20 Ways to Upcycle Broken Dishes

broken dishes

A broken dish is no reason to despair! Instead of tossing it into the waste stream and feeling bad about yourself because of it, give that broken dish a second life by upcycling it into something fun, beautiful, and useful. Below, check out my favorite projects and tutorials for ways to upcycle broken dishes.

In my family, we (mostly my butterfingered kids…) have broken SOOOOO many dishes, and as irritated as it makes me (I REALLY loved that giant green Fiestaware coffee mug!), I do get a lot of satisfaction out of the resultant planters, mosaics, pendants, and other awesome things that I’ve made from the pieces. Pick out a project below and take back a bit of satisfaction from YOUR next irritating adventure, too!

Broken Coffee Mug Planter

rosemary planter

You actually can repair the broken handle of a coffee mug in most cases, but if the handle really is a goner, your mug can join legions of its buddies across the world as a windowsill planter.

Find the plans at Crafting a Green World

Cake Stand

Depending on the overall look of your cake stand, you could get away with having a few chipped pieces, or even a crack or two that you’ve sealed and then covered with decoupage and polyurethane.

Find the plans at Rock n Roll Bride

Chipped Plate Bird Bath

Use construction-grade glue to add a post to the bottom of the chipped plate, or just set it on a likely-looking stump. The cleverest part of this project is adding a decorative piece on top of the chipped part of the plate so that your little birdy friends don’t hurt their feet!

Find the plans at Very Heatherly

Stepping Stones

ways to upcycle broken dishes to stepping stones

This is a super easy and kid-friendly project, because once you’ve poured the mortar all you have to do is press the broken dishes into it. I wouldn’t recommend making broken dish stepping stones to actually use–I mean, dishes aren’t meant to be walked on!–but they would make a sweet decorative element in your landscaping.

Find the plans at Over the Big Moon

Tea Cup Bird Feeder

As with the chipped plate birdbath tutorial, above, I don’t want you to use any teacups with chipped edges that birds could cut their feet on, but you could repair a cracked teacup with epoxy glue and it would hold just fine for this project.

Find the plans at Woah Bella

Keychain

Learn how to sand, polish, and drill through ceramic materials with this simple tutorial. This would be a wonderful project to share the love of a dearly-departed heirloom plate with all the people who cherished it.

Find the plans at Lil Blue Boo

Mosaic House Number

Mosaic art is a great goal if you’ve got a lot of broken dishes to upcycle, and the larger tiles that are used here mean that your project won’t get too fiddly.

Find the plans at DIY Network

Flower Pot Mosaic

Got some boring flower pots that you’d like to liven up? Mosaics are an easy way to add a LOT of color!

Find the plans at Home is Where the Boat Is

Garden Edging

This would never work in my ramshackle garden with humans tromping all over, but a well-tended garden that nobody ever tromps in could definitely sustain a border made from chipped and broken plates.

Find the plans at A Cultivated Nest

Garden Flower Stakes

To make this project even cuter, cut the edges of your plates into flower petals, handily removing the chipped bits while you’re at it.

Find the plans at Spittin Toad

Teacup Lamp

teacup lamp

Use this tutorial in concert with any of the others that show you how to paint, stamp, or otherwise embellish the pieces.

Find the plans at My Repurposed Life

Outdoor Candle Holder

Repurpose broken plate halves into a handy candle holder for use during evening fun on your back deck.

Find the plans at Very Heatherly

Painted Decorative Dishes

Using a chipped or cracked dish as décor is as easy as making sure your piece is displayed with the chip at the back, and having it match the rest of your décor is as easy as painting it! You could even fill a chip in with putty or grout before you paint to hide it extra-well.

Find the plans at Simply Sara D.

Stacked Tea Cups and Saucers

It’s easy to hide chips and even cracks in decorative pieces. Just arrange the stacks so that any broken part is covered by the piece on top!

Find the plans at The Cottage Market

Stamped Decorative Plates

hand stamped plates

This method will even work on those painted décor dishes, above!

Find the plans at Raggedy Bits

Hanging Teacup Bird Feeder

This teacup bird feeder is a little more challenging to construct, but there’s less real estate available for birds to perch on, so there’s less worrying about chips.

Find the plans at Atta Girl Says

Wall Art

A chipped or cracked dish would do just fine for this wall art project. For longevity, however, I’d recommend using a paint pen instead of a regular Sharpie.

Find the plans at Florence Finds

Wall Planter

Teacups cut in half give you a lot of storage for raising lovely plants!

Find the plans at Pillar Box Blue

Pendant with Soldered Edges

Here’s a beginner’s jewelry making project that won’t LOOK like a beginner project! Cutting ceramics is easier than you’d think with the right tools, and since you’re using silver solder just to finish the edges, it’s a low-stakes way to get familiar with soldering and work your way up to a bigger project.

Find the plans at Crafting a Green World

Wreath

A wreath is a fun way to use up a whole set of saucers and teacups, some broken and some whole.

Find the plans at Robo Margo

Have YOU rescued a favorite broken dish and upcycled it into something awesome? What are your favorite ways to upcycle broken dishes? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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broken dish pendant

How to Make a Broken Dish Pendant