14 Fun DIY Garden Markers
Feeling crafty? I definitely am. One of my resolutions is to make every single gift I give this year, whether it’s a greeting card or a useful item. But I do other stuff besides gifts – I am very practical so I make stuff for the garden too. You don’t have to spend money on garden markers unless you just want to. You can make your own!
Have some Winter fun by doing a DIY project in preparation for Spring – making Garden Markers! It’s January, the time of year for clearing away clutter and deciding whether or not to have a yard sale (or maybe that’s just me?). While you’re clearing out, and dreaming of getting your hands dirty in the soil again, you can scout for things that could be used again and save them from the landfill.
Added bonus: Deciding what to put on your markers will help you decide on and get ready for seed planting. Since you can start seeding inside later this month here in Florida (if you don’t just buy plants from us) making great easy labels now for your seed cells will give you more time then to focus on planting.
Here’s some ideas that don’t take a lot of effort and are really useful!
Garden Labels for Wine Lovers
Do you garden so that you have fresh flavors for your meals to pair with your fav wines? Then these two garden markers are just for you.
Wine Bottle Garden Labels
How cute is this? Use a wine bottle – or a glass soda bottle – slap a cute label on it – and sink neck-first into the ground. Presto! Garden marker!
It will make your recycling can less heavy (yay!), and you get the benefit of having a pretty marker in your garden. If you have more bottles than markers (hey, no judgement from me!) you can make a few extra for a gardening friend.
Speaking of friends, this project is fun to do with a friend too. Perhaps you both save some wine bottles for a while, then you can do the labeling project together.
I find that waterproofing your labels work best – it’s a garden so they’re going to get wet. You can use a clear vinyl to cover your paper labels – like clear contact paper – or laminate printed labels and glue them on to the bottle. If you have a Cricut or Silhouette machine, you can make your own labels out of peel-and-stick vinyl and stick them onto the bottles. Whatever you decide, it’s sure to be cute!
Wine Cork Garden Labels
When you have wine, you usually have a cork. You can use that too! Either use a small dowel to poke into the corkscrew hole you already made when you drank the wine, or use some old forks to pierce the cork! Either way, the dowel, or fork, goes into the ground and the cork is your label! Not a lot of supplies needed for this one, but I definitely recommend permanent marker.
As an additional idea, I’ve seen some people paint the corks bright colors before labeling so that they’re easier to find in the garden, and/or a coat of glow-in-the-dark so they light up at night. Use a bright color paint, let it dry, coat of glow if you wish, then write your label name with a permanent marker. After it dries, I highly recommend a couple of coats of Mod Podge Outdoor to keep the labels looking bright and help protect from water damage.
Clothespin Garden Markers
Clothes Pins make great garden labels too, both for seed trays and for garden rows. They’re very adaptable! I don’t know about you but I always have random clothespins lying about. They’re so useful for so many things.
If you’re using them for seed trays, they’re most likely going to be getting wet often. I think painting the clothespins on the clip end is a good idea, and I would use nail polish in bright colors, and paint the tips, inside and out. It will help seal the wood and keep it from wicking up moisture out of the soil into the wood (your seeds need the water!).
There’s another option for clothespins too – you can paint them lovely colors, label them, and then clip them to a stick or dowel! Just like you see below. Then if you have a mixed bed or companion planted areas, you can have multiple labels on one stick.
Twig Garden Labels
Have a good-size twig, a permanent marker, and a sharp knife? Slice the twig off at the end and use that exposed wood to write your label.
You can make it more decorative with paint or whatever you like, but really this is all you need. As you can see in the picture above, it’s kind of like whittling – if you’ve ever done that – but it’s only one slice instead of many.
There’s a very simple one shown to the right.
Paint Stick Garden Labels
If you want some slightly larger stick labels that have a wider, flatter surface to decorate, free paint sticks from your local hardware store are your answer. Example is shown below.
On these, you have room to make the labels bigger, and more readable from a distance. I recommend painting these with bright colors, and if you’re artsy you can add small images of the crop to the stick. Paint and decorate both sides of these so that you don’t have to worry about where you’re standing in the garden to see the labels.
Also, if you have a handy vinyl cutting machine, you can cut out word labels and stick them on. Test it first to make sure the vinyl will stick to the paint. If not, you could use the same cutter to make a stencil so that your label looks neat and tidy.
Seed Packet Mason Jar Stakes
Another cute idea, do you have some extra jars lying around? (I know I do).
Staple your seed packet to your stake.
Then use a clear mason jar to cover your seed packet label and protect it from the elements.
One of the spaghetti sauce companies uses kind of square-ish Atlas Mason Jars, those are a great size for this project!
I would still paint the wooden spoon a coordinating color first. Then for all spoons add a coat of Mod Podge to the concave side of the spoon, and while it’s wet stick my image (cut to fit) onto it. Let it dry a little bit then add a couple more coats of Mod Podge Outdoor, allowing it to dry in between those coats.
