Custom Garden Markers

This is our second full summer in the house, and the second summer I have planted a veggie garden.  Last year I used the small raised bed the previous owners had built and only planted a few different varieties of peppers.  While I grew up with a mom who planted a garden almost every year, I wasn’t sure how much of her green thumb had rubbed off on me, so I wanted to start small!  This year we expanded the garden a bit (really we moved it to where some rose bushes were growing taking over the side of our house) and I’ve added some tomatoes and strawberries to the mix!  I also planted a few herbs in some pots!!!

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Since I had a lot more than peppers this year, I wanted to find a way to mark what was what without just leaving the little plastic marker that comes in the little pots when you buy them from the store!  Plus, this way when I am in the middle of cooking a meal and decide I need something, I can send the MR out to grab it and he could easily locate it!  I’ve seen several variations of plant markers, everything from Paint and Popsicle Sticks to empty beer bottles, but I knew I wanted something simple, clean and more importantly, something I could reuse year after year.  So off to Google I went in search of plant markers!  I found some nice metal ones at Gardeners and decided to work with those!

For this project I used:

Large Steel Plant Markers

Permanent Vinyl in Turquoise

Clear Transfer Tape

My trusty Silhouette Cameo

The materials I used for this project: steel garden markers, permanent turquoise vinyl, clear transfer tape and my Silhouette Cameo.

The materials I used for this project: steel garden markers, permanent turquoise vinyl, clear transfer tape and my Silhouette Cameo.

To start I opened up my Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software to draw up my markers.  I created a little template on the page the same size as the nameplate of the marker so that I could ensure my text would fit on it without any problem.  The hardest part for me was deciding which font to use (especially since with your Silhouette, you can use ANY font you have on your computer, pretty cool for Silhouette to allow that if you ask me!), but I ultimately decided on one that had more of a hand written look to it.  I didn’t want to waste vinyl so instead of leaving the names in neat little rows, I just positioned them all so that I could easily cut around them when they were finished.  When I was happy with my design, I sent them to my Cameo to be cut!

First I created my design in the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software.

First I created my design in the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software.

Next I sent it to the Cameo to be cut.  Since I was cutting so much and it spanned the entire width of the vinyl, I chose to just load the vinyl directly into the machine instead of using my cutting mat.

Next I sent it to the Cameo to be cut. Since I was cutting so much and it spanned the entire width of the vinyl, I chose to just load the vinyl directly into the machine instead of using my cutting mat.  I love this option!

After it was done cutting it was time to weed out all the vinyl that wasn’t necessary.  With a project like this one with lots of smaller words, it’s important to go very slowly as you pull back the big piece of vinyl to ensure you don’t peel up any of the smaller letters or tittles of the “i”s.  Also, don’t forget to weed out the centers of the “o”s, “b”s and so fourth!  Once the weeding is done I cut all the different names apart to get ready to transfer them to the metal nameplates.  I had considered laying over one big piece of transfer tape and then cutting, but since most transfer tapes and papers can typically be used more than once (and it was a personal project) I separated them first and then cut a couple smaller pieces of transfer tape that I could reuse.

When it was done cutting, I slowly peeled back the larger outer portion of the vinyl that I didn't need.

When it was done cutting, I slowly peeled back the larger outer portion of the vinyl that I didn’t need.

Once the outer portion of the vinyl was removed I still needed to weed out the insides of the letters, like from the "o"s, "b"s and "e"s.

Once the outer portion of the vinyl was removed I still needed to weed out the insides of the letters, like from the “o”s, “b”s and “e”s.

While the hook from Silhouette is good for weeding bigger pieces, I have found that using some fine point tweezers is fantastic for weeding out smaller more intricate pieces.

While the hook from Silhouette is good for weeding bigger pieces, I have found that using some fine point tweezers is fantastic for weeding out smaller more intricate pieces.

Everything weeded and ready to be cut.

Everything weeded and ready to be cut.

All the different veggies cut up and ready to be transferred.

All the different veggies cut up and ready to be transferred.

Once everything was ready, I applied a piece of transfer tape to one of the designs and burnished it to ensure the transfer tape adhered to the vinyl.  I peeled it back slowly and then applied it to the nameplate.  I burnished it once more when it was on the nameplate so that the vinyl would stick, and then once again, slowly peeled back the transfer tape.  I repeated these steps on each of the designs until all had been transferred.

Apply transfer tape to you design.

To begin transferring my designs to the markers, I first applied transfer tape to you design.

Once I finished burnishing I slowly peeled back the design.  While in this example I lifted the transfer tape off the backing, sometimes it's easier to flip the design over and lift the backing from the transfer tape.

Once I finished burnishing I slowly peeled back the design. While in this example I lifted the transfer tape off the backing, sometimes it’s easier to flip the design over and lift the backing from the transfer tape.

Next, I burnished to ensure the transfer tape had completely adhered to the vinyl so that I could move it to my marker.

Next, I burnished to ensure the transfer tape had completely adhered to the vinyl so that I could move it to my marker.

I placed it on my marker and tried to center it as much as possible.

I placed it on my marker and tried to center it as much as possible.

I burnished it again to ensure it had completely adhered to the metal nameplate.

I burnished it again to ensure it had completely adhered to the metal nameplate.

And finally to finish I slowly removed the transfer tape, being careful to watch for any letters that hadn't completely adhered to the nameplate.

And finally to finish I slowly removed the transfer tape, being careful to watch for any letters that hadn’t completely adhered to the nameplate.

One of the finished nameplates ready to be put on the wire legs.

One of the finished nameplates ready to be put on the wire stakes.

When all the name plates were ready I pushed the stakes through their respective holes to get them ready for the garden. Once that was complete, it was out to the garden!  I replaced each of the plastic markers from the store with each of my plant markers.  When they we’re all placed I stepped back to admire my work and I was very happy with how they turned out!

All of the nameplates ready to have their metal stakes inserted.

All of the nameplates ready to have their metal stakes inserted.

I lined up the wires to their respective holes and slid the nameplate up the stake.

I lined up the wires to their respective holes and slid the nameplate up the stake.

When the nameplate reached the top of the stake, it popped into place.

When the nameplate reached the top of the stake, it popped into place where the was a slight bend in the wire so that it could be more easily viewed from above.

The markers have been performing their duties wonderfully for a couple weeks now, and since I first put them out we have had a couple of really crazy thunderstorms.  I didn’t really think much of them during the storms, but now that I am writing this post it made me think of how well they stood up to even a crazy (tornado warning included) thunder storm!  They look great and I am loving how they make my little garden seem so organized and official!  The MR and I can’t wait until we can start harvesting so that we can try our hand at making home made salsa and spaghetti sauce!

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Do you have a garden this summer?  Have you found any fun creative ways to identify what is what among all your different plants?

I’d love to hear all about it!

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6 thoughts on “Custom Garden Markers

    • I simply measured the tag and then used the box drawing tool and created one the same size as my marker on the screen. Once I was done creating all the labels, I simply deleted my box template before cutting!

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