When I have an idea for a new craft, I always look around my house to see if there is anything I can reuse or repurpose to avoid having to buy something new. It’s always great to find that I can use something that might otherwise have just gone in the garbage., no matter how small. I figure that every bit counts in reducing waste! When I thought of making plant markers, I looked around and saw some chopsticks that had come with a takeout order and thought they would be perfect for the job!
I love being surrounded by plants and flowers and have always admired those who can grow things and are able to identify plants easily. Sadly, in our house, we are all brown thumbs! Recently though, I have been trying to change my brown thumbs to green by trying my hand at actually keeping some plants alive for longer than a few weeks or months.
I think my lack of success with plants has much to do with how forgetful I am. When I come upon the poor, brownish-looking forgotten things, I’m always somehow a little shocked that they’re in such a state. Really, complete plant incompetence here.
Happily, I am changing my ways! My English ivy is thriving…several pots of it even. I’ve been doing little snippets and new little baby ivy plants are growing. And now, here I am growing things from seed. Well, the success of that remains to be seen. Having ordered these little packets of seeds from Etsy, I realised I would be in need of some plant markers to keep track of all my new, confusing-looking plant matter. For I know, as soon as I’ve got those little guys in the garden, I’ll surely be pulling them out as weeds if I don’t have anything to mark their place and help me remember where I’ve put them!
The seeds I ordered are all types which will hopefully produce lovely flowers for drying to be used in wreaths and as photo accents: River Statice, Pincushion, Baby’s Breath and Bunny Tails…they’ve all got lovely scientific names too, but I had a feeling most of them were so long they wouldn’t fit on my tags. Anyway! I’ve already got little seedlings of the Baby’s Breath and Statice so things are moving in the right direction. The raccoons round here have not been helping much though, so I’ve been bringing all the various pots in at night and then back out in the morning for lots of sun. If I forget and leave them inside, next thing I know the baby is elbow-deep in dirt and I’ve got to start all over. Between babies and raccoons, it’s been a bit of a challenge!
Back to the garden markers (which is likely what you’re here for) – they are quite simple to make up. I would say the trickiest bit is getting the little screw into the chopstick – it helps to poke a hole first and then screw in the eyelet with pliers. I painted some of the chopsticks but also left some in their natural state and I think they look quite lovely both ways!
I already had all the metal stamping tools and brass blanks so decided to use those for the identifying tags. If you’ve not tried metal stamping before, it is quite easy to do, so give it a try! Though it does add up to buy the tools required, they do come in handy for lots of other craft projects and for making last minute gifts. I think the plant markers turned out quite nicely and they do the job of keeping track of my new plants, which is the main thing!
How to Make Repurposed Garden Markers
What you will need:
- Wooden chopsticks
- 25mm brass stamping blanks – make sure to buy ones with a little hole in them
- 8mm x 4mm eyelet screws
- 6mm Jump rings – such as are used in jewelry making
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Metal stamping tools: steel stamping block (mine is the small Impressart 2″ block), Metal stamping hammer, 5/32″ metal letter stamps
- Stamping enamel
- Paint + brush- optional: you can leave yours natural if you prefer
- Optional: varnish or sealant – I didn’t use any, but for markers used outdoors, it helps to keep wood in better condition
Tutorial: How to make Repurposed Garden markers
I hope that this tutorial was clear enough, but do let me know if you try these out and have any questions.
Best wishes and happy planting!