Unique Plant Gifts in Vintage Soup Mugs

Unique Plant Gifts in Vintage Soup Mugs

Springtime is definitely the season for parties and the need for small gifts. Bridal showers, Mother’s Day, end-of-year teacher gifts…you get the picture. While the requisite bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers is a perfectly pleasant gift, sometimes you just want something a little more unique and/or memorable. And as strange as it may sound, I have the perfect idea that uses vintage soup mugs!

On my various thrifting adventures, I just kept finding one soup mug after another. You know the kind I’m talking about, right?

Dating to the 1970s-1980s, with a simple recipe printed on the side.

I don’t know why I kept finding these vintage soup mugs, but there they were, beckoning to me with retro appeal.

Vintage soup mugs at a thrift store

At the time, I didn’t have a plan for them in mind, but I figured something would come to me. As I read the ingredient list on each mug, I marveled at the simplicity and how “basic” they seemed.

I suppose things like The Food Network and modern diets have turned us all into home chefs, with our soups calling for bruised lemongrass stalks, and our “paleo” this and that.


That’s when it dawned on me: I could turn the vintage soup mugs into unique plant gifts. And I’d do that by planting an herb or vegetable from the list of ingredients on the side of each mug!

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Vintage Soup Mugs as Planters

First, of course, I selected the vintage soup mugs that would come home with me from the thrift store.

DIY teacher gift idea with a vintage soup mug

I purposefully selected ones with common plant or herb ingredients. Tomato plants, chives, you get the picture.

As Spring approached, local farms starting hosting their plant sales. After studying the ingredients on the vintage soup mugs, I purchased perfectly paired plants to go in each mug.

Organic plant sale for DIY thank you gifts

All I needed to was transplant the young plants into my soup mugs.

Yep, it was seriously that simple!

Upcycling idea for DIY thank you gifts

See, doesn’t that make a darling gift? Maybe as a hostess, thank you, or teacher gift.

DIY teacher gift and unique planter idea

Unique Plant Gifts in Vintage Soup Mugs

There you have it- a “SOUPer” simple gift idea with a vintage touch. Doesn’t get much cuter (AND functional!) as that!

Of course, a soup mug isn’t a long term planter for these plants. They’re meant to be transplanted into larger pots or into a garden. 

And with a veggie or herb plant, it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving, all summer long. And the mug can be used for any number of uses once the seedling has been replanted.

Vintage soup mugs as planters for kitchen herbs

I also decided to try my hand at re-growing scallions after using the green stalks in a recipe. And lo and behold, those suckers really do grow back if you plant the bulb end in potting soil! I purposefully bought a bunch that had healthy-looking, slightly unruly roots. And after a week or so, they’d already sprouted quite a bit taller.

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for vintage soup mugs, then you may also be interested in this unique way to repurpose a coffee mug!

How to make bird suet for a suet feeder in a ceramic coffee mug as a DIY bird feeder for the winter

And for even more creative gift ideas throughout the year, this collection is full of DIY inspiration!

Creative DIY Christmas Gifts

Craft on!


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Kitchen herb planter in a soup mug

DIY gift idea with vintage soup mugs

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. janet alden says

    Sarah, I envy and admire your creativity! Love the way you are able to see beyond the ‘obvious’ <3

  2. Good idea, this is one of the reasons I have trouble in thrift shops…I can see potential in everything. The problem is, I have so, so many projects, I can’t focus. ADD anyone?

  3. I remember these! What a great idea…thank you so much for joining us at Party in Your PJs this week…pinned and I will be sharing soon!

  4. What a clever idea and a great gift!

  5. These are just darling! Love those containers 🙂

  6. Great idea, they look so cute.

    Thanks for sharing. Over from Party in your PJ’s


  7. Those are SOUPer cute! lol, sorry I couldn’t resist! I see these all the time at the thrift stores and now that I know something to do with them besides make soup I’ll definitely be picking some up!


  8. I loved these soup mugs growing up! They were the best for eating out of because you go every last drop. I love this repurposing of them too! I am going to have to check out some thrift stores to see if I can find some and do this for some gifts.

  9. I vividly remember having these soup mugs as a kid! Why did they go out of fashion? They’re perfect. We had all these Campbell soup ones with little kids in the pictures. Now I have a new crafty use for them. Thanks for sharing

  10. These are so cute! What a great idea. We used to have some mugs like this, and I wish I still had them. I’m not even sure what I did with them. Such a cute idea and what a unique gift! Thanks for sharing at Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in this week’s issue.

  11. Jann Olson says

    Souper cute idea! Anyone would love one of these as a sweet gift. Thanks for sharing them with SYC.

  12. These are seriously cute! And it’s perfect for Mother’s Day. We always exchange plants at Mother’s Day!
    Thanks so much for linking up at #Purebloglove link party! The party starts every Thursday night at 8 p.m. est! It runs through the week end. I’m hosting at http://www.homemadefoodjunkie.com. Can’t wait to see what you bring next Thursday. We love your ideas!

  13. These are so cute! I haven’t seen bowls like these before but they are a great gift with your plantlings. Pinning so I can search for these bowls. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday!

  14. oh mylanta! I LOVE this! Simple and charming! I will be on the look out for mugs now! (my poor hubby!) I’d LOVE, LOVE for you to share this over at Country Fair Blog Party- a month long link up! We’d be thrilled to have you over and share what you are up to!
    Jan @ Tip Garden

  15. Christine B. says

    I just love this idea. It makes me want to hit up the thrift store AND the garden center!

  16. Hmm! I’ve never seen these types of mugs before — and I was definitely around in the 1970s!! What a clever idea. I’ll have to keep my eyes open when I go to the thrift store now. Thanks so much for sharing on GrandmaIdeas.com Sharing Time link party! I really appreciate your participation.

  17. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing :). What plant is in the split pea recipe mug?

  18. OH my gosh! I love this idea! 🙂

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  19. What a really amazing idea. I will be looking out for these in my local pound store. But shouldn’t we drill at least one hole in the base (very carefully), so the plant doesn’t get waterlogged? Thank you Sarah for diverting my eyes. 😉

    • If I were planning on keeping them in the mugs, yes- but the intent is to give them as gifts for the recipient to replant in their garden. But maybe I need to make that clearer. 😉 Thank you so much!

  20. These look amazing! My Mum has some of these soup bowls tucked away at the back of her cupboard I might have to pinch them next time I visit 🙂

  21. Hi Sarah! This is such a great idea for repurposing those old mugs! Your creativity is so inspiring. By the way, my daughter’s name is Sarah, but we have always called her Sadie. Not many know that Sadie is a nickname for Sarah :). Thanks for sharing! Susan

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, Susan! Sadie was my great-grandmother’s name, and I remember looking up “Sarah” in a name book when I was little, and saw that Sadie was a nickname for it. 🙂

  22. reinventedkb says

    That’s very cute. Great idea for those mugs!
    Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

  23. Love this gift idea!

  24. acraftymix says

    Oh no ways Sarah, I have these same soup mugs in my cupboard. What a super idea, I think I’ll be turning ours into permanent planters 😉

  25. arthritis100 says

    Such a cute idea!

  26. Debbie- Dabble says

    Great idea!! Love this!!!

  27. Betcha these old soup mugs will be flying off the thrift store shelves now! Great Idea. I’m on my way…

  28. Simple but not practical… there’s no drainage hole. If I made one.. your readers surely would of benefited from seeing how you did that. Also in no way can a tomato plant be grown successfully in this size cup

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Hello, Jac- Please feel free to read the blog post before making a comment like this, as I discuss how this is a cute, temporary pot that is meant to be replanted.

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