Finding plant markers that can withstand our punishing Ontario winters and survive the harsh summer sun has been a challenge. And I wanted them to be attractive, easy to make and reusable year after year. Is that too much for a gardener to ask? I hope not, because they also had to be inexpensive…I needed lots of them! Luckily, I stumbled onto these easy DIY plant markers using copper sheet metal and wire to make my own plant markers. In just a few evenings, I made a pile of these copper plant markers. The best part… they’re sure to last. All except for the ones I accidentally ran over last summer with the lawn mower!
- 36-gauge copper sheets
- 12-gauge wire
- Paint marker, extra fine, black
- Colored paint marker (optional)
- Transparent tape
- Clear enamel spray
- Side cutting pliers
- Small rubber or plastic roller (optional)
- Soldering gun or mini torch (larger torches are not recommended for this small project)
- Solder and flux
- Incombustible soldering surface
- Fine sandpaper, 220-grit
- Fine steel wool
Make your own paper shapes and cut about 1/8 inch from the edges. Tape them to the copper sheet metal. Cut the copper along the outline of each shape using a scissors. Sand sharp edges. Punch any holes desired with a paper punch. Flatten each shape with a roller, rolling pin or even a glass bottle on a smooth surface.
Place the copper shapes on a soft pad (such as a dish towel) and write plant names with a blunt pencil. Use a black paint marker to write within the indents, making the names more prominent. Decorate the edges if desired.
Clean shapes and wires with steel wool or sandpaper before soldering.
Cut wire with side cutting pliers to desired length (mine are about 10 inches). Solder wire to the back of each marker. Apply flux first and heat until it bubbles. Then touch the solder to the side of the wire until it flows. Solder on both sides of the wire, holding the wire in place until it cools.
Spray the markers with clear enamel to prevent tarnishing. Now you're ready to add them to your garden!