Ways to Upcycle – 21 “New” Ways to Use Coffee Mugs

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How many coffee mugs do you have in your kitchen? If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance you have quite a few that are never used. I swear there is a coffee mug fairy out there somewhere delivering coffee mugs that won’t be used to kitchen cabinets everywhere. Even if you drink coffee on a regular basis, you will almost always seem to have more than you need since most coffee drinkers favor one or two special coffee mugs. One of the biggest ways to save money that I absolutely love doing is to find a new use for something. I’ve become a bit of a queen at finding a new use for something because in doing so, I don’t have to buy a new one and keep more money in my pocket. Recently, it was finding new ways to use coffee mugs that didn’t involve a hot beverage.

Ways to Upcycle Coffee Mugs - Have a cabinet full of mugs you won't use? These 21 "New" Ways to Use Coffee Mugs can help! Find a craft, get organized and more!


When I tell you that I love reusing items, I’m not kidding. I consider myself thrifty and a thrifty person will almost always reuse what they can to save money. I’ve found 52 things to reuse to save money, ways to use coffee filters, new ways to use towels, new uses for old sheets, new ways to use milk jugs, new uses for old bottles and more. I’ve even discovered new ways to use cat litterclean litter only of course – because I really do hate buying anything new. Costs are so high these days that it just makes sense to get as much use out of one item before you have to move on and replace it.

Ways to Upcycle – 21 “New” Ways to Use Coffee Mugs

When you check out this list of ways to use coffee mugs, be sure that you pay attention. Some of them will only be good for plastic mugs while others you’ll want glass for. There are a handful of new ways to use coffee mugs that involve kids and for those, you wouldn’t want to use a glass mug. Other than that, these ways to upcycle coffee mugs are far from the only ones you can do. I’m positive there are a boatload more that I haven’t thought of yet!

Use a coffee mug as a planter –

Coffee mugs make fantastic seed starting pots and planters for small plants such as succulents. Simple add your favorite organic potting soil recipe, plant your seed and go. Once you’re started your seedswatch them carefully and transport into your favorite terra cotta pot or your outdoor garden as soon as they’re ready. Just be careful not to overwater them since your mug won’t have any drain holes.

Sponge and Dishwashing Wand Holder – 

No one likes to see their dish sponge or their dishwashing wand lying on the back of the sink, but a coffee mug can help keep them out of the way. Pick a cute mug that you don’t need any longer and use it to keep those sponges out of the way. This works well for a baby bottle brush as well. Just be sure to keep your coffee mug dry so that you don’t have mold or mildew growth.

Make a coffee mug candle – 

Homemade candles are super easy to make and a coffee mug makes a fantastic candle holder. Simply make your candle as you normally would and pour into the mug instead of a jar or candleholder. Allow your candle to set up and you’ve got a super cute and easy to carry homemade candle! I especially love making homemade citronella candles this way so that they’re easy to carry inside or outside as needed.

Give an upcycled gift – 

If you have coffee mugs that are in pristine condition or have never been used, why not give them as an upcycled gift? Paint them, use sharpies and bake or decorate however and pass them onto a special friend or loved one. Not only do you get to declutter a bit, but you also get to give an amazing gift to a friend.

Use coffee mugs as a piggy bank – 

My parents almost always had a coffee mug (or three!) with spare change in them. Why? Because a coffee mug is easy to set by the door, near the washer or wherever to toss those spare coins into. Now as an adult, I find myself doing the exact same thing. It seems silly, but once you try it, you might be surprised at how many coins can fit into a regular sized coffee mug. You could even make this into a learning activity for littles by having them sort different coins into mugs.

Organize the garage with a coffee mug –

Along with small coins fitting well into a coffee mug, small screws, bolts and nuts do as well. If your garage needs a bit of organizing help, those unused coffee mugs can help. You could even build or buy a small shelving system to hold them all if you wanted!

Make dessert in a coffee mug – 

Mug desserts seem to be becoming more and more popular every year and there’s a reason. They’re super easy and quick to make! Instead of making your hot cocoa or coffee in a mug, use it for dessert, for soup, for cereal and more!

Make glass mosaic art from old coffee mugs –

If you are really dead set on getting rid of your unused coffee mugs, why not turn them into art? Grab your favorite size art canvas or something to use as a base and some heavy duty Gorilla Glue. Take your mugs outside or into the garage and have a smash party! Once you’re done smashing, carefully pick up the pieces and make a glass art mosaic! These can be made into wall art, as upcycled garden accents and more!

