Is your kitchen cupboard jam-packed with loads of mish-mashed mugs you never use? The majority of us have a ‘favourite mug’, and are reluctant to sip from any other.
It’s time to put those unloved mugs and cups to good use, by upcycling, reinventing and reusing them in a whole bunch of new and exciting ways.
So give that mug cupboard a well-needed declutter, and let’s get started.
1. Upcycle your mug into a candle holders
Coffee cup candle holders are such a great idea. Not only do they look really pretty in a decorative mug, but the high sides means that no wax will end up leaking onto surfaces.
Eating Bird Food has a lovely tutorial using rustic, enamelware mugs to make new candles – these would make perfect gifts, so I definitely recommend giving them a go!
2. Mugs are the perfect size for planting herbs
Have you always wanted your own herb garden?
If that’s the case, your old mugs are the perfect starting point. They’re the perfect size, and sturdy enough to keep your plants upright.
Place some potting soil in the bottom of clean mugs, pop in your herbs and place on the windowsill in the sunlight.
3. One of the best uses for mugs is as a soup bowl
There’s nothing better on a cold day than some piping hot, nutritious soup.
Make it even more comforting by having it in a sturdy, builder’s mug on the tv on the sofa – it’s the epitome of cosy!
4. Reuse your mug to make a deliciously easy treat
You know when you really want the cake, but can’t be bothered to put the effort in to bake?
If the above sounds like you, mug cakes could be your dream come true! They’re extremely easy to make and only take a matter of minutes.
If you’re after a quick chocolate fix, This Little Street’s five-minute mug cake is sure to satisfy those cravings as quick as they came on.
5. Upcycle your mug into a cold recovery kit
This is one of my personal favourite uses for mugs, especially the big, builder’s kind!
During the Winter months, many of us catch common colds. Brighten up a sick friend’s day by taking them a ‘cold recovery kit’: that’s medicine, sweet treats and perhaps a little card placed in the mug to help them on their way back to full health.
6. Encourage generosity with a tip collector
Do you own a small cafe, restaurant or perhaps work somewhere similar? If so, why not place a mug on the counter so customers are free to tip if they see fit upon leaving?
It’s a much less pressurised way of encouraging customers to thank you for great service, and it looks pretty too!
7. Reinvent your mugs by breaking & mosaicing
Are some of your mugs looking a bit worse for wear?
You can completely reinvent chipped tea and coffee cups by turning them into mosaic shards and using them as you would mosaics.
Earth Maid shows you how to do just that, and the results are astonishing! Why not give this a try and make your unused mugs beautiful again? Just make sure to be careful with the shards.
8. Mugs make great measuring cups
Do you really need a set of measuring cups when you’ve got all those old mugs lying around?
You can fit all those different measures into one by marking your mug at certain points to identify different quantities. It’ll save space, it’s easy to store and you’ll finally put those old mugs to good use.
9. Use your mugs as a conversation starter
I love this idea. Do you often find yourself sat across your partner at breakfast, mobile phone in hand?
A printed message such as ‘how are you today’ on the front of your mug is a great way of reminding us to take the time to chat over tea, instead of just staring at our screens.
After all, nothing beats coffee and a good chinwag now, does it?
10. Mugs make perfect circle templates
Whether it’s DIY cards, crafting with the kids or something entirely different, a perfectly drawn circle is required more often that we imagine.
If you haven’t seen a compass since you left school, a mug is a great substitute. The bottom will leave you with perfectly round and proportioned circles for the task in hand, whatever that may be.
11. Make a ‘microwave platform’
Two meals to reheat and not enough space to put them? A mug could be just what you need.
Pop a microwave-proof mug on the glass plate next to your meal in the microwave, then place the other meal on top. Elevating the second dish means there’s enough room for both of them, so no one will be hungrily waiting to tuck into their dinner – how handy is that?
12. Use a mug for perfect poached eggs
Poached eggs can be super tricky to make.
Make things easier for yourself by breaking the egg into a mug first, then slowly pouring it into your simmering water over the hob.
