Cutest Plant Markers Ever! A Tutorial!

Where are all the cute plant markers?    I found some really great types on etsy.   Cute and durable- check.  But, as I’m certain one babylady will be taking and hiding my markers, they also must be super inexpensive.  With as many varieties as I plant even the least expensive adds up.  Plus, the kind I have found don’t have all I want & need. 

I am adamant about having (and never find) varietal names.  I’m not satisfied with just “broccoli” or “kale.”  If I’m growing 6 kinds of lettuce or 3 kinds of broccoli or 4 kinds of carrots, the veggie name alone just doesn’t cut it.  “Great.  Tomato. Super. But What Kind?!? I planted 12 varieties. “ How will I ever remember what is what?   Additionally, I plan on saving seeds.  Not labeling a variety= Not-Good-Planning. 

Because I start most of my plants from seed I don’t have nursery markers.  Which isn’t a bad thing… the markers that come from the nursery are U-G-L-Y.  Boring. Yawn. There will be no ugly in my garden.  I already live next door to the shit shack…I don’t need ugly inside my yard too! 

I searched for either a tutorial or something to buy and was left empty-handed with a marker-less garden.   I then decided it was time to get my shrinky dink on.  Don’t lie- you know you love them too!   What is not to love?!  Color a cool picture, place in oven, watch it shrivel and warp and finally flatten…I mean really?!?  Suddenly you are 5 yrs old again but you don’t need your mom to help! 

Want to give it a try yourself?  Goodie!  I thought you might. 


You’ll need: shrinky dink paper (I used white), permanent markers, E-6000 glue, some form of thin string (I used a thin hemp cord) , some kind of  stick (I used dried bamboo sticks from our garden) and a protective coating. 

(I have read that you can also use #6 plastic instead of the shrinky dink paper but I have not tried it.  Read all about it here.) 


  • I cut out rectangles about 3.5″ by 2.5-3″.   Mine varied a bit but it doesn’t really matter unless you are a perfectionist (which I am not. At all.)
  • Be sure to read the instructions with your particular shrinky dinks.  It matters which side you write and color on as I found out the hard way.  Damn. (which, as a completely random aside, reminds me to tell you that listening to your 2-yr. old yell “oh damn” in the grocery store, while kinda funny….is also kinda embarrassing).  But back to business- apparently if you write with permanent ink on the incorrect side and then apply a protective coating, your ink will smear.  Big boo.  Luckily I got it right on most of them.
  • Using your permanent markers on the correct side, design your tag.  We mainly traced the pics on the seed packets and they turned out great.   Veggies like lettuce felt too hard to draw so we opted to trace slugs, ladybugs, shovels, chickens…whatever.



  • Don’t forget to punch a hole before shrinking!
  • Following the directions that came with your shrinky dinks, cook your awesome work.  They’ll shrivel and warp and freak you out that they might stick together forever. Actually they might. But we only lost 1 this way.



  • Remove from oven and immediately press on them to get them good and flat.  I used the side of a wooden mallet.



Looking good, eh?

  • Allow to cool.
  • For the part I’ll stick in the garden I used bamboo that I harvested from the yard last summer and dried.  I think they are about 8″ long.
  • Spray finished pieces with a coating of something to protect it a bit outside.  I used a this spray from krylon because it is what I had around, but I imagine any protective coating would be ok.  Outdoor modge-podge or a clear varnish.
  • I used thin pieces of black hemp cord and wrapped it around the stick many times securing it with E-6000 adhesive.

Allow to dry! 

Garden Awesomeness!


They are going to look so awesome in the garden!   If only they would stop the toddler-tag-stealing…

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12 Responses to Cutest Plant Markers Ever! A Tutorial!

  1. Julie says:

    So happy to find you here. Clearly I have a lot of back-reading to do. You are one driven gal. Keep it up!

  2. Elise Self says:

    Meg, So cute and I know you had fun making them. You may have trouble keeping me from taking them.

  3. ohbriggsy says:

    meg, these are awesome! i’m in complete agreement about needing the varietal names. how else can you replicate a good harvest? we had problems with our signs falling down a lot last year. bamboo, pressed down deep into the soil, seems like a good idea. anyway, i think i wanna try my hand at these bad boys at the next craftapalooza!

  4. Tengrain says:

    Nice tutorial!

    My mother used to use (cleaned) lids from all sorts of yogurt containers for us to make Shrinky-Dinks. I think I posted about it once on ReadyMade (back in the day).

    At anyrate, this is a great idea, I’m going to follow your lead on it.



    • Once I finish off the shrinkydink paper I have in my craftin’-stash-of-stuff I am going to give the recycled plastic route a go. I have a ton more things to label. I’m like an addict when it comes to labeling anything….once I get going I can’t stop.
      Glad you liked it!

  5. Libby says:

    I haven’t thought about shrinky dinks for years, but those tags look so cool! And probably re-usable, too? Great idea!

    • Thanks! They should be reusable…unless the ink gets messed up! I finished attaching the rest of the tags to the bamboo. I can’t wait to stick them in the ground tomorrow!
      I have friends over (including fellow can-jammer, ohbriggsy) and we were getting ready to make your orange pickle cake but we are messing about being silly instead! I shared the pickled crabapples with them though! Mmm!

  6. Pingback: Old Crow Watching Hungrily « Grow & Resist

  7. Brittney says:

    For some reason I can’t view the pictures in the tutorial. It sounds like an awesome idea though! Just found your blog through Sustainable Eats. Can’t wait to read more.

  8. bureinato says:

    Brilliant! so far I’ve really enjoyed the garden crafts you’ve made and love your mosaic raised planter as well.

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