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Garden in a Box: Garden Markers

This week in our "Garden in a Box" series, we're tackling a must-have garden accessory. The garden marker!

Emily Saddler with the Jordan Valley Home & Garden Club has brought 5 DIY ideas to distinguish your garden in a box.


Garden markers are a great way to add both function and "whimsy" to a garden. There are many different ways to create them and the best way is really a matter of personal taste. Today we're checking out some of the more popular ways of creating DIY garden markers and trying them out to see how easily replicated the various ideas are. This was a big project so Cynthia and I teamed up to create a few of each type. We had a lot of fun making them and now you can too!

These projects range from the "super easy" to the "seriously?" end of the spectrum. I drew the short straw so my projects were on the Seriously?! end! We've ranked them below based on the ease (or pain) of creation.

PAINT STIRRER STICKS

Sidenote: See the damage last week's hail storm did to my zucchini plants? Grrrr! The good news is that while it looks less attractive, I'll STILL get more zucchini than a small heard of Rhinos can eat!

This is definitely the easiest of the projects to create. In fact, it's so easy it doesn't even require much in the way of instruction! Simply pick up some FREE paint stirring sticks at the hardware store, then take them with you to the craft store to pick out stickers that are the right size to fit on the stick. Paint the stick using regular craft paint or leftover house paint. Adhere the stickers then paint on a coat of non-yellowing polyurethane to protect the finish and keep the stickers from flaking off. That's it!

CHALKBOARD PAINT MARKERS

MATERIALS
Pre-made wood shapes
Chalkboard Paint
Clothespins
White "China Marker" or "Grease Pencil"
Optional: E6000 Glue and dowels, popscicle sticks or paint stirrers for stakes

This one is also pretty easy to create. We purchased the cute wood shapes from the craft store for $0.29 each then painted them with chalkboard paint. You can then glue the painted shape to the clothespin with E6000 glue (hot glue may melt if the temperatures climb) OR simply clip the shape with the clothespin and use the clothespin as a stand or to clip the shape directly to a garden structure, trellis or cage. You will write the words on the shapes with a white "China Marker" / "Grease Pencil" which can be purchased in the art section of craft/ fine art stores for less than $1.

VINYL & ROCK GARDEN MARKERS

As much as we'd LOVE to claim credit, this super awesome idea is from Jessica at CutesyCrafts (idea shared with her permission). She has a complete tutorial for the project on her blog which you can read HERE and she provides the files for cutting the shapes from vinyl which she offers as a free download- though you'd need a Silhouette Cameo or similar machine to cut the vinyl. If you don't have access to a craft cutting machine, you can make a similar version using stickers or by simply painting the vegetable shapes on the rocks. As with the Paint Stirrer Sticks above, coat with non-yellowing polyurethane to protect the vinyl, stickers or paint.

CLAY STAMPED GARDEN MARKERS

This project is a bit more challenging than the previous three but it's still easy enough that you can create it with the help of your children as I did- they loved rolling the clay and stamping the letters!

These darling garden markers are reusable and weather proof because the words are stamped into the soft clay before placing them into the oven to dry. Plan on making 18-20 garden markers with a 1lb. package of polymer clay. We used our metal stampers from our Spoon Garden Marker project, but you can also use rubber stamps too! The process is very simple!

MATERIALS:
1lb. Polymer clay
Knife
Rolling pin
Metal or Rubber stamps
Jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper
275 degree oven

Cut the clay to make 1 inch clay balls. Roll the balls into 5 inch logs.

Roll the log flat at a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the bottom at an angle for the marker to easily penetrate the soil.

Stamp the clay with metal or rubber stampers with what you plan on growing!

Place the soft clay markers on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes or until the clay stiffens. Let cool and place where needed!

STAMPED SPOON GARDEN MARKERS

This was the hardest of the projects to create but it was still perfectly doable- especially if you have ear protection! I first saw these on Pinterest and wanted to try my hand creating them. Most of the tutorials for the spoons used real silver spoons which are more malleable. I figured I'd see if it could be done with everyday steel flatware. It can!

These durable garden markers were fun to make and not as hard as I thought they would be. All it took was a few tools and a little muscle to pound the spoons flat. Great for working out any aggression! :) And I like that the words won't wash off with time and weathering.

MATERIALS
All you will need is:
Metal Stampers (I got mine off amazon for $15)
Old Spoons (second hand stores are great for this!)
Hammer
Permanent Marker (to fill in the stamped words)
Hard surface to hammer the spoons on ( I used an old paver)

DIRECTIONS:
Hammer the spoons flat on a hard surface that won't break.
Stamp your spoons with the names of veggies and herbs you are growing in your garden with hammer.
Color in the words with a permanent marker an wipe off leaving the words darkened and easier to see.
Place in garden where needed!

Whew! And with that, Cynthia and I are officially worn out. We had a great time creating and re-creating the projects you see above. We'd love to know which one(s) are your favorites!


For more gardening tips visit club.conservationgardenpark.org.

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