Vintage dishware doesn't have to gather dust in the china cabinet.

Outdated table settings, such as a stack of your grandmother's old plates or a bundle of used mugs you scooped up at Salvation Army, can find fresh life with a little TLC. All it takes is a marker or a drill and a basic plan.

"I always find it a bit sad when things so loved by previous generations are thrown on the scrap heap," says lifestyle blogger Anna Nicholson, based in Yorkshire, England.

"I'm always looking for ways things can be reused, upcycled and overhauled to fit in with our 21st century style."

Here are some ways to spruce up old china and dollar-store dishes:

The popular craft-swapping website Pinterest is full of plate-decorating projects that tap into the "magic" of magic markers.

Nicholson, whose blog is "angel in the north" (www.angelinthenorth.com ), uses Sharpies to personalize vintage floral plates. In one set, she adorned each plate with a letter in the word "EAT," to display in the kitchen. In another, she used four plates to spell out the word "HOME."

LOOK: Our Many Crafts Of The Day

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  • Gilded Moleskine Journal

    Add some personality to your Moleskine by carving original gilded designs and pressing them against the journal. Head over to <a href="http://www.designmom.com/2012/09/perfect-gift-gilded-moleskine-journal/" target="_blank">Design Mom</a> for the full tutorial.

  • Gold Leaf Notebook

    Adding gold leaf details to your journal adds a touch of style and sets it apart from others. Head over to <a href="http://www.hellolucky.com/wordpress/2012/09/05/diy-gold-leaf-notepads/" target="_blank">Hello Lucky</a> for the full tutorial.

  • Button & String Journal

    This clever button & string journal is a craft activity that you can using raw materials. Head over to <a href="http://thecreativeplace.blogspot.com/2010/02/ive-been-trying-to-decide-on-what-to.html" target="_blank">The Creative Place</a> for the full tutorial.

  • DIY Striped Notebooks

    You'll never guess how this blogger made these pastel colored designs. Here's a hint: they're repurposed office supplies. Head over to <a href="http://papernstitchblog.com/2012/10/17/make-this-striped-one-minute-notebooks-diy/" target="_blank">Paper & Stitch</a> for the full tutorial.

  • Book Binding Tutorial

    This is a useful craft if you're interested in binding your own journal. You'll be able to choose from your own selection of papers and include any number of pages you'd like -- as long as the binding keeps it together, of course! Head over to <a href="http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2013/03/diy-book-binding-experience-journals.html" target="_blank">Modern Parents Messy Kids</a> for the full tutorial.

  • Washi Tape Journal

    These journals are given a little flair using a variety of different patterned tape. Head over to <a href="http://www.designlovefest.com/2012/08/make-it-18/" target="_blank">Design Love Fest</a> for the full tutorial.

  • Easter Ideas: Miniature Flower Baskets

    These lightweight <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/easter-ideas-tiny-flower-baskets_n_2902413.html" target="_blank">miniature flower baskets</a> are the perfect party favors for your Easter celebration.

  • Easter Ideas: Egg Hunt Bag

    These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/easter-ideas-egg-hunt-bags_n_2917237.html" target="_blank">compact totes</a> will come in handy on your Easter egg hunt search!

  • Easter Ideas: Piñata Eggs

    Smashing these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/easter-ideas-pinata-eggs_n_2945141.html" target="_blank">confetti-filled pinata eggs</a> can be a fun activity for your festivities.

  • Easter Ideas: Alternative Egg Crafts

    Ditch the typical egg-dyeing routine and try a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/easter-ideas-alternative-egg-designs_n_2901928.html" target="_blank">different approach to glamouring your eggs</a>.

  • Easter Ideas: Paper Crafts

    These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/easter-ideas-paper-crafts_n_2957631.html" target="_blank">adorable paper crafts</a> make for easy instant Easter decorations.

  • Easter Ideas: Bunny Crafts

    Head over to our list of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/easter-ideas-bunny-crafts_n_2963748.html" target="_blank">Easter bunny crafts </a>that you'll want to start working on ASAP!

  • Yarn Decoupage Vase

    Set the St. Patrick's Day mood with these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/st-patricks-day-decoupage-vase_n_2853027.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home" target="_hplink">charming decoupage vases</a>.

  • St. Patrick's Day Candle Centerpiece

    Make <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/st-patricks-day-ideas-candle-centerpiece_n_2854731.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home" target="_hplink">a candle centerpiece</a> with green split peas for St. Patrick's Day.

  • St.Patrick's Day Shamrock Barrette

    DIY <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/12/st-patricks-day-ideas_n_2853111.html" target="_hplink">felt shamrock barrette </a>to show off your spirit.

  • St. Patrick's Day Yarn Wreath

    A DIY <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/st-patricks-day-yarn-wreath_n_2831120.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home" target="_hplink">St. Patrick's Day yarn wreath</a> to start the celebration early.

  • Paint-Dipped Flower Vases

    Make these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/10/paint-dipped-vases-spring_n_2830169.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">paint-dipped flower vases</a> that remind us of spring.

