A Garden Teacup Craft Party

Making a garden teacup is a perfect excuse for having a group of friends over and a nice way to spend one of the last summer-like afternoons on the deck.  You can have a tea party after, and best part is they can brag about what they made.   Think of it as having the guests make their own party favors!    

tea cup craft

Teacups were once the sign of a civilized age and household.    I remember my American aunt coming up for visits in the summer and one of the first places she would want to go would be a china shop to add to her collection, because tea cups were used back then, not just for show.    I cringe now to think that I once gave my sister a bridal shower where everyone was asked to bring a tea cup as a gift – I thought it was a good idea, as she already had everything else.   My mother had a set of good china, white with gold rims, which she used for holiday dinners, but she didn’t have enough matching teacups, so out would come the fancy teacups for coffee, tea and dessert.  Each one would have a different pattern, color and style.   Even the guys would drink their coffee in them, and what grandchild wasn’t pleased to be served a milky brew in a real china cup just like the grown-ups.    I have a few of these special ones left, which I would not part with as they hold memories as well as tea.

Teacups

Although I still occasionally use tea cups, and have a very pretty set with a matching teapot, I know I am in the minority.    We are a mug society now.

We all have teacups collecting dust – they may be a collection we have inherited from our mother or grandmother, but even if you live like Downton Abbey, there are only so many tea cups you can use and the thrift shops are full of donated cups.   So this simple and inexpensive craft is a nice idea to put them to good use.  

Tea cups (3)

 Garden tea cups can hold a tea light, birdseed or water for a mini bird bath.   I have seen the birds enjoying mine on occasion after a rainstorm.  I have also given them as small homemade gifts.  I made two for a friend who was retiring and loves to garden, a stop and smell the roses pink one, and one with the bluebird of happiness on it.    Now that they have been popular for awhile you can find them at art and craft fairs everywhere, but I bought my first one in the gift shop of an art gallery several years ago.   It was expensive at $25, but I fell in love with it as it was so pretty and blue, my favorite color. The woman selling it very kindly told me how to make my own – for a lot less money. 

tea cup craft

These are the craft supplies, and price-wise it works out to be less than $5. 

craft supplies for teacups

You can have your guests bring their own special teacup, or supply them with ones from a thrift shop, or donate some of your own.   I buy long half-inch diameter copper rods at the hardware store, and because I am a frequent customer there, one of the employees cuts them for me in the length I desire.  I use a 12 inch length for planters, and longer ones for placing in the ground among the plants. tea craft project

I also buy matching short half-inch ends the same width as the rod which will be glued onto the bottom of the saucer to hold the rod.  

craft supplies for teacups

Using a piece of rough abrasive paper (grit cloth as below) or sandpaper, rough up the bottom of the saucer in the middle, and also the same area underneath the saucer.   This makes the glue adhere better.

sandpaper cloth

This Goop glue was recommended to me, but you can use any kind which bonds china or ceramic. 

Super goop

Using a Q-Tip apply some glue to the bottom of the teacup and place it in the centre of the saucer, wiping up any excess glue around the bottom rim.   If you wish you can also glue a tiny teaspoon on, as an added decoration, but I found they tarnished quickly as most are silver.   These can be found at thrift shops for pennies.   Let it set for a few minutes – perhaps go and put the kettle on for your tea.    

Turn the bonded teacup and saucer upside down, and apply the end piece to the bottom of the saucer with a bit of glue, and set the whole thing aside for the rest of the afternoon.   Leave it upside down, preferably for 24 hours.  The next day you can insert the copper rod and turn it right side up and place in your planter for the birds to enjoy.    

teacup craft

While it is setting, you can continue on with the food and beverage portion of your tea party.    This craft takes very little time, perhaps thirty minutes at most, depending on how long you spend roughing up the china and waiting for it to set. 

patio party

After the tea party…

See how the late afternoon shadows are slanting as the sun loses it’s warmth. Summer’s over, but at least everyone has a lovely souvenir to take home as a memory of a fun party and something useful for next year’s garden. 

PS.  Continuing with our September theme, this is the craft portion of Arts and Crafts (because wasn’t that always one of our favorite parts of back to school).   See Plein Air Painting next week for the arts portion.

26 thoughts on “A Garden Teacup Craft Party

  1. Anne says:

    You’re right about us having become a ‘mug society’ and having teacups and saucers gathering dust. As Debbie remarks, ‘nice dishware makes everything taste better’ and so some years ago the Book Club I belong to decided that we would serve tea in proper teacups and use china plates for the eats – it DOES all taste better! I have some beautiful mugs that have cracked or lost their handles – can’t bear to throw them away though so I’ve taken to shoving them into my garden beds to provide shelter for frogs / beetles / spiders or whatever chooses to use them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Yes, I guess we are a generation that remembers teacups! My mothers were all different too, but I had my favourites, the yellow one I showed, a rose coloured pink, and she even had a black one with flowers on it.

