DIY Creative Garden Labels Using These 9 Common Household Items

Upcycling can be a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way to approach projects around the home. There are few better places to implement upcycling than the garden, from reusing leftover mail packaging to using free wooden pallets for garden structures. Home gardeners interested in growing their own food or becoming more self-sufficient can utilize existing materials to keep their gardens both organized and green.

If you've ever repurposed garden tools in the home, why not do the reverse and upcycle common home materials in the garden? For the creative DIYer, custom plant labels can keep track of your herbs and veggies while adding a thrifty, chic touch to your garden setup. And there's no shortage of ways to get started — here are just a handful of our favorite plant-label DIYs that will add the finishing touches to your plantings.

Reuse metal can lids

TikTok user @shedoredo creates rustic, farmhouse-style garden labels with can lids in this cute DIY. They use metal stamps to gently hammer letters into a metal can lid, adding and wiping away black paint to ensure the new label is readable. Then, they use a nail to poke holes into the lid and thread wires through the holes to secure the label to a twig.

If you don't have metal stamps on hand, there are plenty of other ways to make labels out of lids. While this DIYer uses can lids that have been removed with a can opener, you could easily swap in a jelly or mason jar lid to cut down on time here.

Use laundry jugs or other household plastics

TikToker @corvid.the.witch reuses household items while cutting down on plastic waste with this simple yet effective DIY. They cut strips of plastic out of an old laundry detergent jug, clean the strips, and write plant names directly onto the strips with a Sharpie. The resulting plant labels can weather a rainy growing season, and cost a fraction of the price of store-bought plastic markers. Laundry detergent jugs are far from the only source of household plastic you could upcycle with this DIY — if properly cleaned, you could reuse other items like SOLO cups, cat litter jugs, or takeout food containers in a similar way.

Revamp old spoons for the garden

At one point or another, all of us have had a spoon in the silverware drawer that's the last of its original set or is otherwise mismatched. @prelovedprojectsshop presents a solution to this perennial problem by making garden markers out of stray (or in this case, thrifted) spoons. They paint the top of each spoon black and use a metallic marker to write plant names onto them once dry. Then, they bury the spoon handles next to each plant, leaving the top of the spoon peeking out of the soil. For a variation on this DIY, try using metal stamps on the spoons in a similar manner to the jar lid DIY above.

Repurpose broken blinds

Broken blinds become something more than just an eyesore with this clever DIY from TikTok user @parkerpastures. They simply cut old blinds into the shape of garden markers and use a grease pencil to write out the labels. As @parkerpastures points out, these materials are easily thriftable and can be reused season after season. If you've been staring at partially broken blinds for a while now, or are just considering updating your window treatments, you can rest easy knowing your old blinds won't go to waste.

Make use of broken or old planters

TikTok user @petitegardeninspirations shows us one way to get creative when you run out of store-bought plant markers. They cut an old plastic pot from a previous plant purchase into thin strips and use a grease pencil to write in plant names. Quick and easy!

If you find yourself with lots of ceramic pots, don't fret if they break: plastic planters aren't the only type of planter you can upcycle into garden markers. No matter what kind of planter you have on hand, you can put it straight back into the garden for its second life with some smart upcycling.

Create cute rock markers

For a stable, solid plant marker that could be made from existing yard materials, try this DIY from TikToker @sarah.hayroyan. They use river rocks from a craft store, but you could substitute rocks from around the garden with a little cleaning and a keen eye for flat surfaces. They begin by painting the rocks with solid colors and letting them dry before decorating and writing plant names with markers. Then, they seal the rocks with acrylic spray so that they remain waterproof once placed in the garden. This is a bright, colorful way to organize your gardening — and maybe impress some garden-party guests while you're at it.

Upcycle wine corks

TikToker @erinabeeats makes simple, effective garden markers with wine corks in this DIY. They write plant names on the corks, then place the corks onto bamboo skewers and stick them in planters. If you're feeling especially sustainable, you could even reuse bamboo skewers from your latest backyard barbeque for this DIY — just be sure that any tasty food remnants that might attract critters to your plants are cleaned off first. This kitchen object DIY is perfect for a beginner crafter who may not have fancier materials stocked up.

Utilize spare paint sticks

Home-improvement fans will likely have more than one extra paint stick lying around the garage, even if their latest paint job is long since complete. TikTok user @jenwoodhouse upcycles those spare paint sticks with this neat DIY. They spray-paint all of the paint sticks black, let dry, then write in plant names using a white paint marker. This method allows you to write in plant names in larger text than the previous DIYs, since the paint sticks are larger than some other upcycling materials.

Reuse old school or office supplies

Anyone who's used plastic dividers or folders for school or work knows that they can take a lot of wear and tear over time. As a new semester or quarter starts and you replace battered office supplies, hang onto those old organizers: TikTok user @backyardgardener has a handy use for them. They cut old file dividers into stake-shaped strips and write plant names on directly with Sharpie. One folder or divider generates dozens of free plant markers, saving you money at the garden center.