Uses for Coffee Mugs

Category Reusing
If the kitchen cupboards are bulging with your coffee mug collection, you may be looking of other ways to put them to use. This is a page about uses for coffee mugs.


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Since we all have favorite mugs we don't want broken or carried off someplace I'll share some of my uses. I have one on my computer desk which has pens, small scissors, pinking shears and 2 regular pairs of scissors, one of which has the teflon blades which will cut double face tape with no stickiness. The large wooden thingy, which I believe is for removing boiled eggs from a pan, I use to turn my pillows inside out before stuffing. I saw this on a Christopher Lowell show. I have several mugs on my kitchen counter for small kitchen implements.

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We have too many mugs! So, I use some of them on tops of bookcases, file cabinets, dressers, etc. to store small items. One contains a pair of scissors, buttons, and single earrings for sewing and crafts. Another contains pens, pencils, paper clips, small erasers, and tiny office supplies.


By Vivian P.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 7, 2007

It seems easy to collect a lot of coffee mugs without even trying. What are some creative uses for coffee mugs? Here are ideas from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas here.

Use In Craft Room Or Kitchen

They are great to use in your craft room, to hold scissors, pencils, pens, glue bottle, colored markers, etc. In the kitchen under the sink, store your dish brush, bottle brush, plastic scrubby, wet sponge, etc.

By Syd

Several Gift for Coffee Mugs

I got one this past summer that had a "country goose" on it. To me that seems a little outdated but inside, my friend had given me a nice bouquet of flowers that had a root system growing so it could be potted! Another way to use them is for Bingo prizes or white elephant gifts for your club or organization. Or send a friend or neighbor some soup or something and there is no need to worry if you don't get the mug back!

By melody_yesterday

House Plant Cuttings For Gifts

I always use them for plant cuttings as house warming gifts, gift to the hostess when invited to dinner, thank yous for when we stay with relatives out of town. It is so easy to just add some good soil and start a clipping from my house plants! I always keep a few rooting for gifts.

By Terry

Donate To A Shelter

Donate mugs to a homeless shelter so they can use them to serve coffee or soup.

Hot Coffee For Hard Workers

Here's a great idea in nasty weather. When you see the guy who drives the snowplow approaching, make him a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. Put it in one of your "extra" mugs, flag him down and hand it to him, and tell him he can keep the cup! These guys work very hard in weather the rest of us avoid going out in, they deserve a nice gesture and a word of thanks from time to time! Of course, this also applies to your mailman, school bus driver, trash pick-up guys, etc, etc.

By Becki in Indiana

Pencils, Makeup or Gift Container

Extra coffee mugs can be put to good use at your desk to hold pencils, etc. I use one in the bathroom to hold mascara, combs, etc and keep them organized. They make nice housewarming gifts or stocking-stuffer type gifts, you can fill them with candies, assorted tea bags, etc.

By Becki in Indiana

Give To Nursing Homes

My cousin collect mugs for the nursing homes in her town. She buys them at yard sales and flea markets for 10-25 cents. She washes and disinfects them, fills them with mints,a pocket comb, tissues and whatever she can find on sale. She then gives them to the men. They really like that someone pays attention to them for a few minutes. One man dumped out the stuff on his bed and went right to the kitchen for coffee. I think they get tired of disposable cups.

By Vi Johnson

Great For Individual Servings

Make individual portions of a pudding recipe for "Koppiepoeding" or "Cup Pudding".

By Willem

Make Candles

I use mine to make new candles in. I melt down old candles and put in my new wick and, ta dah... a new candle is born!

By IMAQT1962


March 7, 20070 found this helpful

Love Great Granny Vi's idea! Going to do that this weekend. There are a lot of convalescent homes and shelters and board and care facilities in our town here and selfishly, it would make ME feel good, too!


:) Thanks GGV!

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March 7, 20070 found this helpful

For Christmas gifts I put a pack of hot chocolate, a couple of hersheys kisses, a few mini marshmellows and a candy cane..makes a really great gift for co-workers,teachers, mailmen, and paper deliver...anyone you want to give a little gift...there are such cute christmas mugs at yard sales and thrift stores....Also can be filled with candy...

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By Gail Erman (Guest Post)
March 7, 20070 found this helpful

We have 9 children and have gone through many sets of glasses, even plastic ones. I hit upon the idea of using coffee cups instead, and at 10 cents or so we can afford it. Everybody has a different one and when the handle is knocked off, kids get to pick out a new one and since they are all different, we always have a complete set.

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By connie (Guest Post)
March 8, 20070 found this helpful

i pick up coffee mugs at the thrift store by the dozen. If you make a cake mix you can fill the cup 3/4 of the way and bake in oven. now frost it and put a candle on top. Take it to an elderly neighbor as a birthday cake, valentine cake, easter cake etc. you get the idea!!Also is great for smaller children. They think they have their own cake. This only takes like 15 min. in oven. You will love their expression when they get to blow out the candle

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March 9, 20070 found this helpful

I bought some small, short/squatty melmac coffee cups and they are just the greatest to serve my kids ice cream in. They hold just the right amount plus they have the handle to hold onto!

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June 22, 20090 found this helpful


I know there are just posts about uses here and i was wondering if anyone knew how to get mugs donated.

My work is a non-profit organization providing services to the elderly and adults with disabilities.

We are trying to go green and we were wondering if anyone knew how we could get coffee mugs donated to us, it doesnt matter if none of them match.

Thank you!

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December 16, 20151 found this helpful

Put out the word to the churches and synagogues in your area. Ladies' groups love projects like that. As a former school districe employee I used to get lots of mugs .... Rather than a holiday gift exchange it was more like a mug exchange. And the children's parents always throw in some mugs with small items or candy inside.

