(above photo is an example of a tea cup chandelier made by Whimsical Creations and offered for sale in her Etsy shop).
Tea cups missing their saucer mates - orphans as we call them in the industry - are often seen as useless tableware items; pieces that serve no function at all.
How about using those lovely orphaned cups to craft a beautiful tea-cup chandelier to go above the dining table? Or decorating them and using them as planters to create a fresh kitchen counter-top herb garden?
Pinterest and Instagram are chock full of this new decorating craze that is the tea-cup chandelier. Amazing, often intricate ceiling fixtures - many that light up and others that are simply decorative ceiling ornaments - these chandeliers put sadly orphaned cups and saucers to beautiful, in many cases functional, use. Include mismatched saucers as bases and use bent and soldered forks spoons, or simply colored ribbons to attach the cups to the fixture.
Creating a tea-cup chandelier is a great DIY home decorating project that is easy to make at the basic level using ribbons to attach.
In the case of a light-up, fully-functioning chandelier, one already in place and used as a central light in the room, there is no need to fiddle about with glue, or do any actual electrical work. In many cases, home crafters use colorful ribbons to attach the handles of the cups to the chandelier for a totally unique and personalized decorative ceiling ornament.
More elaborate chandeliers use items such as spoons and forks, soldered to the metal chandelier surround and bent and wrapped around the cup handles, to dangle cups decoratively from the central fixture. Even more elaborate chandeliers add a central teapot to the fixture itself, or glue saucers onto the cup orphans and wire chandelier bulbs to the inner bowls, providing a unique and beautiful diffused lighting source.
Photo courtesy of North Wales Interiors
And this commercial coffee shop in Paris, France really went with the trend in a big way with one of the largest tea-cup chandeliers currently on display. Incorporating more than 500 cups and saucers, soldered onto a brass sphere suspended from the ceiling and visible from the sidewalk, the display is the main aesthetic that sets the bistro apart from its competitors and attracts many patrons to initially walk into the shop.
Photo courtesy of Zoe Young Kirkby of an enormous tea-cup chandelier in a Paris coffee shop.
And how about using those orphaned cups to create a wonderful counter-top herb garden? Using the cups as small planter pots and decorating the outside with letters, herb wording, or botanical graphics creates a kitchen aethetic that is unique, fun and functional, all at the same time. It allows you to add greenery to the kitchen and grow fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary and basil indoors, keeping them close at hand and fresh on the stem, always ready for immediate use in cooking.
And that's not all! Talented artistans use orphaned cups and mismatched saucers to create everything from custom pin-cushion pods, to nightlights and candle holders to one-of-a-kind decorative cake and pastry plates for fancy tea parties.
Someone once said an undecorated house is like an unwrapped gift: no matter how expensive the contents, without something to inspire the opening, half of the fun of the giving is lost. Both the box and the house have four sides, a top and a base. It is the decorative accents that make it a present, or a home. Create a personalized living space that offers both a refuge and also reflects your personal aesthetic.
So, before throwing those orphan cups and mismatched saucers away, consider repurposing them to create your own, unique and functional home decor.
Groovy is the operator of the online vintage department store BuyfromGroovy and operates both at www.buyfromgroovy.com and within the Etsy marketplace as BuyfromGroovy where the shop is an Etsy Rank Top 2% performer.