Mother’s Day Pansies in a Mug

Mothers day pansies autumn

If you’re looking for that perfectly unique gift for Mum this Mother’s Day, this one is just gorgeous and a beautiful way to say, “I love you”. Not only is it a little bit crafty, but colourful too, with a touch of nature that will make Mum’s heart sing every time she walks past the kitchen table. 


  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 4 white coffee mugs (I purchased an extra as a backup)
  • 1 black Sharpie pen
  • 1 punnet pansies
  • Potting charcoal
  • Searles Premium Potting Mix


STEP 1: Buying Pansies

Pansies are the most delightful and delicate of Autumn flowers and one of my favourites for colour, available pinks and purples to yellows and whites. The blooms of pansies are also diverse, from little flowers the size of your thumb to large blooms the size of your palm. It’s important to note that the petals on the small and large blooms are very delicate and quite easy to bruise. So you need to be careful when handling them.

For this project, you’re looking for pansies in a punnet no larger then the width of your coffee mug, mine were 8cm in diameter. So measure your mugs before you shop. As a general observation, the pansies I purchased by Pohlmans (ten seedling plants to a blue punnet for around $18) would fit in most coffee mugs. 

STEP 2: Getting the lettering right

My handwriting is not the best, so I decided to sketch the letters on the mugs BEFORE writing with a permanent Sharpie pen. I measured the letter size down from the top (1.5cm), and up from the bottom (2cm). Lightly marketing the heights on the ceramic mug with my pencil. I then sketched on the letter. 

The best part of sketching with pencil, is if you make a mistake you can wipe the surface clean with your finger or a tissue. 

Mothers Day pansies in a mug gift idea writing in pencil beafunmum

STEP 3: Permanent letters

Once I was happy with the pencilled on letters, it was time to use the Sharpie pen. I must admit, I was a little nervous about using the pen. I wanted the lettering to be really clean and crisp. To keep the mug steady, I found the best solution was to hold it in the palm of my hand, then starting from the top and stroking down for letter formation.

Rather than writing the letter in one sitting, I discovered it was better to break process into sections. For example writing one straight edge of the ‘L’, or half of the ‘O’. I allowed the pen to dry before completing the entire letter and by doing this avoided smudging. 

To darken the letters, they seemed a little light coloured to me, I simply ran the Sharpie pen back over them a few times. After this layering was dried, I went back with a tissue and cleaned the remained of the exposed pencil marks off the ceramic mug.

Mothers Day pansies in a mug gift idea writing L with a sharpie marker beafunmum

STEP 4: Planting the pansies

There are no holes in this mug. Generally when planting into a pot or container, drainage is required for plant health. With this project I took a different approach, rather than drilling a hole in the bottom of the mug, I added a small amount of potting charcoal, approximately 2cm depth. Potting charcoal is commonly used in terrariums for drainage, as plants can actually drown from too much water around the root system.  

Once the potting charcoal was in, I gently pulled the pansies out of the punnets by the base of the plant. It’s a good habit to always pull plants out of pots by the base, not by the foliage. This decreases changes of damage and foliage bruising. 

I carefully pushed the pansy into the mug and manipulated the root mass into place with my finger tips. Depending on what size pansies you purchased, you might find additional potting mix is required. If this is the case, position your pansy in the centre of the mug and gently add the potting mix around the sides. 

Repeat the planting process until all your mugs are full.

Mothers Day pansies in a mug gift idea planting the flower beafunmum

Did you know that pansies are an edible flower! So Mum can not only enjoy their beauty, she can eat them too! They look stunning when used in salad for colour or scattered over lemon cheesecake as a garnish. You can even crystallised pansies for cupcake decorating. 

Here’s some additional ideas for this project:

  • Not a pansy fan? These mugs look fantastic with herbs and succulents too. Use the same planting principles as advised above in Step 4.
  • Why not experiment with different letter colours, Sharpie has some amazing new permanent pen colours available, from bright yellow to purple. 
  • If you have older children (the age were you can trust them not to colour your walls with permanent marker, sadly we are not at this stage yet), give each child a mug and let them for Mother’s Day.
  • If you’re nervous about writing on a mug, don’t stress, you can do this project anyway! Just find a mug that reflects your Mum’s personality, it might have a funny saying, a favourite colour or just be pretty. The end result is still the same – pretty flowers. 

Special things to note:

  • Permanent marker may come off over (a long) time but it’s easy to freshen it up with another coat at any point. 
  • The permanent marker is not dishwasher safe if you choose to replant at a later stage.
  • Being a small planting container, plants will require frequent watering, every 1-2 days. If left to dry out, they will die.
  • Don’t over water as you can drown the plant. 50-100ml is more than enough water. 

I adore this Mother’s Day gift idea and ours will be greatly cherished by my mother-in-law who is a very keen gardener. 

Mother's Day Pansies in a Mug single cup

Pansies in a Mug

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Renee is a self confessed fun maker. She admits to not being the world’s best gardener, but believes that getting kids into the garden is one of the most important experiences. It’s a way to teach children about the environment, food production, healthy living, science and sustainable practices in a fun and physical way. You can see more of Renee's fun gardening projects here:

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