Indestructible Plant ID Tags in 10 Easy Steps

Introduction: Indestructible Plant ID Tags in 10 Easy Steps

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.

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.

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. (?)

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

10) The finished product!

11) Getting  creative with it.  :)  See how the ink color come through and gives it character. Enjoy it while it lasts.  The color will eventually wear off.

Happy Gardening!  Happy Sharing!

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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool,thx! Hmmm, cut lengthwise with a taper, and a slot across at the wide end, it could be attached on a stem like a zip tie.


    Love it! I have been trying to find affordable metal garden tags for a long time. Now they will be free!