      Like

  2. Jo Shafer says:

    Love this idea! I’ve posted your story to my Facebook page to see how many of my friends will take me up on this tea party project. I used to see these cups “floating” in gardens on tours around here, but I never knew how to make them myself. A bit time-consuming but really simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      The only thing I didn’t mention is I don’t know what to recommend if your local hardware store won’t cut them for you? The lady who gave me the directions said she bought something that cuts metal, but it might be pricey….probably a guy thing. I will ask them what they used to cut it the next time I’m there.

      Like

  3. annieasksyou says:

    Thank you, Joni, for this lovely and civilizing post. The photos of those tea cups —and the cups themselves—are gorgeous.

    Regrettably, I know zero people who would join me in such an adventure, and I have no sense of where those inherited tea cups have been packed away. But I love the idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindasschaub says:

    (I looked ahead as you usually post Wednesday or Thursday so found this post … still way behind in Reader).

    This was a cute post Joni – I really like this idea and you made it look easy to do. My grandmother gave me a teacup when I was young, maybe when I became a teenager. I have it up in the cupboard – actually there are two of them up there. I have never used them, just saved them so they are with no stains, chips, etc. One of my yard ornaments is an oversized teacup and I have put silk flowers in it – unless up close, it looks like a mess of pink flowers. I have to see if I have a picture of it to show you.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I likely have a picture of mine in Shutterfly – if I can find it, I’ll e-mail it to you and will tell you … depends on this fractious weather. My has a removable saucer to it. Now you may not believe this, but I liked that oversized teacup and bought it and other ceramic and resin doodads for the yard when my garden was “my paradise” … looking at it now (like the house), how far I have fallen from the gardener who would not tolerate a spent blossom, a weed or must have organization and a dust-free home. Anyway, I took it into the garage every night and it sat at the side of the house, far from the street – I was more afraid of rain getting in and causing mold. I bought a hanging basket of silk flowers, removed them from the basket and put them into the teacup. Then sat it on a white wrought-iron table with plants all around it on small tables or plant stands, all in white.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        It sounds pretty. I’ve hardly sat out on the deck this summer, with the horrible weather, and had no interest in plants or gardening at all due to the kitchen reno…..or the expense. You have other interests now, and that’s okay – it’s just a different stage of life. I used to enjoy gardening, now it’s a chore, so I don’t do much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You’re right – you have to enjoy gardening or else you will resent every minute that you spend out there. When I did nothing but take care of the yard, I did enjoy it but my mom said to me “you spend so many hours out there, and a lot of money to make it pretty but no one sees it but Marge” (our next-door neighbor) and my mom/I split expenses for everything and we put saved money to use for the garden – I spent money on the side because I didn’t want my mom to know just how much all the stuff really cost – more to get bigger plants (like the zonal geraniums I told you about) and some garden doodads, all expensive when you add it all up. I kept some of it from her – she had a point. It is a chore and the rats, Polar Vortex took all the fun out of gardening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That dog is gone now- they got rid of it and then got another one a year later. I don’t hear it barking and Marge could look in their yard between the stockade fence while she was still walking around outside (at least 4 years ago) and said it was gone. The pest control service came and baited and then I found one poisoned rat, not yet dead, in the yard and called Animal Control to come get it – I was surprised they came because if you bait, it is more or less your responsibility to take care of disposing of the body – ugh. One time I went out to water early in the morning and after I left the backyard the day before, it was a hot day and a rat had died and was bloated up and in the middle of the yard. I was riding to work with a maintenance man at our building at that time but he was off that day to attend a funeral. He had always told me if I found a dead rat he would retrieve it and dispose of it in his city’s dump – anyone could go and dump anything – no questions asked.
        I asked him after the funeral to come fetch it – he said it was in very bad shape by the time he got it that afternoon. This is why I’ve never felt comfortable going into the yard anymore. I see the rat tracks in the snow and the “tunnel” which are caused from their tails dragging behind them in the snow. I hate, hate, hate it! Marge’s son who lives next door stays outside in the dark looking at the fire pit long after dark and says he has seen rats go along the fenceline or cross the yard that are as big as cats. I don’t know if he says that to scare me – I said “are you joking?” and he said “no” but I don’t know and I am scared … I would not go into the backyard in the dark for any amount of money. I used to cut the lawn in the dark with the spotlight on because it would rain on the weekends and then it got dark early at night. That was before the rats.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. lindasschaub says:

    Okay Joni – I just e-mailed you my teacup picture … too bad my garden looks so barren now because I could take those two English bone china teacups from my grandmother … at the time because I was just a teenager, I wondered why she gave them to me. I have never been a tea drinker, just coffee. I have bought green tea many times and cannot look at it, don’t like the smell or the taste – shame on me as it’s good for you. I still have some I bought last Winter in an “I’m going to drink green tea because it is good for me” kick. Never opened the box. I used to love gardening back in the day – had I not lost most of the garden to the Polar Vortex I likely would still garden – but that, the rats in 2008 is what really made it intolerable to be back there – stupid neighbor with their pit bull out 24/7. Rats, exterminator, had to take the birdbaths and feeders away so that was that. Then I began walking at Labor Day 2011 and in the Spring of 2012 – I really lost interest and that’s why I bought silk flowers form Michaels and “planted them” in my pots, baskets, small wheelbarrow. If I had more time maybe? Retirement maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s