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DIY Plant Markers Made From Junk

Jill likes cooking, writing, painting, & stewardship, and studies gardening through MD Master Gardener & Master Naturalist programs.

A Sharpie & a broken clay pot are all you need to make a simple plant marker for your garden.

A Sharpie & a broken clay pot are all you need to make a simple plant marker for your garden.

Easy DIY Plant Markers

Want to repurpose throw-away items and yard waste into trendy plant markers? Here are some simple ideas to try.

An old wine bottle cork, a bit of coat hanger wire & a Sharpie are all you need to make this cute plant marker.

An old wine bottle cork, a bit of coat hanger wire & a Sharpie are all you need to make this cute plant marker.

Recycled Materials to Use as Garden Markers

Wine Corks

Small, cute and simple to make, wine cork plant markers are particularly appropriate for kitchen container gardens and herb gardens. They require only two bits of junk—old wine corks and lengths of sturdy coat hanger wire.

First, cut coat hanger wire to the length desired with tin snips or wire cutters. Then, insert the lengths of wire into wine corks on which plant names have been written, and voilà—you're done!

Don't have an old coat hanger? Used chopsticks work just as well.

Skewers

If you've saved the plastic plant tags that came with your nursery pot plants, you can easily make sleek plant markers from metal kitchen skewers. First, cut the tags to desired shapes, then make a hole in each with a hole puncher. Fit the tags over the skewers' rounded handles, and your plant markers are ready to use.

Wine Bottles

Have a bottle tree in your garden? Then you definitely need matching plant markers! Simply stencil or paint plant names onto empty wine bottles with acrylic paint, then spray with sealant before fitting them over sticks.

Mason Jars

Great for marking garden rows, these sweet plant markers require only three items: a Mason jar, a paint stirrer and a seed packet. Place an empty seed packet over the end of a paint stirrer, stick the other end of the stirrer in the ground and top it off with a Mason jar to protect the packet from the elements. (Old silverware or rulers could also be used in place of stirrers.)

Don't throw out rusty skewers. Paired with plant tags, they make great tall plant markers.

Don't throw out rusty skewers. Paired with plant tags, they make great tall plant markers.

Wooden Spoons

Even if you take care of them, like wooden cutting boards, wooden spoons can only be used for so long before they're downright gross—even unhygienic. Don't toss them out though. Either plain or painted, they make awesome plant markers. Just add the plant name and/or picture to the spoon bowl. A bit of twine or raffia on to the handle looks nice, too.

Can Lids

To make can lid markers, punch or drill a hole in a used canning lid jar or a lid from a tin can. Hook the lid over a length of coat hanger wire fashioned into a hook, or attach it to an old shish kabob skewer. Decorate with beads, charms or other things that strike your fancy.

Complete directions with pictures for making can lid markers out of can tops and coat hangers may be found at In My Own Style.

Paint Stirrers

Because paint stirrers are large, they make great plant markers in the vegetable garden. Simply write, stencil or paint plant names on clean or used ones, sticking the unpainted ends into the ground.

Clothespins

You can make clothespin plant markers in a snap. Just clip clothespins with plant names written on them onto twigs, paint stirrers, shims or lengths of coat hanger wire.

All this Mason jar plant marker requires is a bit of assembly.

All this Mason jar plant marker requires is a bit of assembly.

Silverware

If you have lots of old silverware or find it cheap at a yard sale, you're in luck. There are a number of super easy ways to use old forks, spoons and knives to mark your plants. Here are some of the easiest.

  • Write plant names with a Sharpie on the handles of old forks and knives.
  • Spear wine corks with plant names written on them with the tines of forks.
  • Affix hand-drawn pictures or pics from seed packets onto spoon bowls. Write plant names and decorate with twine or raffia as well if desired. The tutorial at Artsy VaVa recommends iced tea spoons because they have longer handles.
  • Use fork tines to hold seed packets or plant name cards made from old can lids or used canning jar lids.
This cork plant marker has an old fork as its stem.

This cork plant marker has an old fork as its stem.

Rocks

Painting, stenciling or writing on flat rocks with a marker is another easy way to label plants. Feeling creative? Use one rock for each letter of the plant's name, or arrange rocks into interesting patterns, like paw prints, bare feet or flowers.

Twigs

This idea for a rustic twig plant marker comes from Urban Gardens, and it couldn't be easier. Simply find a stout stick, preferably one that has a shape you like, strip off a bit of its bark, write or stamp the plant's name on the bare bark and plunk the stick into the ground. Ta-da!

Footprint plant markers made from garden stones and river rocks are fun to make.

Footprint plant markers made from garden stones and river rocks are fun to make.

Clay Pots

Not sure what to do with cracked terracotta pots? Break them into shards, write plant names on the pieces and use them to mark your plants.

Clay pots with plant names and/or pictures on them also make cute plant markers. Set large upturned pots at the end of the rows in your vegetable garden, or place small clay pots over twigs or the sticks from Popsicle and corn dogs to create markers for container plants.

Shards of broken clay pots are easy to turn into plant markers.

Shards of broken clay pots are easy to turn into plant markers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Jill Spencer

Comments

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 17, 2015:

Hi Susan, Joanie and Scribenet, Thanks for the warm wishes. I appreciate them very much. All the best, Jill

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2015:

Congrats on Hub of the Day. This is a nifty idea. Too bad the growing season is over for me but I shall save some odds and ends to make interesting markers...so cool!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 16, 2015:

Sorry, Roberta! I didn't mean to call you Robert!