  • Paper Photo Lanterns

    Turn paper lanterns into <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/paper-lanterns-photo-spheres-_n_2715981.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">personalized glowing photo spheres</a>.

  • Storage Tins

    Dress up your refrigerator with a touch of personality by adding these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/-refrigerator-storage-tin-magnets_n_2695726.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">DIY storage tin magnets</a>.

  • Snowflake Votives

    Relish the last few weeks of winter with these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/15/diy-snowflake-votive_n_2669265.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">charming snowflake votives</a>.

  • Painted Vintage Silverware

    Give your antique silverware a dose of personality by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/vintage-silverware-neon-paint_n_2663527.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">painting them with vibrant, neon colors</a>.

  • Reusable Fruit and Vegetable Bag

    Reuse vintage flour sacks and turn them into fruit and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/reusable-vegetable-fruit-bags_n_2536944.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">veggie bags</a>.

  • Paint Dipped Bud Vases

    Add some color to your space with these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/make-paint-dipped-bud-vas_n_2530606.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">paint dipped vases</a>.

  • DIY iPhone Cases

    Brighten up your winter by designing your own <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/21/a-diy-iphone-case_n_2517019.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">iPhone case</a>.

  • Retro Inspired Clock

    Make these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/20/retro-inspired-clock-diy_n_2515834.html?utm_hp_ref=crafts" target="_hplink">retro-inspired clocks</a> with wood shims.

  • Crepe Paper Fringe String Lights

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/crepe-paper-fringe-string-lights_n_2500859.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home" target="_hplink">Make these</a> for any festive occasion.

  • Paint Splattered Vases

    These are a throwback to the '80s and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/17/paint-splattered-vase-craft_n_2492400.html" target="_hplink">a blast to make.</a>

  • Wood Burned Sign

    Make this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/wood-burning-craft_n_2482645.html" target="_hplink">cute rustic decor </a>for your next get-together.

  • Painted Platter

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/painted-platter-craft_n_2476038.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost Home" target="_hplink">Update a simple</a> plate with glass paint.

  • Paint Dipped Pots

    This is a great way to use<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/paint-dipped-pots-craft_n_2449767.html" target="_hplink"> up those extra paint samples</a>.

  • Sequin Pillow

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/13/sequin-throw-pillow-craft_n_2449523.html" target="_hplink">This is made from</a> a forgotten piece of clothing.

  • Faux Malachite Hardware

    You'll never guess <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/faux-malachite-knobs-craft_n_2441673.html" target="_hplink">how these are made. </a>

  • Fabric Feathers

    You can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/fabric-feathers-craft_n_2448757.html" target="_hplink">use these for countless projects</a>.

  • Glitter Thumbtacks

    Turn <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/glitter-thumbtacks-craft_n_2434717.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">boring office supplies</a> into this.

  • Hand Warmers And Ice Packs

    Heat them up or cool them down -- these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/hand-warmers-ice-packs-craft_n_2425960.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">hot/cold packs</a> can do it all.

  • Linen Napkins

    Add some color to your table and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/linen-napkins-craft_n_2411487.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">never use a paper napkin</a> again!

  • Braided Rug

    Turn scrap fabric into a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/06/braided-rug-craft_n_2404200.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">bright and welcoming rug</a>.

  • Book Page Boxes

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/book-page-boxes-craft_n_2403665.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">Try this</a> instead of throwing out your old books.

  • Painted Votive Candles

    A craft project that will <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/painted-votive-candle-holders-craft_n_2398283.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">help you unwind</a>.

  • Snowball Wreath

    Stay festive after the holidays with this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/snowball-wreath-craft_n_2389757.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">wintry wreath</a>.

  • Pom Pom Bookmarks

    A simple way to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/01/pom-pom-bookmark-craft_n_2389135.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">never lose your place</a> in a book again!

  • Honey Bear Vases

    An <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/craft-of-the-day-gold-honey-bear-vases_n_2094626.html?utm_hp_ref=craft-of-the-day">adorable way</a> to repurpose these little guys!

  • Polka Dot Pillowcases

    These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/craft-of-the-day-polka-dot-pillowcases_n_2088768.html">spotted pillowcases</a> will help add some personal flair to your bedroom.

  • Add some flair to your fridge with these bright and colorful magnets.

    Add some flair to your fridge with these <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/craft-of-the-day-neon-wood-magnets_n_2088075.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">bright and colorful magnets</a>.

  • Magazine Page Heart Dish

    Reuse old magazines to create an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/craft-of-the-day-magazine-page-heart-dish_n_2083477.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">adorable and useful box</a> that holds jewelry or other small items.

  • Pumpkin Patch Fall Wreath

    Keep <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/craft-of-the-day-pumpkin-patch-fall-wreath_n_2077058.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">the pumpkin decor</a> going throughout this fall season.

  • Rustic Birch Bark Candles

    Add a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/craft-of-the-day-birch-bark-candles_n_2058318.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">natural look</a> to your fall table setting.

  • Indoor Mason Jar Herb Garden

    The perfect way to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/craft-of-the-day-indoor-mason-jar-herb-garden_n_2051655.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">bring your herbs indoors </a>this winter.

