Friday, May 30, 2014

DIY Herb Markers

 We finally got around to planting our raised bed garden last weekend. Normally we go all out, and plant a little bit of everything, only to end up with an overabundance of fresh vegetables so large that even when we share our goods we have plenty to spare.

This year we decided to keep it simple. With a number of home improvement projects going on, and two little ones now, low maintenance is the name of the game.

I planted chives and mint in one of our 2 beds a couple of years ago, and every year they come back bigger and better than the summer before.  We always plant peppers; jalapeƱos, banana, even habanero... We like a little spice. This year we also planted zucchini, radishes, green beans, snap peas,  and carrots. We opted to plant tomatoes in pots on our deck, because we found last summer that we had better luck with them this way.


Growing fresh herbs is a must for me.  There is nothing I love more than the smell of fresh basil, and the ability to walk out to my deck and just snip a little of this and a little of that. We usually do our herbs in pots that we keep on our deck, just like the tomatoes. Last year I had a lot of fun spray painting some terra cotta pots with chalkboard paint and labeling them with the names of all of the herbs we were growing with a chalkboard pen. This year, I decided to change it up a bit.

I've seen some really cute plant markers online and in shops around town, but I love a good DIY project, so the markers, pictured above, are what I came up with.

Sculpey clay
Wood dowels
Alphabet stamps
Paint brush
Clear sealant
Glue (super glue, or a glue gun)

1. Knead your sculpey clay to soften it and make it easier to work with. Sculpey is available in a variety of colors. I'm on a gold kick, so I used "treasure hunt"
2. Break up the Sculpey, and shape your markers. I used the smooth side of a glass cutting board to roll out the clay, but you can also use parchment paper or a silpat if you have one. There's no rhyme or reason to my shapes. I made them into imperfect kind of wonky rectangles.
3. Use alphabet stamps to imprint the names of the herbs you intend on planting. I found my stamps in the dollar section at Target for $3... I love that section.
4. At this point, you will want to use your dowels to create holes in the bottom of the markers, but you will then remove them. These dowels are a yard long when you purchase them, I cut mine down to 10 inches for each marker, make them whatever height you choose.
5. Bake the markers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, following the directions on the Sculpey packaging. Mine said to bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes, so that's what I did.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. Using paint, fill in the letters, one marker at a time, and use a damp sponge to remove the excess paint around the letters. Allow paint to dry.
8. Paint marker with clear sealant. If you can find a sealant made for outdoors, this will be best. Allow to dry.
9. Place a dab of glue on the end of each dowel, and then stick them into each of your premade holes.
10. Place in Herb pots and enjoy!

If you make these and you're on Instagram, I would be thrilled if you'd photograph them and use the hashtag #contemorarydomestics

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