Thank for commenting, Kristen. Hope you find some funky items around the house to make cool plant markers from. Okay, it took me so long to write that. My computer is wonky tonight.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 16, 2015:

Hi Robert. Thanks for dropping in again. I think the cork markers would be a good gift. Hadn't thought of that!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 16, 2015:

Hi letstalkabouteduc. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. It's nice to meet you here on HP. --Jill

JoanieMRuppel54 on November 16, 2015:

Love all these ideas! The best part is the avid gardener would have most of these items on hand. Thank you!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on November 16, 2015:

I knew there was a reason I was saving that broken clay pot! Actually, I like all these ideas for labeling plants. Very creative, very nice. Congrats on Hub of the Day honors today!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on November 16, 2015:

Jill, what clever ideas you have. I'll keep them in mind for next year's container patio garden. Well done! Congrats on HOTD!

RTalloni on November 16, 2015:

Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award! Glad to see it's being highlighted just before the giving season because gardeners would like to have a set of hand made markers any time of years.

McKenna Meyers on November 16, 2015:

Cute ideas! I will definitely try some.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 16, 2015:

Hi Chitrangada Sharan and Donna! Appreciate your kind comments. Thanks so much for taking time to read and respond to the hub. All the best, Jill

Donna Herron from USA on November 16, 2015:

Hi Jill - I love the idea of using pottery shards as plant markers. I have some broken tiles that would be perfect to use. Making these markers will be my winter project so I'll have them ready for spring planting. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!! Congrats on your HOTD!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 16, 2015:

Congratulations for the HOTD! All these are cute and creative ideas and what a wonderful way to reuse and repurpose discarded items! Great hub and thanks for the suggestions.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on November 16, 2015:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan and Patricia, Thanks for stopping by! I've been doing these markers for a couple of years now. Except for the packets under Mason jars, the pot shards last the longest. The sticks, paint stirrers and corks have to be rewritten every year. My garden is just about done, too, GT. It's cleanup time. (: All the best, Jill

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 16, 2015:

Another winner, Jill. I do not have some of my things so well marked in my garden but a friend recently taught me what a good idea it is to do so.

And now a clever way to make it happen.

Congrats on HOTD....Angels are once again on the way to you ps

Claudia Mitchell on November 16, 2015:

How did I miss this one Jill?! Great ideas, especially the clay pot one. I just dropped a couple that I was putting away for the winter and tossed them. Congrats on the HOTD! My garden is pretty much closed down for the year.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 28, 2015:

i like the idea using the mason jar to cover up. Because the marking doesn't comes off easily

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 05, 2013:

These are fun to use (in moderation) and a great way to repurpose old junk. Thanks for commenting, Roberta! --Jill

RTalloni on September 04, 2013:

I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but the cork on a fork would rate pretty high. Good job in showing how to think outside the box for plant markers!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 04, 2013:

Thanks, DirtyWork! I made a little path of rock footprints through one of our flowerbeds. It cracks me up. (: Appreciate your taking the time to comment. Take care, Jill

Emily Barnes from Austin, Tx on September 04, 2013:

Great page! I think the rocks making the foot is just adorable!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on June 01, 2013:

Hi FlourishAnyway! I like that idea, too, although the ones I made didn't look as good as the ones I saw online. (I didn't have any beads.) If I could find a few good sticks, I'd put some of those w/plant names on them in our native plant garden. Who'd think tin can lids would be easier to find! Glad you stopped by--Jill

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 29, 2013:

Very frugal. I especially like the can lid idea. I just may try this!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on December 03, 2012:

Thanks, Kathy! I enjoyed making these for our garden. (:

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on December 02, 2012:

So many great ideas here - I am definitely going to try some of these next year :)

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 21, 2012:

Glad you like them, Connie, and thanks for the votes. I've been collecting stones to make paw prints throughout our garden beds. I'm hoping the dog will follow them instead of stepping all over the flowers like he usually does. (: Happy gardening! --Jill

Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on October 21, 2012:

Jill these are great ideas! I love the garden stones, the forks and the mason jars. I'm bookmarking this for when I plant in the spring. These are going to make my garden that much cooler! Thanks for sharing these ecofriendly ideas. Voted Up across the board

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 19, 2012:

Hey Carol! Why not try them in your potted herbs? I think the cork ones look really cute in a pot. Glad to hear from you, Jill

carol stanley from Arizona on October 19, 2012:

I have had fun looking these over. Big problem is that I need to have a garden. I am in the mental stages of that and will keep you posted. All very cute.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 18, 2012:

Hi chefsref! Tongue depressors and Popsicle sticks are a great idea.

Pavlo, I think you're right. Too many different kinds of repurposed plant markers would look sort of "junky," if you'll pardon the pun!

Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on October 18, 2012:

Interesting and very picturesque! I believe it is pretty difficult to make all your garden in one style and to décor it with such ideas.

Lee Raynor from Citra Florida on October 18, 2012:

Hey Jill

Good ideas all. I also use tongue depressors in the veg garden, they're cheap on eBay and they decompose after a year or so. The worst I've found are Burpee's plastic markers, they became brittle in a single gardening season and left dozens of pieces of white plastic scattered around my veg garden

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 18, 2012:

Hi Brie! Glad you liked 'em! Thanks for commenting. (: Jill

Brie Hoffman from Manhattan on October 18, 2012:

Very nice, thanks for the ideas!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 18, 2012:

Thanks, BongSantos. Nice to meet you, too! I had a lot of fun doing this hub. --Jill

Jobb Gosamo from Philippines on October 18, 2012:

It's green, creative, and useful. You do have the touch and the mind. Happy to have stumbled on you.