  • Color-Blocked Coasters

    Add a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/craft-of-the-day-color-blocked-coasters_n_2049875.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">splash of color</a> to your table and protect it at the same time.

  • Halloween Candy Printables

    These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/craft-of-the-day-halloween-candy-printables_n_2041213.html?utm_hp_ref=huffpost-home&ir=HuffPost%20Home">candy printables</a> were designed exclusively for HuffPost Home readers by Carla Chadwick from <a href="http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=b057a0c538f3356fa4383d50d05abcbf&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2012%2F10%2F29%2Fcraft-of-the-day-halloween-candy-printables_n_2041213.html%3Futm_hp_ref%3Dhuffpost-home%26ir%3DHuffPost%2520Home&v=1&libid=1351792186409&out=http%3A%2F%2Fprintablepartykits.com%2F&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2012%2F10%2F31%2Fcraft-of-the-day-color-blocked-coasters_n_2049875.html%3Futm_hp_ref%3Dhuffpost-home%26ir%3DHuffPost%2520Home&title=Craft%20Of%20The%20Day%3A%20Halloween%20Printables%20To%20Personalize%20Your%20Candy&txt=Carla%20Chadwick%20from%20Printable%20Party%20Kits&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_13517923719541">Printable Party Kits</a>!

  • Book Page Pumpkins

    These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/craft-of-the-day-book-page-pumpkins_n_2039041.html">festive decorations</a> are perfect for the entire fall season!

She prints her own letter cutouts, using the font Bodoni MT, onto thick paper or cardstock. She traces around the letters onto the old plates with a pen, then goes over the outline with a Sharpie and fills it in.

"This is an easy project, but you do need a steady hand," she says.

Others take the Sharpie idea to another level and — if the dishes are ovenproof — bake the marker on to make it permanent. Many crafting blogs call for drawing with a Sharpie and baking the ovenproof dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Christine Dinsmore, based in Portland, Ore., has used the Sharpie method for free-handing original drawings. On her blog, The Plumed Nest (www.theplumednest.com ), she shows how she drew original monster pictures onto plates for her children.

"I would often see cute little dishes for children but they were usually made out of plastic," Dinsmore says. She has tried to rid her kitchen of plastic "and didn't want to purchase any more."

That's when she got inspired to draw her own kid-friendly characters.

Dinsmore advises using non-toxic Sharpie paint pens, found at most craft stores and online. Also, she recommends cleaning plates gently, never with an abrasive sponge or dishwasher.

Other bloggers suggest ceramic or glass paint if the dish will have frequent contact with food.

Danielle Warner of the blog "The Yarn to Tell" (http://theyarntotell.wordpress.com ) recommends Delta PermEnamel paint for a more painted — rather than drawn — look. It's also available at craft stores or online.

CHOP IT UP

Sometimes, old china is no longer in one piece. But that shouldn't stop you from turning it into something special.

Do-it-yourselfer Ashley Hackshaw, editor of the blog "Lil Blue Boo" (www.lilblueboo.com ), was inspired to find a use for chunks of a broken Tiffany vase that she had received as a wedding gift.

"I couldn't bear to throw away the beautiful pieces, so I decided to start making them into useful items," says Hackshaw, of Palm Desert, Calif.

Her answer: key chains.

Once you find a piece you like, the main job is to drill a hole and smooth the edges. You can use a household drill, using a carbide drill bit to make the hole, and sandpaper and steel wool for the edges.

Make sure to wear protective eyewear and dip the piece in water to keep it cool, Hackshaw says.

Or you can use a rotary tool and attachment set, she says.

Then, just thread a key ring through the hole, and you have a meaningful and practical new use for an old chunk of china.

"One of my favourite gifts I've ever received was a keychain from my aunt that was made from one of my great-grandmother's old silverware pieces," Hackshaw says. "I knew it was something that I would keep forever and hand down to my daughter, and hopefully one day she would do the same. That's what gave me the idea about the broken vase."

BUILD SOMETHING NEW

If you have beautiful old pieces of china that you rarely use, why not turn them into something else?

Marceli Botticelli of Franklin, Mass., runs an Etsy store called "Tea Times Creations" (http://www.etsy.com/shop/TeaTimesCreations ). It offers tiered stands, made out of old china, that can be used as serving platters or "tidbit" trays for anything from jewelry to loose change or keys. She also sells jewelry and nightlights made out of repurposed table settings and teacups.

For the DIYer, Botticelli sells kits that come with drill bits, fittings and instructions. And if you're too sheepish to drill your own holes into your precious antique plates, she offers to do it for you.

One of the biggest challenges in repurposing old china for any project, she says, is finding the right piece.

"I am inspired by many different things," she says. "It can be the colour, the pattern, a theme."

One client brought her a plate with an extremely rare pattern; the client had been collecting china since she was 8, and had never found another plate like this one.

"I said a prayer, took a deep breath and I drilled into the plate," Botticelli said.

"Now it has a new lease on life and is not stacked with other plates in a closet anymore. It is a beautiful piece that can be enjoyed for many years to come."