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July 31, 20170 found this helpful

Hello Monique,

Do you still have a need for coffee mugs? Let me know if you do.

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Answer this Question...

October 13, 2009

I like like to find some other uses for coffee cups.

By nicole


October 14, 20090 found this helpful

Use one in your bathroom for toothbrushes - prettier and easier to use than those that have holes too small for today's brushes. Also useful for make-up brushes & nail files.
Pen & pencil cup, obviously.
The handles make mugs easier to eat from - soup, chili, ice cream, etc. (I don't eat as much as when I use a bowl!)
I keep one in my flour canister - I don't need an exact measurement when I make biscuits.

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October 14, 20090 found this helpful

I have a mug with an odd shaped handle with my tooth brush and toothpaste in it. I also have 2 that were gifts from my son and daughter in law that I don't want in "circulation". They are sitting on the counter with small items in them, measuring spoons etc.

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October 15, 20090 found this helpful

If the cup is good sized plant some violets or other plant and give them as gifts.

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October 15, 20090 found this helpful

Fill them with mixed nuts, jelly beans, or licorice bites...wrap that it Xmas "sell-a-phane" (do not know the proper spelling of the word) and gift them to folks on your list to get gifts for this year. Your only out a coffee cup & 8 ounces of nuts or candy. Perhaps the mixed nuts is the better idea as you do not know if the people receiving them are diabetic or trying to watch their waist line.

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October 15, 20090 found this helpful

Use as a pen and pencil holder or as flower vases, I do ;-)

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October 16, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, you can paint a plate and the cup, or try a little decoupage on them. After you do that then glue the cup to the plate and put a little piece of Styrofoam in the cup to hold fake flowers and even some picks. All of this is available at craft stores. You might even get this stuff free on These make cute gifts. We made some years ago as gifts to folks in the hospital. Use a good glue. Have fun, Travis

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October 18, 20090 found this helpful

Umm... it's You'll find links to your local FreeCycle groups there.

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May 21, 20100 found this helpful

Donate to the local thrift store. Or, if you are into crafts, put old ceramic cups into a heavy plastic bag, (Wear eye protection & gloves). Take bag of cups outside or to the garage, and carefully break cups with a hammer. Make a mosaic table top or other project with your pieces.

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April 24, 20170 found this helpful

Think simple. Repaint and fill with soil put a flower or beautiful arrangement in it. Just be sure to break the handle off first.

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Answer this Question...


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 13, 2009

Ideas for reusing coffee cups for something other than drinking a beverage. Post your ideas.


Uses for Old Coffee Mugs

They make excellent containers for a small plant to give as a token gift. Also, use them under the sink to store dish brush and scrubbies. On your desk they're great for pencils and pens. In your craft room to rest your bottles of tacky type glues tip down, so glue is in the tip when you want to use it.

By Syd (06/17/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

I use one for putting bacon grease into and then leave it on the shelf by the stove. I pour the grease straight from the hot pan into the cup. Never have I had a coffee cup crack from the heat of the bacon grease. Once in a while I just put the coffee cup, with only the scrapings of bacon grease left in it, into the dishwasher to clean it. (06/17/2005)

By brenda newton

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

Thrift stores usually have all kinds of mugs or coffee cups at really cheap prices. When I'm out and find a few mugs/cups I like, I'll put them away till I need them. If I need a small gift, I'll bring out a mug and put some earrings, makeup items, aromatherapy bath salts packets, candies or cocoa packets or whatever inside, wrap pretty with a bow and there you have a great looking gift, with little expense. After all, it's the thought that counts. (06/17/2005)

By badwater

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

I used to help out at a local thrift store. One day a lady came in said she had several plants she needed to take the babies out of and; she'd donate the baby plants to the thrift store for sale, if we could give her something(s) to put the plants in for the return trip. The store manager took her over to the mug wall rack and said "help yourself". The lady took several of the cups/mugs and brought the baby plant clips back, for re-sale. Anyone could do this for school projects, church fundraisers, Vacation Bible School projects, yard sales, etc. (06/17/2005)

By badwater

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

I purposely look for interesting mugs at yard sales and thrift stores. I got into candle making for a while and using the plain wax plus adding good smelling older used candles would mold a candle inside the mug. Sometimes I'd use the method with crushed ice to make a "frothy" look to the top of the candle. In my search I found mugs for teachers, with angels, for boss, for friends.

Cleaned up and made into a candle these sold for about $5 apiece at flea markets. A friend with a consignment shop saved her used candles and we worked up a partnership. She helped furnish candles, I made them and she helped me sell them. (06/17/2005)

By Sharon from KY

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

I keep one in the cat food bag. It scoops out just enough for the bowl. Over the years, we had been given many unusual or really cute mugs and my late husband had put up a big pegboard in the kitchen and this holds all the "special" mugs. (07/13/2005)

By Judith Muelling

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

You could also bake a "Koppiepoeding" (Cup Pudding) in cups, providing individual servings. (03/29/2006)

By Carol C.

Uses for Old Coffee Cups

I often go to the Goodwill, yard sales, etc. I started a bunch of cactus seeds (like a nut) and they went crazy, so I started potting them up in all types of cups and wineglasses, etc. and I have been giving them away. They need homes and I can't keep them, and they need attention. I have actually packed plants (baby spiders) around in my in my car and gone through the bank drivethru (where they know me) and given them away. As a matter of fact, I took a seedling cactus to the local Goodwill today for one of the ladies there and will be taking some more for them. And the nicest thing about it, they actually seem to appreciate it. (02/06/2009)

By rose

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