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Clever Garden Markers and Plant Labels with Creative Flare

Making the Old New Again

Gardeners tend to be a frugal and crafty bunch. It just seems that gardening and do-it-yourself projects go hand in hand.

We don’t like to be wasteful and throw out something that could be reused. We feel bad that by the time anything goes into our Goodwill box… it should probably be thrown away, but it’s just hard to throw something away if someone else might be able to either use it or make something out of it.

So we enjoy the creativity and ingenuity of crafty DIY Gardeners, and periodically share cool things we come across.

Hope you enjoy these cute and quaint ideas for making garden markers using old, used or broken things.

Use Broken Pots As Garden Markers

By Caitlin on

If you have terra cotta pots that are a bit worse for wear, you don’t have to throw them out. You can use them to make gorgeous garden markers. This even works if you only have one pot that’s broken. Just take a few pieces and write the names of your flowers, herbs or veggies with magic marker so that it won’t come off or you could be really creative and paint the names on (you can create a bit of artwork on them as well). If you have several old pots that are not fit for planting, use them to label everything in your garden.1)

Source: Caitlin on

Editor’s Note: Great artsy fun project to do with kids too… getting them involved in writing on and coloring them… just be careful sharp edges of course.

Use Broken Pots As Garden Markers


Next: Reuse those Mason Jar lids for easy-to-see plant ID’s.

Reuse Those Mason Jar Lids

My sister in law, Sarah, came up with this one:

“I got really tired of plastic plant markers you could never see once the plants got high. Not only that but every year they got brittle and broke and had to be thrown away and replaced with new ones the following season, and they’re not cheap. So I looked around for a material that I was throwing away anyway and made these.

I tried them last year but the words wore off. Permanent ink wears off with the weather—that’s what I tried first. So does paint. That’s why you have to seal them. And the paint needs to be for metal. Other wise it just slides off.

An artist friend told me the kind of paint to get so that it wouldn’t rub off of the metal and how to seal them against the weather. There are several different brands of metal paint pens. I used a a Sharpie Oil Based Paint Marker Medium Point  and sealed it with Americana Multipurpose Sealer.”


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You can reuse these each year, adding any new ones. If you don’t have stakes, you can buy them, or make some from old 1″x2’s” or 1″x1’s” lumber. Or, you may be able to buy some from your local hardware store.

Just store them in a crate, ready for next year.

Sarah's plant markers - Mason jar lids on stakes.
Sarah’s plant markers – Mason jar lids on stakes.

We definitely like how big and bold these are. Not much point in having plant markers that you can’t read because they’re too small or covered up.

If you like the mason jar lid idea, (thank goodness there’s a productive use of all those used mason jars!), then here are more iterations of that.

These use juice lids, so whichever lids you have on hand are fine. This approach is another good one for making with children if you have them. You can cut out the pictures of the plants you order from the seed catalogs and glue those onto the lids. The images will likely fade in the sun though, so this may just be a one-season thing, but it looks cool!

Using a foam brush, glue each image to the juice lid using Mod Podge or other sealant. Spread a layer of sealant over the picture as well to give it a glossy sheen and protect it from the weather when it’s moved outdoors. From

This uses lids, coat hangers and decorative beads created by Diane of Now Diane said it just took her 15 minutes, so she’s fast… and she did use a dremel to drill the holes. But these look really cute. If you need more instruction, Diane lays it all out on her site.3)
Image from Diane of

Another novel idea: Broken silverware into plant markers up next.

Turn Broken Silverware Into Plant Markers

By Marcie on

Those old bent or broken spoons and forks don’t have to be tossed. Instead, think about turning them into hand stamped plant markers.

Now, we don’t tend to have many—or any—broke silverware around, but if you really like this idea, but didn’t have any, you could try yard sales and thrift shops.

This is a really neat project that not only does away with that old silverware, it gives you a really authentic and rustic looking garden area. This easy process actually stamps the names down into the metal so it will look like you’ve had custom markers created when in reality, you can create them yourself from silverware that was ready for the trash.4)

Turn Broken Silverware Into Plant Markers
Image by Marcie of

Source: Marcie on

We love this next one… hand painted rocks!

Hand Painted Rocks

From the lovely Aussie, Anne Gibson, on

This is one of my favorites. It takes me back to when my kids were younger and used to paint rocks, so it’s a great option for involving kids too. They always enjoy seeing their artwork adorning the garden, and gives them a sense of involvement beyond just helping.

The only problem with the stones is that they will often get hidden in high season by the foliage of the plants they’re intended to reveal. However, by then, most family members will already know what’s where, plus as the plants product, it becomes increasingly obvious by the vegetables produced as well.

There are many different ways to paint these, so break out the creativity… a good activity for a rainy (or wintry) day, when you can’t be out in the garden anyway.
Image from Sarah of
Image from Kristin Sellars of
Image from Anne Gibson of

Source: Anne Gibson,

Another cool tip? Seed packets under jars!

The Plant’s Own Packaging!


This is another favorite idea. Makes so much sense! You already have the plant image on the packet along with the instructional information on the planting and care.

This solves the problem of having hidden labels that are hard to see. You can also just reuse the stake and jar system in all subsequent plantings.

Source: MarthaStewart.com6)

Image from Anne Gibson of
Image from

Okay! These should get your creative juices flowing! Let us know what you’re using, or if you end up choosing one of these ideas, or something else.

Let’s get plantin’!

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