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How to Plant a Succulent in a Mug or Teacup

This post shares how to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup, the perfect project for thrift store finds! For more of my DIY planters to help you decorate with plants, check out this post!

How to Plant a Succulent in a Mug or Teacup

This is a really special DIY for me. Story time!

Many years ago, my Uncle Clay passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It was devastating for us all. A few years after he’d passed away, his wife, my Aunt Rose, gave me a tea set that Uncle Clay had given her.

Painted Black Teacup Cactus Planters

Cute, right? I was honored, but I don’t really have room for extra stuff in the kitchen, and we don’t have a dining room, so I’ve kept the tea set at my mom’s house for the past few years.

Painted Black Teacup Cactus Planters

I’ve thought a lot about what to do with the tea set–will I ever want to have an actual tea party? Probably not. Will pink floral tea cups ever fit with my apartment’s decor? Also probably not.

So I decided the repurpose a few of the teacups so that I could bring them home and incorporate them into my apartment decor. (I asked my mom–Uncle Clay was her brother, and she said she loved the idea!)

Painted Black Teacup Cactus Planters

More specifically, I decided to paint them black and make them little cactus planters. Painted black teacup cactus planters? Am I crazy? I know it sounds a little drastic to paint pretty little feminine tea cups black, but I just thought they’d look so cool.

And they do! I’m thrilled to know that the tea set is now part of my life instead of sitting collecting dust in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. And it was really easy to transform these little guys, too.

How to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup

If you want to make planters like these, hit up some antique stores or even Goodwill stores in your area to see if you can find something for cheap. It doesn’t have to be a nice piece since you’re just painting it.

Here’s what I used for my painted black teacup cactus planters:

(This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here. Thank you!)

  • Teacups
  • Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Flat Black
  • Drop cloth
  • Assorted cactuses and soil

And here’s how I did it.

(Remember to wear an appropriate mask while working with paints, stains, and finishes. Follow the directions and warnings from your particular brand.)

Step 1: Clean and paint.

I wiped down the teacups and gave them a few generous coats of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Flat Black. I wanted these to be super matte–almost like chalkboard paint. Here’s the first coat…

…and then the second coat after that. Depending on what pattern your mug or teacup has and what color paint you use, you might need anywhere from one to three coats.

How to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup
How to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup

Step 2: Paint!

I chose cactuses because the teacups don’t any drainage, and cactuses can withstand harsher conditions than some other plants can. Plus, I just thought the prickly cactuses would look awesome in dainty teacups.

If you want to add in some drainage, you can read about how to add drainage to pots without holes in this post.

I love these and am so happy I was able to incorporate part of this tea set into my decor. I know Uncle Clay would love that I made them my own. 🙂

How to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup
How to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup
how to plant a succulent in a mug


image collage of painted and unpainted teacups with text how to plant a succulent in a mug or teacup
succulent in a black painted teacup with text DIY matte black succulent planters made from old mugs or teacups

Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse

Monday 25th of July 2016

These turned out perfectly! I am definitely trying this idea!

Brittany Merth

Tuesday 26th of July 2016

Aww thanks Tanya!! I love them <3


Saturday 16th of July 2016

I have been wanting a vintage tea set for some time now, so when I first saw that you had painted yours, I was shocked and disappointed, but seeing how amazing they look in the matte black - I LOVE them! Such a great idea! Now I want a vintage tea set so I can paint them out! Thanks for sharing! xx Neelam

Brittany Merth

Saturday 16th of July 2016

Neelam, thank you so much! It's definitely not a look that everyone will love, but I definitely do, too...and I absolutely love having them as part of my decor! Plus I only painted two, so I still have the rest of the tea set untouched if I ever want to have a tea party. ;)

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