Garden Markers

Now that planting is officially upon us, I want to share a little upcycle idea that may help you find your way around the garden or flower bed.

Remember when we cut the spoon end off the handle, making the tea cup bird feeder? You probably wondered what in the world you would do with the handle.  Gather up your handles and get ready to upcycle. We are making reusable plant markers.

This is another simple project that will not only help repurpose the left over handles, but help you remember where you planted the kale.

For this upcycle you need:

  • Old flatware knives, forks, spoons, or the handles from the previous project,
  • Flowerpot or box filled with sand, soil, or small rocks,
  • Newspaper and tape,
  • Chalkboard paint (spray works better for this), and
  • Chalk

You can see this one coming, can’t you?

Clean your flatware of any dirt or oils. If you use a dish detergent that contains lotions you may want to choose a shampoo, liquid soap, or other detergent that does not. The lotion may cause the chalkboard paint not to properly adhere. Decide which end you will use for the label.

Cover the filled flowerpot or box with newspaper. You may choose to tape it down so it will stay in place.  Stick the flatware through the newspaper, label end up. Make sure there is roughly one-half inch between each piece. Using this technique allows you to paint all sides of multiple pieces without having to turn them over. The paper protects the soil, sand, or rocks from the paint.

Spray the exposed pieces of flatware with the chalkboard paint. Follow the directions but make sure to put two or three coats on each one. These will be exposed to the elements and need more than one layer to last.

Once the final coat is fully dry, season the paint by rubbing chalk all over and wiping off with a dry cloth. Now you are ready!

Practice your cursive writing until your script is perfect! (Just kidding, mine is crappy and it still works.) Label your marker and insert in the soil near your plantings. After the season, or once your planting is established and you remember what it is, simply pull the marker up, wipe the chalk off, and store for next year.

The beauty of flatware is you can clean the ends to remove any disease or contaminants. They will not decay like wooden markers, and will not blow away like paper.

Garden Markers 1

If there is a particular project you’d like help with, email me at Put “Everyday Upcycle” in the subject line so I don’t delete it by accident.

Robin’s Upcycle is located in Kanawha County, WV. Open by appointment. Phone 304-460-5NEW (5639). For info, visit or email