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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Use this tutorial in concert with any of the others that show you how to paint, stamp, or otherwise embellish the pieces.
Outdoor Candle Holder
Repurpose broken plate halves into a handy candle holder for use during evening fun on your back deck.
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.
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!
Stamped Decorative Plates
This method will even work on those painted décor dishes, above!
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.
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.
Teacups cut in half give you a lot of storage for raising lovely plants!
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.
A wreath is a fun way to use up a whole set of saucers and teacups, some broken and some whole.
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!