Finally, you can also metal stamp some old metal spoons to make labels out of them – but that’s not a quick process and takes special equipment. I won’t show it here, but just wanted to mention the possibility!
Using Sticks for Garden Labels
Speaking of sticks, you can use any number of different kinds of sticks – both natural and manufactured – to make garden labels. There are endless possibilities. Because of size, some are more suited for your seed trays and small containers, others can be used for in-ground and larger container plantings. But really, they’re all useful anywhere in the garden.
Popsicle Stick or Tongue Depressor Garden Labels
Did you play with popsicle sticks when you were young? A pack of these, some paint, and some Elmer’s Glue would keep me occupied for hours back then. Alright, I confess, it still does! The great thing about popsicle sticks is that they are really versatile, and you can make a garden label as simple or as complicated as you want. If you have someone in the medical professions around, they might have some slightly larger tongue depressors that you could also use.
Another simple but impactful popsicle stick label idea shown below – that’s just some glue, paint, and probably some metallic permanent markers making those so cute!
Seed Packet Stake Garden Labels
Instead of painting your garden stake labels, you could use your seed packets.
Slip the packet onto the stake and glue to attach. To make the seed packet label last longer, cover the packet with clear contact paper, after it’s attached to the stake, making sure to seal the sticky edges together on all sides as best you can.
Spoon Garden Labels
Do you have a broken wooden spoon? Or just some old ones that got a bit funky and you’ve been thinking about throwing them out? Don’t toss them! Repurpose them!!
Wooden spoons make a great surface to paint and write on to label your beloved garden. As with the sticks, paint a bright color and use permanent marker to label.
For more advanced craftiness, any old spoon (wood, metal, etc) also supports decoupage – Mod Podge again (I’m obsessed with the stuff) – you could use the picture of what you’re growing from the seed packet and decorate the spoon with it, or draw your own picture if you like.
Painted Bricks, Pots, & Rocks
Finally, painting rocks or bricks or pottery is a great way to have more permanent labels.
Recently I’ve been enjoying making rock paintings. I do it for decoration, but also use inspiring words on some to remind me of the greatness that life has to offer. You can take this idea to the garden and use painted rocks to label your beds.
Acrylic paints or paint markers work best for this. You’ll want to protect your paintings with Mod Podge Outdoors (yes…I know…I said it again – they don’t even pay me.)
Finally, small terra cotta pots can be used to top stakes and label your plantings. You can either paint the whole pot or just write on it with paint or permanent marker.
Alright, I think there’s a bunch here to work with. It would be fun to mix and match your labels – a few rocks here, a few stakes there, a couple of wine bottles too. So, get to crafting, and show me your pics!
Thanks for reading, and Happy 2019!
Milk Jug and Plastic Garden Labels
Yep, you can get out the utility scissors and cut plastic pieces out of used milk jugs or empty plastic salad greens boxes and make labels. This is recycling at its finest.
I’m showing a milk jug example, but really any plastic packaging that is long enough to make stakes will do – plastic tub lids, plastic clamshell packaging from produce or other products, butter tubs, whatever!
You can use the bottom “dishes” as water catchers for small pots too. Win!
You can also use old bricks or pieces of them and paint a label on them as well. Concrete block can be painted on too! (not shown)
Can Lid Labels
Using a paint stick or other stake, and some string or floral wire, you can use can lids from open tin cans to make garden labels. You can even use old wire coathangers to make the stake and hanger for the lid label.
A permanent marker, grease marker, or paint marker will work for this (the grease marker might be hard if the can is coated in plastic). Make your label, or stick one on (like decoupage! Told you I was obsessed), and attach to a stake. I personally prefer to use a hot glue gun to attach (if not using a wire hanger to make the hook to hang the label on), and I like to have one on each side of the stake as well.
P.S. Images used in this article are from the internet, and I tried whenever possible to leave the site labels on the images for crediting purposes. I have done most of these in the past, but don’t have pictures of my own to share, that’s why I chose to use others!
Marissa – Writer for Shell's Feed & Garden Supply
I'm an over-educated, passionate, gardening and pet enthusiast, and I have found the perfect job! My writing is based on my studies in Biology and Health, and my experiences from gardening with my family as a child.
The great thing about gardening is that it is a life-long learning process. The many blunders and successes of my own gardening projects over the years have been invaluable to me. The late, great, J.C. Raulston once said, "If you're not killing plants, you're not stretching yourself as a gardener." Learn by doing, gain knowledge from the failures, but more importantly, relish the successes, (because they're delicious!) Thanks for reading!
Special thank you to Abby's Farms, where the photo on the left was taken. Shell's Feed & Garden Supply sponsors the chickens and chicken coops there. Visit their website here.