fruit juices (be careful with the sugar intake, though), taking flavored water, and setting a reminder on your phone to give you the push to drink water.

There are also mobile apps that can help with reminders and tracking of daily water intake.

How to Make a Cup Holder for a Wheelchair (DIY)

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