Uses for Antique China

Antique china from broken sets, yard sales, and thrift stores can be repurposed in many fun and functional ways. Whether you use it in craft projects or under your potted plants, antique china is a lovely decorative item. This is a guide about uses for antique china.

Antique China Cups and Saucers
Filter: All Articles Sort: Relevance

An ivy plant in a china teacup with saucer.This simple project is a wonderful way to use the china teacups gathering dust on your shelves. Filled with soil and ivy they make dainty and long-lived planters.

Materials and Equipment:

  • a large plastic bag or several sheets of newspaper
  • one or more teacups, preferably with saucers
  • potting soil, enough to fill a teacup
  • a tablespoon
  • small ivy plant, I find the slow growing variety "Glacier" works well


  1. Clean and dry the teacup before starting. Clear the table and cover it with newspaper or a large garbage bag to avoid getting soil on the table.

  2. Fill the bottom third of the teacup with potting soil.

  3. Take the ivy out of its container and remove any pot-bound roots. Place the plant in the teacup.

  4. Fill the rest of the teacup with soil, covering the roots of the ivy. Press the soil down with your spoon or hand.

  5. Water lightly and place in indirect light. Fertilize every few weeks.

  6. Remember that there are no drainage holes in the teacup, so water sparingly. If you over water, just tip the cup to drain the excess water out. My teacup planters have lived happily for several years following this advice!

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

sugar bowl pin cushionI have an annoying habit of picking up orphaned sugar bowls, creamers, and little teapots that have no lids, as well as old planters too small for plants and vintage fabric scraps too small for anything, in hopes of finding creative uses for them.

Lately I've been making pin cushions. Wouldn't these make cute table decorations? You could give as door prizes for a wedding or baby shower, mother-daughter banquet, red hat tea party, or any gathering of ladies? You can pick these up for as little as 25 cents, but if you need lots or are looking for a certain color or style, start collecting them well in advance of your event! sugar bowl pin cushion

Approximate Time: 15 minutes


  • old sugar bowls, small pitchers, teacups, teapots, tiny pottery planters, etc.
  • Styrofoam ball, cut to fill the hole (or use tightly packed Fiberbill)
  • coordinating fabric scraps - vintage is best!
  • ribbon, beads, bows, tiny flowers, etc.
  • hot glue or tacky glue
  • fancy straight pins


  1. Wash and dry your sugar bowl and sand off any chipped edges with an emery board.

  2. Touch up chipped paint if desired and seal with light coating of varnish. (Dishes with missing lids are best because there is a "lip" around the hole where you can attach the Styrofoam ball. They're also really cheap!)

  3. Cut Styrofoam ball to fit (or use Fiberfill).

  4. Cover ball with fabric scrap and glue raw edges to back. Stretchy fabric works best.

  5. Add ball to sugar bowl and glue in place.

  6. Add trims as desired, strategically hiding cracks and chips with embellishments.

  7. Small tags used by scrapbookers may be tied on handles and used as place cards with the person's name.

  8. Add pins.
Vintage China Pin Cushions

By Cindy from Waynesburg, PA

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Tiered serrving tray.Put this tray on your vanity or dresser to hold your jewelry or use it on your buffet to serve desserts or treats. It would also make a nice gift.

Approximate Time: About 15 minutes


  • vintage plates (2 different sizes)
  • wine glass
  • silk or dried flowers
  • E6000 glue or porcelain glue


  1. Place flowers inside of wine glass.

  2. Put E6000 glue or other porcelain glue around bottom edge of wine glass and glue to center of large place.

  3. Run another bead of glue around rim of glass and place smaller plate on top.

  4. Allow to dry before using.

By Rachel's Mom from Wilkesboro, NC

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I used lots of old china and tea pots etc. Last year several of my tea pots and cups broke even though they were in a storage bin outside. I live in Michigan. Anyone else have this happen? How do I know what can stay out over the winter? I hate to make and sell stuff if it's gonna fall apart.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    There could be many reasons for your broken china and cold temperatures may be one reason. As you state you use old china pieces that usually do not come with their original safety and handling requirements, you probably do not know what kind of care each piece may require.

    There are no quality guarantees you can assume in purchasing, collecting, etc., of old china so, accordingly, you are not able to provide a guarantee of no defects, etc., if you sell old china.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I found some really pretty glass plates at a resale shop that I just had to have. A number of my houseplants were in need of saucers. I find the plastic ones or even the clay ones to be kind of ugly. The plates I bought make perfect saucers and they aren't porous so I don't have to worry about them sitting on my wooden bookcases. :)

    plant saucer 1 plant saucer 2 plant saucer 3

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      "Vintage" Cake Platter made from a china plate and stemware.I had two china dinnerware plates stored in my cabinet; I wanted to display them or use them. I made matching cake platters. I used an inexpensive stemware piece, coarse sandpaper, quickset epoxy glue.

      Sanding the bottom of the stemware piece and the bottom of the dinnerware plate, I dusted the pieces free of dust and debris; I mixed the epoxy glue and applied it to the bottom of the stemware piece and the center of the dinner plate. Attachment of the stemware piece onto the plate had to be centered. The piece was set aside for 24 hours to insure stability of the piece. The cake platter cannot be placed in the dishwasher; it must be hand-washed.

      The china dinnerware plates were bought by my husband when he was in college in the early 1970's when grocery stores offered china patterns on a weekly basis. I had stored these two plates and now they are a "vintage" piece of dinnerware for me. I can proudly serve my family, friends and guests on my pretty cake platter or use at a tea party.

      The bottom of the stemware is clear so at time of using this piece for entertaining, I will place a flower or another type of ornamental piece in it for decorative purposes.

      By JOSE from Collierville, Tennessee

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Table set for a holiday meal.During the holidays and other special occasions when I use my china, it has pieces that were for rather old fashioned formal services. So I use my formal pieces for other creative dishes. For example, my sugar dish held my cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving. This way, I can still use all my pieces.

      By Linda from Rapid City, SD

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
      Better Living Green Living ReusingJuly 17, 2013
      More to Explore
      ThriftyFun on Facebook
      ThriftyFun on Pinterest
      Enter a Contest
      Free Newsletters
      Ask a Question
      Share a Post
      Related Guides
      Antique wood three drawer table and upholstered side chair.
      Cleaning Antique Wood Furniture
      China tea cup and saucer with floral pattern.
      Cleaning Fine China Dishes
      China Cup and Saucer
      Appraising China
      China tea cups
      Selling Fine China
      © 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on May 18, 2016 at 4:53:49 PM on in 655 msecs. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
      To Top
      Loading Something Awesome!