How To Sand Down A Broken Mug Handle

If the handle of your sentimental mug has snapped off, don’t worry, you may not have to throw it away. If it is a clean break, you can try to repair it using epoxy glue, but sometimes the handle is broken too much, and fixing it is not a practical option. When this is the case, a good thing to do is to sand the handle down.

To sand down a broken mug handle to make the sharp edges smooth, you will need silicon carbide sandpaper to grind away layers of the hard material. You will need a rotary tool to remove large sections of the handle. Use a wet sanding technique to avoid breathing in the dust while working.

There are lots of things that you can do with your favorite mug, even if its handle is missing. Let’s get to work repurposing it so that it will still look attractive without any sharp edges.

How To Sand Down A Broken Mug Handle

Before you start sanding, check if you can reattach the broken handle to the mug. If it is a clean break, it may be possible to fix it using a strong adhesive. Keep in mind that you could still be using the mug to hold hot beverages, so preferably err on the safe side and repurpose the mug if there is any danger that it cannot be reattached securely.

Ceramic mugs can be sanded down similarly to any other material. The only difference is that to be more effective and get through the hard surface faster, it is advisable to use silicon carbide diamond grit sandpaper. This will ensure that the abrasive material is strong enough to slice through the protruding handle bits faster than if you are using regular sandpaper.

If there is still a large portion of the mug’s handle that you need to smooth out, use a Dremel rotary tool to grind it away. Some people have even used regular grinders to remove excess bits of the broken handle from mugs. However, this needs to be done extremely cautiously as the entire mug could shatter, or you can grind the side too thin, so it becomes fragile. Be sure to use necessary safety gear like safety glasses while operating a rotary tool.

Remember, when sanding down a broken handle, you need to achieve an overall smooth look. The part where the handle was should be flush with the side of the mug. If there is a slight depression in the ceramic, you can fill it in using epoxy putty. Use enough to fill in the depression. When it is completely dry, it can be sanded down to be smooth with the rest of the cup.

When sanding down a mug handle by hand, you might need to start with rough grit sandpaper and follow with a finer grain to smooth the surface. Since this type of sandpaper can be used for wet sanding, have a bucket of water nearby and dip the broken section in periodically while working to keep dust at bay.

Holding the cup while working on it can be tricky as you don’t want to apply too much pressure to one side of the cup as it may break. A good option is to place the cup you are working on upside down on a padded surface so you can hold it steady while working on it. A folded towel on a table works well.

How To Seal Handle Marks On A Mug

If your favorite cup has lost its handle and you have sanded it off neatly, you will probably be left with two large marks where the handle used to be attached. Depending on what you will be using the mug for, it may not matter, but you can paint and varnish the battle scars on your mug if you want to achieve a uniform appearance.

You can paint a ceramic mug using acrylic paint. Choose a color that will blend in with the rest of your mug, and go ahead and cover the two ex-handle marks. You will need to go through the entire process of allowing the color layer to dry before adding a clear coat which will blend the glossy texture with the rest of the mug’s surface.

How To Repurpose A Mug With No Handle

Unless you have an insulating sleeve to hold a mug that has lost its handle, you may not be comfortable using it for hot beverages. However, by thinking out of the box, your favorite mug can still be a useful item.

Once you have smoothed the rough edges of a broken mug handle, it will have plenty of other uses besides just drinking. Upcycling and repurposing have become trendy lately, and your sentimental handle-less mug can be used and displayed in plenty of useful ways.

These are some great ideas to use a mug with no handle:

  • Candle holders are an excellent idea, especially if the mug has special sentimental significance.
  • Sugar bowl – if your mug was part of a matching set, it can become a cute sugar bowl if it has no handle.
  • Pen holder – A special mug that has lost its handle can become an attractive accessory on a desk to hold pencils and pens.
  • Planter – If you have a suitable drill bit and can drill a drainage hole into the bottom of the mug, then it can be used to plant in directly. If not, add a layer of course gravel or pebbles in the bottom of the mug, then soil and insert a plant on top.

Remember that water needs to be able to drain through the soil of a plant, but most mugs provide ample space for small plants to be placed above a layer of pebbles.

  • Dish sponge holder – An old mug is a great way to keep those annoying drips of water from running down the back of your sink after you’ve dried it. Just be sure to wipe the inside of your mug occasionally to prevent mildew from forming.
  • Vase – if the mug is a sentimental piece or belonged to someone who is no longer with you, use it to hold flowers on special occasions. It can be placed alongside grander arrangements, but the simplicity of a personal item like a favorite mug can add a special touch.


Sand down a broken mug handle using a Dremel rotary drill or silicon carbide diamond grit sandpaper. It is better to wet sand. It will take patience to get it completely flat if you are working by hand. Finish the job with smooth grit sandpaper and seal the surface with an acrylic coating.


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