Learn how to make plant tags with a contemporary flair.
By Stephanie Rose
Garden Made (Roost Books, 2015) by Stephanie Rose blends crafts and gardening to present more than 40 different DIY projects that beautify both your garden and your life. Metal plant tags are a way to label various members of your garden — and they also add a sprinkle of homemade modern décor.
Photo by Stephanie Rose
The aisles of a hardware store showcase a cornucopia of weird and wonderful things that can be repurposed for use in the garden. A metal alphabet stamp kit is one of my favorite hardware finds. I can hammer out some frustrations and feed the need to organize my plants all at once. Metal washers make for permanent plant tags that appeal to a modern aesthetic.
• Black permanent marker
• Steel block
• 1/2-inch metal stamp set
• Steel wool
• 14-gauge galvanized wire
• Wire cutters
• Needle-nose pliers
1. Set the washer on the steel block. Use a permanent marker to mark the letter placement with small dots on the metal washer. Position the letters along the bottom edge of the washer (that is, the part closest to you) to ensure they read upright when hanging.
2. Don your earplugs (hearing safety first!) then choose a letter stamp and position it on the first dot. Hammer hard without moving the letter out of position for about ten strikes.
3. When the label is complete, color in the newly stamped letter with the marker and then scuff off the excess with steel wool; this will darken the letter and help it to stand out.
Photo by Stephanie Rose
4. Make a stake of metal wire for ground plants by cutting a length of wire six inches longer than you want it to stand above the soil. Bend the bottom of the wire with the needle-nose pliers into a V shape; this will create stability in the soil. Curl the top of the wire around the washer into a decorative curlicue, again using the needle-nose pliers.
5. Alternatively, use garden twine to hang metal-stamped plant labels from tree branches to mark the variety of a fruit tree. This becomes especially handy when growing grafted trees with different varieties of fruit on different branches.
At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.