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Label your herb garden and other plants with these super cute and easy DIY garden markers.
With the coming of spring, we've been out in the garden a lot more lately. We have already planted our vegetable garden, and we fixed up a new area of our yard for our new herb garden. I'll likely be using a lot more herbs as I start to focus more on making more types of homemade soaps, lotions, and other natural cosmetics and things.
I had already been planting my own herbs for years now, but after adding a shaded area for our cars, we planned out new areas for planting. We fenced in our vegetable garden to keep our dog and hens out, and have set up most of our herbs in a sunny spot near the house.
Having a cute new herb garden, I wanted to make some equally cute garden markers to help identify which herbs are which. I already know which ones are which, really, but I thought that it would be a good learning experience for my 6 year old son. Plus, I just like the way the garden markers look in the garden.
I've made garden markers several ways in the past, and will likely share some other ideas for upcycling materials to make other types of garden markers eventually, but these have been my favorite so far.
These DIY garden markers use polymer clay. While polymer clay isn't food safe, we are only using small bits of clay for these markers. The clay doesn't go directly into the soil, so I don't have a problem using it in this way. If you have access to a terra cotta clay and a kiln to fire your tags, though, you could make some “greener” and prettier tags. Unfortunately I don't have that option, so I used what I could. 🙂 I will say that hese hold up really well in the garden over time.
DIY Garden Markers
You will need:
- Metal skewers for kebabs or other metal wire (with a diameter of around 3-4mm)
- Polymer clay
- Rolling pin
- Parchment or wax paper
- A toothpick or bamboo skewer for writing on the clay
- An oval cookie cutter, knife, or other round/oval recipient to use as a cutter.
How to make the DIY garden markers:
- Preheat the oven to the temperature setting for your particular polymer clay.
- Knead the clay to soften it and make it workable. This is the hardest part of this tutorial. 😉 I found that it was easiest to roll it out with a rolling pin, rolling it between layers of parchment paper, to get it into thinner pieces rather than trying to knead thicker pieces of the clay.
- Once the clay is workable, roll it into a thin sheet. I made mine around 4mm thick.
- Cut the clay into round or oval shapes. I find that the easiest way to get smooth edges is to use some sort of cookie cutter. If you don't have the right shaped cookie cutter, you can either make your own cookie cutter by forming the shape from strips of metal cut from beverage cans, or you can use something you find around the house. I used the lid of a small stick deodorant container, and it worked well. (I also made a cookie cutter from a can of coconut water, and it worked equally well.) 🙂
- Using a toothpick or a skewer with a pointed tip, write the names of the plants in the clay. Work little by little, removing any clay that comes off onto the point. I find it easier to lightly scratch in the name, and then clean it up by passing over the letters once again. (If you have small rubber stamp letters, you can stamp the words into the clay instead.)
- Using the point of the skewer, make a hole in the top of the clay oval for hanging the markers once they are ready.
- Bake the clay disks in the oven for the amount of time specified for your particular polymer clay.
- For the base of the markers, I repurposed the metal skewers that came with some pre-prepared kebabs from our butcher. They were actually perfect for this purpose because the end meant to be the handle of the skewers was coiled in a way that was perfect for hanging the clay disks later on. If you don't have skewers like mine, you can use metal wire with a diameter of around 4mm and cut it into sections. Using pliers, carefully roll the end over in such a way that you can hang your clay disks on the wire, leaving the other end straight for sticking into the soil.
- Once the clay disks have finished cooking and have cooled, you can carefully hang them on the wires. If the hole is a little small you should be able to make it slightly bigger with the point of a scissors or something similar. I try to keep it somewhat tight so that the tags don't fly off the wire. That said, I've been using some of these for several years now and they have held up really well, and I haven't lost any disks.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
Do you make your own garden markers? I'd love to hear your great ideas for organizing your garden!