Use your old coffee mugs as a cookie or biscuit cutter –

If you’re baking cookies or biscuits and you don’t have the perfect round cookie cutter to use, grab a coffee mug (or drinking glass). The circular style is perfect for most cookie or biscuit recipes and the fact that a coffee mug has a handle makes it much easier to hold onto.

Use coffee mugs in your homeschool –

This is probably favorite on this list of ways to use coffee mugs. Homeschool supplies can be expensive so if you’re trying to homeschool on a budget, there is no better use for a coffee mug! Use them to teach sorting, to help with crafts, to hold art supplies and more. Just be sure to keep them in a place that they’re not going to get broken if you’re using glass mugs.

Hold sweetener packets and creamer pods in coffee mugs –

My kitchen is decorated in farmhouse kitchen decor so when I was looking for a great way to hold sweetener packets and creamer pods, I opted for a few coffee mugs. If you want to make them a bit more rustic to fit your decor, use your hot glue gun to add a few strips of burlap or decorate them in a way that fits your decor.

Use a coffee mug as a homemade (and frugal!) centerpiece – 

Have flowers that you want to display? Grab your favorite coffee mug! This works best with taller mugs, but any will do.

Organize your desk with coffee mugs – 

Instead of buying an expensive desk organizer, use coffee mugs! They’re the perfect size for storing pens, pencils, crayons, paper clips and more! My desk is almost always a mess, but using mugs has helped me keep it at least a bit under control.

Use coffee mugs as a pet food scoop – 

I keep my dog food in a huge rolling dog food container that holds 50 lbs of dog food and in case I haven’t told you, I’m short. My 12-year-old is taller than I am. This means that sometimes I have an issue getting that thing moved around to feed the dog because it’s so heavy and bulky. For me, the answer was to put one of those unused coffee mugs into action! I can scoop out just enough for the dog and not have to worry about spilling it or spending money on a scoop!

Organize your bathroom with coffee mugs – 

Like your desk, another one of my favorite ways to use coffee mugs is to use them to organize the bathroom. You can store toothbrushes, hair clips, ponytail holders, make up brushes and more. Plus, if you use them to store your makeup brushes, you won’t have to go far when you make your homemade makeup brush cleaner since you’ll already have a mug handy!

Use a coffee mug to make a get well gift – 

Everyone gets sick at some point and you can use your unused coffee mugs to give a get well kit! Fill it with enough bouillon, dehydrated vegetables and pasta to make a great tasting chicken noodle soup. Attach a spoon and cover the entire thing in plastic gift wrap. Write out the directions and you’re good to go!

Use coffee mugs to store tiny kids toys – 

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that tiny kids toys may very well be the bane of their existence. Toys such as Barbie shoes, LEGO pieces and more can all get lost very easily. Usually they’ll find their way to your bare foot. Using a few spare coffee mugs – plastic preferred – is a fantastic way to keep them up off the floor and your feet safe.

Store silverware in unused coffee mugs – 

What could be cuter than using old, super cute coffee mugs to hold your silverware? Not only will it look fantastic, but you’ll be able to avoid buying a silverware tray. Those things are actually kind of expensive for what they are!

Use coffee mugs to hold tea bags – 

I love a warm mug of my favorite herbal teas, but I hate the boxes that tea bags come in. I also don’t want to shell out money to buy a tea bag organizer. Coffee mugs are perfect for this! You’ll be able to get several of each kind of tea into one mug and they look fantastic sitting on the counter!

Hold spices in a coffee mug while you bake –

If you’re making a complicated recipe, you’ll want to have all of your ingredients handy. Instead of keeping big, bulky bottles or a bunch of bowls nearby, you can use a coffee mug to hold your spices. Simply add the spices that are added at the same time to one mug and add to the recipe when it’s time.

Hold paint for kids crafts –

Number 21 on our list of ways to use coffee mugs is another great one for the kids. If your kids are doing a painting craft, why not use coffee mugs to hold both their paints and the rinse water for their craft brushes! Since they’re reusable, you can simply rinse them out and dry until you need them again!


Like I said in the beginning of this post, I’m always looking for ways to upcycle something and new ways to use an item. Do you have any other ways to use coffee mugs that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. Margaret says

    Every idea is a good one! What a great way to use all those old mugs in the cupboard.

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