How to Turn a Coffee Mug in to a Unique Secret Compartment Gift Box

It’s time for more Tea Party fun!  Today I am sharing how to turn a coffee mug in to a cute and unusual gift box/gift idea.  Before I get to that though, if you have missed out on the other tea party tidbits I have been sharing since Mother’s Day you can click HERE for some amazingly good Cranberry Feta Pinwheel appetizers,  & HERE for Chicken Stuffed Cones.


***Make sure to scroll all the way through post, because tons of adorable photos are at the end after the tutorial!***


Unique Gift Boxes


I wanted to put together a gift for Mom that would fit our theme this year called “A Vintage Teacup” tea party.  I happened to be shopping the clearance section online at Kohl’s and stumbled upon a really discounted coffee mug that I picked up just for the heck of it (the price & design drew me in).  Mom loves butterflies so I sort of had the mug in mind for her when I bought it, but wasn’t sure.  I can’t remember the exact price of the mug, but it was a Sonoma Life + Style brand (by the way- that brand has neat decor/dishes) and with my extra 30% off discount the mug was no more than $2.


I also had already purchased a miniature bear from a good friends etsy shop (she is an expert bear maker) as a surprise for Mom’s Mother’s day gift because she had mentioned she wished she had the one called peachy bear.  So.. TEENY tiny adorable bear meets Adorable little mug with a butterfly on it meets Vintage tea cup themed party and VOILA an oh so sweet little idea was born.


Miniature Teddy Bears by Vonne Bears on Etsy

Here she is! “Peaches & Cream” the miniature bear who inspired this whimsical gift idea.


Buy Miniature Teddy Bears Online


Creative Gift Giving Ideas- How to Turn a Mug into a “Secret Surprise” Whimsical Gift Box:


  1. You will need to find an awesome mug that fits your recipients personality or the theme you are putting together.  You will be using your mug to fit little trinkets and gifts inside , so you will want to get a mug sized appropriately for what you plan on “Hiding” inside of it.
  2. Have fun shopping for a few little gifts to “Hide” inside the mug!  My gift giving theme was girly, vintage and whimsical for Mother’s Day so I bought little gifts to reflect that theme.  Since this is a whimsical gift idea, I think it’s nice to think of all kinds of little whimsical & magical “treasures” to hide inside.  Here are the things I hid inside my mug:


A real 4 leaf clover pocket stone with an organza pouch.

A real 4 leaf clover pocket stone with an organza pouch.

Vintage Charm bracelet from Victorian Trading Company

A Vintage Charm Bracelet that is inscribed with my mom’s birth month on a porcelain plate. It came with a velvet pouch.

An up close shot of the vintage bracelet I found on sale for Mom.

An up close shot of the vintage bracelet I found on sale for Mom.

Healthier Nail Polishes

A nail polish you can only get from the Wellness company I work with (if interested in their salon quality nail polish you can get some through me) in a kind of vintage color called “ballet slipper”. Nail polish makes a cute, small thing to hide in the mug.



I was on a semi tight budget so I didn’t fill the mug with a lot of things, but these three things fit perfectly for my purpose.  I had ordered a vintage scatter garden seed packet to tuck in as well, but it didn’t arrive in time.  Seeds or tiny music boxes would be cute in the mug too!


3.  Next you will stuff the mug with your little surprises!  Tip:  Don’t stuff the mug too full.  You want to leave a little room at the top.  You can fill it a little more than I did as long as you leave a little room.  Here is what my mug looks like with the secret gifts stashed in it:


Unique Creative Gift Box Ideas



4.   Now it’s time to make the top of the mug.  The idea here is to use the mug as a “secret” gift box compartment to hide extra surprises.  I wanted to create a little whimsical nature scene to go with the miniature bear I bought so I used moss.  I shopped online at THIS craft store for the craft items needed to create my little scene atop the mug.  One bag of real dried moss was only $2 and change ( I think there was a sale).  You need to get some type of filler but I think Moss is adorable personally.



I forgot to take step by step photos of the process, so you will just see finished photos of the mug from here on out and I will explain what I did.


  • Stuff moss in the mug to fill the rest of the way.  I didn’t stuff the mug too full as I wanted a flat surface to create my scene on.  After stuffing mug I placed moss flatly across the top.  To get the effect of moss hanging over the edges (which looks prettier) , I hot glued longer strands of moss to the moss on top at varying spots around the mugs edges.