You’ll be able to do this much more gently than breaking eggs straight in, so your poached eggs should end up in a much nicer, rounder shape.
13. Turn the music up with a mug phone amplifier
Do you like to take music wherever you go?
If you want to turn things up a little, but your phone volume’s as high as it can go, a mug can help amplify the sound.
Just place your phone inside with the speaker pointing up, and the sound will bounce off of the walls, giving it more depth and much more power.
14. Cook cookies into uniform shapes
As I said above, mugs are perfect for when you’re after a perfect circle. A great use for this is when you’re making cookies and don’t have any cutters.
Punching circles with your mug out of your dough will create uniform cookies that everyone will love.
15. Get sharper kitchen knives by using the bottom of your mug
There’s nothing worse than a blunt kitchen knife leaving all your veg unevenly cut and wonky.
The solution? Using the bottom of your mug in order to sharpen your knives back up again.
If this sounds like something you need to try, check out wikiHow’s easy, five-step tutorial and get cutting like a pro again.
16. Upcycle an old mug into a bird feeder
It’s always nice to wake up to the sound of birds in the morning.
Encourage them to keep making regular visits by using old mugs to make nifty little bird feeders.
Sadie Sesongood‘s own version hangs from a tree and would help brighten up any garden. There’s even a special little branch attached for your fluffy friends to perch on.
17. Reinvent classic cocktail presentation
Cocktails in tall glasses? Pft, so 2016! What everyone really wants to drink out of these days are mugs, especially of the copper variety.
Not only do these look absolutely gorgeous and help to keep your drink colder for longer, but there’s a handle to make swigging even easier that usual – winning!
18. Craft yourself a computer aid
There are so many little shortcuts and tricks to use on your computer that make life much easier, but it can be hard work remembering them all.
A great way to get them memorised is to write the ones you find the most difficult to recall on your coffee mug. Every time you take a sip, you’ll be reminded of the shortcut, and if you drink coffee anywhere near as much as me, that’s a lot of reminders!
19. Keep your snacking under control
I always end up going a bit overboard with my snack bowls: it starts off with a chopped apple, and before I know it I’ve added some grapes, a chocolate bar, some sweets and somehow managed to squeeze a few biscuits in there too.
Using a mug to substitute my bowl helps me to portion my snacks appropriately without creating a sweet treat tower that spoils my dinner.
20. Use a mug to keep your desk organised
Tidy desk: tidy mind.
If the above is true, the last thing you want when trying to work is a scattering of pens all over the place.
Keep everything nice and tidy by storing stationery in an old mug on the side of your desk.
21. Mugs make gorgeous gift holders
Bagged sweets; loose chocolates; makeup brushes: they’re all pretty hard to wrap up.
Using a mug as a sort of ‘gift-box’ is a unique way of dressing up these troublesome presents. Just pop some tissue paper inside, add your bits and bobs, wrap in cellophane and tie with a ribbon or string.
The results are really impressive and unusual, and help to make your gift stand out.
22. Practical pet food scoop
Dog food: not the nicest smelling thing on earth, is it?
If you don’t have anything to scoop pet food out of the bag with, try using a mug.
They rarely break, are the perfect, ‘scooping’ shape, and mean you won’t end up tipping food all over the floor.
23. Hot chocolate kits make the best presents
A hot chocolate kit always makes a great present, I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate?
They’re extremely easy – and cheap – to make, so are perfect for those times when you want to give ‘just a little something’.
Pack a small hot chocolate sachet inside along with some mini marshmallows, a mini flake bar and a plastic spoon or stirrer. All that deliciousness is sure to put a smile on the reciever’s face!
24. Mugs are the camping equivalent of wine glasses
Camping? Hmm. Camping with wine? Absolutely!
Glasses aren’t very practical when you’re set up outdoors in a tent, but mugs certainly are.
Upgrade your builder’s tea mugs to camping wine mugs and enjoy your favourite tipple whilst out in the elements.