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Easy DIY Plant Markers Made from Junk

Updated on July 15, 2015
The Dirt Farmer profile image

Jill volunteers at community gardens & learns about gardening through the MD Master Gardening Program & MD Master Naturalist Program.

Easy DIY Plant Markers

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


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

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.)

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.

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

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.

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.

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 Martha Stewart, 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 the plant's name on the bare bark and plunk the stick into the ground. Ta-da!

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

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.

© 2012 Jill Spencer

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

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

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      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!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

      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.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

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

    • profile image

      JoanieMRuppel54 23 months ago

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

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 23 months ago from Arkansas USA

      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 profile image

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      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 profile image

      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      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.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 23 months ago from Bend, OR

      Cute ideas! I will definitely try some.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

      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

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 23 months ago from USA

      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!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

      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.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 23 months ago from United States

      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

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 23 months ago from sunny Florida

      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

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 23 months ago

      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.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

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

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      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!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      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

    • DirtyWork profile image

      Emily Barnes 4 years ago from Austin, Tx

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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      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 profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

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

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      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

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      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

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      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.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      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 Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      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.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 5 years ago from Citra Florida

      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

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

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

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Very nice, thanks for the ideas!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

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

    • BongSantos profile image

      Jobb Gosamo 5 years ago from Philippines

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