24 New Uses For Mugs That You’ll Absolutely Love

24 New Uses For Mugs That You’ll Absolutely Love


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.

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1. Upcycle your mug into a candle holders

mug candle holders
These would make great gifts - perfect for a rustic, countryside home or cottage!

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

Chocolate mug cake
Can you believe this takes less than five minutes to make?

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

Mug mosaic
How pretty is that?

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

Using a mug to draw circles
Drawing perfect circles has never been easier!

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

Mug speaker
Time to get the party started!

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

Mug bird feeder
The birds will think it's their birthday!

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

Mug stationary holder
Working is much easier when your workspace is clear.

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

Wine in a mug
Camping + wine = heaven!

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.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Martine on January 20, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Love the mug bird feeder.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Martine. It's one of my favourite tips too! Glad you liked it. ?

  2. Author ALFRED FIGG on January 23, 2017 at 11:37 am

    How do you remove brown stains on the inside of ceramic frying pans.

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Alfred. Have you tried using a paste made from equal parts baking soda and warm water and applying to the pan? If you coat it on the sticky areas and leave overnight, it should help lift them. I hope that helps :)

  3. Author Sandy on January 23, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    I've been using an old mug as a dog kibble scoop for years. It's just the right size for portion control. Love all your tips! Keep going - each one of your posts teaches me something new and gives me ideas.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 24, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind comments Sandy! We certainly shall keep going?

  4. Author Rachel on February 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I use an old mug as a toothbrush holder , matches my bathroom!

    1. Author Stephanie C on February 13, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Great idea Rachel! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Author Seyi on February 6, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I love the DIY concept of reusing a mug with broken handles. It will help keep the environment and the earth tidy. Can I get some of those books in pdf format

    1. Author Stephanie C on February 6, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Seyi. Glad you enjoyed our article and hope you'll be trying our mug tip out. Which books are you referring to, sorry? Thanks

  6. Author Riley Ray on May 11, 2018 at 2:02 am

    Wow really creative. I have some old soup mugs that are a lot wider than normal coffee mugs. Are there any of these diys i can use for them?

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 14, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Hi Riley. I know just what you're talking about. These would make wonderful candle holders, bird feeders and also herb planters! Have fun :)

  7. Author Beth on May 3, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Have a mug I broke, glued back together and am looking for ideas since it’s no longer useful for holding liquids...open for suggestions.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 7, 2019 at 9:59 am

      Hi Beth! Any of these ideas should be great! I had a mug that broke, but I glued it back together and used it to store hair grips and ties.

  8. Author Lucy Ambrose on January 3, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    I'm an artist, and have a collection of mugs holding pens, old style dip pens, and art brushes. Easy to find exactly what you want, and the best way to store these items. As favourite mugs have chipped, they have a new life as storage. I also have dental plates, and they live in a mug overnight, not as gruesome looking as a glass of teeth!

    1. Author Joanne A on January 3, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      That's a fabulous idea!

  9. Author Sue L on January 6, 2020 at 12:33 am

    My son had 2 football design mugs when he was young. I now use them for used tea bags. I make tea on a round tray covered with a serviette holding a sugar bowl and football mug. It sits by the kettle and keeps things from getting messy.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      Lovely idea!

  10. Author Marcus Gregg on May 7, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Definitely doing the bird-feeder idea. I am drilling holes in the bottom of mine for a hanging outdoor herb tree too. You need a ceramic bit for your drill but it's worth it.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 6, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      That sounds amazing!

  11. Author Wendy on September 6, 2020 at 8:11 am

    I had the idea of using an old mug for a pen/pencil holder about 12-13 years ago and same one still going! I too love the idea of the bird feeder and as one of my clients is in a wheelchair and I feed the birds for her 5 days a week, I thought I might make a couple for her. Fantastic ideas, Thankyou so much

    1. Author Joanne A on October 20, 2022 at 11:04 am

      You're very welcome!

  12. Author Sunny on April 20, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Super smart and creative. Love it!

    1. Author Joanne A on April 21, 2021 at 10:52 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Sunny!

  13. Author ketty on September 27, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Love your ideas.you sharing your preciouse information about mugs.really like your ideas.i am fond of beautiful mugs and like to start a day with strong coffee in my favourite mug.my husband also love your ideas

    1. Author Joanne A on September 15, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks for the kind feedback, Ketty!

  14. Author Mandy P on January 17, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    I love the bird feeder and have done this with some pretty chipped cups that were missing their saucers in the past. If you have a special mug that breaks or a plain broken mug that will look fab with the metallic tones that the Japanese art of Kintsugi provides I think is the best way to give a piece of china the respectful new life as a piece of object d'art in your home. One word of advice for using mugs as planters; either drill a drainage hole or use a smaller plastic pot for your herbs and remove when watering, leave until water has drained through. Most herbs usually hate being in wet soil for prolonged periods. If the water has nowhere to go you could quickly have a rotting plant. You could add a thick layer of grit to the bottom of the mug before adding soil to help prevent drowning a plants roots, succulents would probably be fairly happy like this as long as you water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry between watering like the herbs.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 30, 2022 at 5:30 pm

      Lovely ideas!

  15. Author Yvonne Van Esch on September 27, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    I love the candle holder

    1. Author Joanne A on September 28, 2022 at 9:29 am

      We're so glad!

  16. Author Danielle on June 23, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Love this, especially the bird feeder idea; however, there is no way I am ever drinking wine out of a mug!

    1. Author Joanne A on June 26, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      We're glad you liked that idea!

  17. Author Endurance on June 26, 2023 at 7:59 am

    Mug is a nice cup indeed better than all other cups I really love it

    1. Author Joanne A on June 26, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      We're glad you think so!


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