Indestrucible Plant ID Tags




Introduction: Indestrucible Plant ID Tags

This idea is all over the gardening webs but here is my visual interpretation.  Thanks to Kim for photography and to Mike for my new oregano plant.

I find most Gardeners and Plant Lovers to be very sharing, very giving. They have snippers in hand ready to cut off a tip to share,  harvest seeds, or dig up plant babies to pass around. Identifying little cuttings as they grow into big plants is difficult sometimes because the ID tags wear off,  the Ink washes off or gets rubbed off or the tags simply get lost.  While this idea won't help you from losing your plant ID tags, this will help you keep the identity of your precious growing plant start for a long time.

All you need are some empty, washed aluminum cans, a pair of scissors and a ball point pen.

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: 1) Pierce the Can at the Top and Bottom.

1)  I used small kiddie scissors because that was all that was around but I think long, adult-size scissors would work. Use the point and pierce a hole in the sides of the can to separate the bottom and the top.  Today's soda and beer cans are not your Grandma's cans. Aluminum cans are thin these days. They are easy to pierce, easy to cut. I did not wear gloves at all but if you feel more comfortable wearing them go for it.  The cut-can edges can be sharp and there will be shards of aluminum flying during this project so protect your area.

Step 2: Cut the Top and Bottom Off.

2)  Carefully cut around the bottom and remove the top and bottom of the can.  Because it is round, the cut will not be straight and perfect. Some of the metal will curl. Be careful!  Discard the top and bottom or find some other use for them. (?)

Step 3: Cut the Can Into 2 Pieces

3) This I found the easiest, tricky but easy. Cut half way up the can as if to cut in half.  Turn the can around and cut half way up the other side.  Finish your cuts on both sides. You will end up with two nearly equal pieces.  They will not be perfect. Nobody is perfect.  People, cut-up cans and plant tags don't need to be perfect.

Step 4: Cut Off the Jagged Edges

4) Hold the pieces together. Cutting two pieces is actually easier than cutting a single piece. Trim off the jagged, uneven edges

Step 5: Cut Into Thirds.

5) Now with two nearly even pieces, begin to cut into thirds for your plant tags.

Step 6: Cut Points

6) Holding two piece, cut points on the end for easy insertion into the soil.

Step 7: Flatten Each Piece

7) To take the curl out of the piece, pull across the edge of a table, or use a rolling pin or similar.

Step 8: Emboss You Plant Tag

8)  Emboss the name of your plant with a ball point pen. Some say to use a non-working pen. I say it makes no difference.

Step 9: Paint the Back....Or Not

9)  You can paint the back but sometimes the back side has interesting writing.

Step 10: The Finished Product

Step 11: Get Creative!

Happy Gardening!  Happy Sharing!

Fix & Improve It Contest

Participated in the
Fix & Improve It Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Rope & String Speed Challenge

      Rope & String Speed Challenge
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest

    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant!! I hadn't seen this before...I'm clearly out of touch!

    If you make labels for larger plants like trees I suggest using an S shaped wire (like # 12 copper from Romex) to attach the label (through a paper punched hole) so as not to strangle the branch. You'll need to close the lower part of the S to secure the label.

    I used thin craft copper sheeting for labels maybe 20 years ago. Although the copper has lasted, it's gotten pretty crumpled over the years. I think your idea will work better. Thanks for posting the idea here!


    7 years ago on Step 11

    That's quite usefull. Perhaps with a little bit of acrylic paint, you can make the letters stand out.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! The zinc markers that are sold commercially are always outrageously pricey.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Do you know what else I've discovered? If you are creative enough to write on the backside, backwards, the embossing looks like a label maker! It's too bad I can't edit my Instructable. What kind of stamp would you use? To emboss it or simply mark it? PS I entered this in a Fix It contest. Please vote for it.