Garden Markers You Can Make




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

With all my experimenting with concrete and what can be done with it, one of my favorites is the garden markers or signs I make using new concrete forms or, using old, broken chunks of concrete than can be found when a sidewalk or patio is torn up, for example.  I think the forms made are very attractive additions to the garden, patio, walkways, or anyplace your imagination can take you.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: First Find Some Concrete Pieces

These pieces are from a neighbors torn up sidewalk. This is just one of many substrates I use. Others include bricks, rocks, cast pieces of concrete, tiles,and so on.

Step 2: Make Letter Form From Styrofoam

Here, I cut out letters from sheets of styrofoam.  I take care to leave a good form and not cut the foam in a manner that it can't be used in one piece.  The centers of "o", "p", "b", etc., have to necessarily be cut out, but saved, and used in the casting process.

Step 3: Use Material of Choice for Letters

I use several different cement  products such as: thin set mortar, mortar itself, rapid set concrete mix, grout, both sanded and non-sanded, etc.  All of these products work well, and some adhere to the concrete a little better than others.  As in all art, it is an experiment to find what works in your application best.

Step 4: Let Letters Set Up Well

After letters have "dried" which really is a setting up process, styrofoam can be removed from the letters and concrete.  I use dental tools, small screwdrivers, etc., anything that you can pry, cut, and simply remove the foam from your casting.

Step 5: Paint Lettering If Desired

Letters can be painted as I have done with these samples.  Regular acrylic paint is used and is coated with a polyurethane gloss varnish.  I will use  3 or 4 coats and this protects sign from water and rain.

Step 6: Add Broken Tile As a Mosaic

Break up some tile of choice into small pieces.  These pieces are then glued into place using one of the adhesives shown:  thin set mortar, tile adhesive, flexall, etc. 

Step 7: Grout Art Piece With Your Choice of Grout

I have several different formulas of grout left from previous tile jobs in the house, or art projects I have worked on.  I like to choose a contrasting grout when possible, as it seems to look better.  I am not concerned about whether sanded or non-sanded is better as these are art pieces and will receive no traffic or use on them.

Step 8: Make Directional Signs

Which way is the beach?

Step 9: Place Your Art Pieces Into Use

The fun part of this project is completing them, and then placing them wherever you need or want them.

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge

Gardening Challenge

Participated in the
Gardening Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Instrument Contest

      Instrument Contest
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest

    9 Discussions

    Really, your all mentioned creative ideas about making garden markers are very amazing and wonderful. I like self-made garden markers and use that in my vegetable garden. I had created before two years ago my first markers using my kitchen old part. At that time, I was inspired with Ideal Garden Markers. My first order was successfully delivered in time and the product was durable and attractive.


    5 years ago on Step 9

    Great ideas with the concrete medium...Always liked turning concrete into something nicer than a driveway. Have stained and applied microtoppings to driveways in the past, but you have sparked my creativity..Thanks for the posts.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have to make some of these for my garden. I also promised my brothers headstones for his two dogs that passed....this is perfect! Thank you so much for all of your instructions, they are marvelous.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment, Dee, and good luck with your projects. The headstones would be perfect, and you could add a silhouette of their heads using the same technique!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    The method for creating the letters is really good - never would have thought of that. :D


    7 years ago on Introduction

    true...i too never thought of using styrofoam for molds...was going to ask you in your previous instructable how does the concrete come off the tin molds this seems like a good idea. especially for concrete candle holders. thanks

    1 reply