  • Nylon winged butterflies!  Since the mug I bought was nature inspired with butterflies on it, I bought some mini 1 inch sized butterflies that had wires already attached to them.  I wrapped one butterfly around the mug handle and poked a couple of other butterfly in to the moss at different spots on top of the mug so it looks like teddy is enjoy tea with butterflies!


  • I cut a little square of fabric from an old shirt I had to form a “blanket” for teddy to sit on for her Tea party picnic 🙂 I did not have to hot glue the “blanket” on.  It laid nicely on the moss.


  • I bought inexpensive drink umbrellas from this same craft store I put a link to above.  Simply place an umbrella slightly tilted in to the moss if you plan on having a little teddy or other miniature doll sitting under it.


  • Now you will need miniature “fairy” or “dollhouse” dishes/foods to place on the blanket for the whimsical picnic.  I bought a tiny porcelain tea cup and I hot glued it on the blanket so it would stay put.  I was on a budget so I went with only a tea cup , but there are adorable mini cakes, plates of cookies, and baskets at this craft store that would be so fun to add!    Bonus tip:  You can reuse the teacup as a charm for a necklace/bracelet later by attaching a jump ring to the cup handle and slipping it on a chain :).



Last but not least, I had to add the main gift that I was surprising mom with!  A mini teddy bear from Vonne Bears!  The whole idea of this fun little gift I put together was based around the bear and so it is the piece de resistance if you will :D.  If you are going to do an adorable little scene on the top I would suggest going with a mini bear or doll .  My friend Evonne lives in Australia and is the creator of collectible mini and micro mini teddy bears.  Some bears are as tiny as my fingernail and this one was a little over 2 inches tall.  

Would you believe they are fully jointed at this size AND have teeny little details and faces stitched on?!!  I don’t know how she does it, but it is nothing short of amazing and you must check out her etsy store HERE to see what I am talking about.  These tiny teddies are guaranteed to make you smile.


Without Further ado , Here is a photo dump of the finished product taken from multiple angles so you can recreate something similar if wish:

P.S. -The Would you ever guess that there were more gifts tucked away under the moss of this mug?  Well..neither did Mom.  It really is a fun gift idea, because the recipient assumes that the mug itself and the scene on top are the gift, but little do they know there are more presents awaiting them inside!  😀


Unique Whimsical Gifts

VIntage looking gift tags by Vonne Bears on ETSY

Evonne from Vonne Bears also makes Vintage looking Tea Dyed Gift tags that you can buy for any occasion or to go with your bear purchase. I have attached the gift tag to the mug on the inside for a nice presentation.


Cottage Gift Box

I bought this unique Cottage gift box filled with apricot herbal tea to go with the mug. You can get this at Victorian Trading Company



Here you can see how I hot glued moss to cascade down the sides.

Here you can see how I hot glued moss to cascade down the sides.


Unique Coffee Mug Gift ideas

What the mug looks like from the back

Adorable Gift Giving Ideas

Side View

Whimsical Gifts

Up close shot. You can see the butterfly I wrapped around the mug’s handle, as well as other details.


Teddy Bears and Teacups

Whimsical Gift Ideas & Dioramas

Teatime for Teddy Bears

Alternative Uses for Coffee Mugs and Teacups

Micro Mini Teddy Bears by


I hope you enjoyed this whimsical Gift idea!  Be sure to check out my friend Evonne’s Vonne Bear shop HERE and stop by We Live Inspired again for more tea party fun this week!

*If you are inspired to do your own similar project, could you please provide a link back to the original source?  I would love to see what clever mug designs you come up with too!

Creatively Yours,



Linking up at these parties:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share This Article
Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How to Turn a Coffee Mug in to a Unique Secret Compartment Gift Box

  1. Evonne says:

    Thanks for featuring one of wee bears. I LOVE that gift box!!! How adorable.

    • Rebekah (We Live Inspired) says:

      You are so welcome! Such adorable bears and a fun project! Mom loved it.

  2. Al says:

    Adorable! I love the moss with the pattern on the mug.

    • Rebekah (We Live Inspired) says:

      Thank you. I liked the nature like combo as well. 🙂 So fun to put these little things together. Thanks for stopping by We Live Inspired today. Have a magical week ~Rebekah

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love the gift box! What a beautiful idea! I have a new weekly link party which is live now and I would love if you stop by and link up this wonderful post! Hope to see you there! Hugs, Maria

    • Rebekah (We Live Inspired) says:

      Hi Maria! Glad you enjoyed the Mug idea :). I have added your party to my blog party tab on my site and have linked up today. Thank you!

  4. Sarah says:

    This is a lovely idea!

    Thanks so much for linking up!

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity