Here are a couple of ideas I'm using for plant markers. I have bent a piece of wire and preserved the original label inside the small zip-lock cover (upside down). It withstood one season to my full satisfaction - but alas! the seeds did not do well! :(
I ordered a bunch of wooden plant id spikes (shaped just like the plastic ones) and used my son's woodburning tool to burn the names onto them. Also have poured cement into small molds (e.g. old butter containers) and stamped the names in with letters I got at, I think, Hobby Lobby. You could also just write them in with a toothpick. Only for the ones I actually believe I'll have forever, of course! I've just done both of these, and don't know how long the wooden ones will last. I had originally used popsicle sticks and they didn't last a whole year.
A paint marker looks like a sharpie. You have to shake it to mix the paint and depress the point to get it to flow. I purchased mine at JoAnnes, I would guess that Michaels have them as well. The brand I have is "Painters". I can't tell you how long it will last on a plastic knife because I use venetian blinds cut up. I made some of each this spring and the paint ones look just like they did when they were new, the sharpie ones have faded. I also write on the back with pencil. Pencil seems to work the best, but I just can't believe it so I use one on each side. Some of the sharpie ones have faded beyond being able to read and the pencil on the back is fine.
They were used for identifying the winter sowing and then I used them in the garden so they have gone through one Minnesota winter.
As to how much paint is in one I can only guess I haven't run out yet.
Thank you so much Zenpotter! It sounds like the "painter" pen is the way to go. And I love that you are recycling old venetian blinds. I know that it won't be hard to find an old pair. It seems like every house has an old broken pair hanging out in the basement!!
Yes and it is hard to get rid of them. Before I found out about using them for plant markers I tried to give them to two different thrift stores and they wouldn't take them. I hate to just throw good stuff away.
Now I'm able to take a better picture. Here is what I made today - old one - cleaned and reused! I have been gifted a few bulbs from Birmingham, England, by my DD's friend who had returned home for vacation. She is aware of my gardening interests and she also presented me with a pair of gloves that has rubberized palms! I planted the bulbs today. Let me see if they come up.
I make labels on a label maker, as neither the garden pen, pencil or sharpies stayed legible after a rainy winter. The label maker labels have been excellent and are clear and have not faded after three years.
I use a labelmaker too. Here's one of my old plant markers with a label made on my Brother Ptouch labeler. I use different markers now. I discovered that with this particular type, my dogs will kick the plates off and I may never find them. The markers I use now have holes in the plates and they slip onto the wire stakes. My dogs have yet to destroy them.
While I use mini blind labels inside my WS milk jugs for ID..I would like to know if anybody is so organized that they might use labels made by a labeling machine on their plant markers? When I first started WS in 2009, I saw somebody's photos posted where they used yellow laminated labels with black ink and what a difference reading the labels. I'd like to get some of that laminated yellow tape and use it on my metal plant markers in my flowerbeds as well.
Can I see a show of hands of gardeners who have used their label maker to this purpose and if so, can you post a picture for us?
I use a labeling machine, but I use the clear labels. I don't have a picture but the labeling makes everything look so neat and organized. I use a Brother Ptouch labelmaker and I can set the font to different sizes. I like the bigger font so I can read it while standing up rather than having to kneel to see it. Visitors to my gardens love the markers because they see the name of the plants. Of course, in the winter, it looks like a plant cemetary with all the markers sticking up. LOL
That's what I want to do..The P-Touch that I am using is #1950..and I don't have the instruction manuel to it. My son has misplaced it in his house. I've told him where I think his partner would have kept it but I doubt if he's ever looked there..what does Mama know? I see the word font on the machine, but how do I get it to change fonts? I would like a larger print too. I use the metal plant markers outdoors but I noticed the garden marker pen that I use to write the name of the plant seems to fade after a few years. It says fine point but it surely isn't. I'd like to be able to write the date I planted the plants underneath the name of the plant. I only know flowers by common names, not botanical names. I recognize them sometimes but am not interested in learning the botanical names.
Thanks for your response. Haven't seen any pictures of your gardens in a while. Am anxious to learn what all you've done since last year. You were working on so many outdoor projects there for a while.
I tried writing with Crayons but it failed, with marker pens it failed. Paint-writing with a thin brush [it is art!] will work beautifully and it lasts long in all weather [here]. I did some last week when I repotted a few. Will take pictures and post here.
That is a really great article, the pictures really show how much effort you put into this. I also have been frustrated with markers that fade away, the I forget what the plant is. going to try it this way.
I used the think they lasted "forever", but then I saw that they did fade after 2-3 years.
I have a cloudy, overcast climate. If it is UV from the sun that makes them fade, they might not last as long in India. For me, they last longer than Magic Marke4rs or Sharpies. And they have a fine line that I think is easier to write legibly with.
Or should I say they make a finer line, with which it's easier to write legibly?
Ya, I understood what you wrote first, the 'fine tip' pen. I'll try the pencil thing - thanks, why I hadn't got that idea?! I tried the embossing on a thin aluminum foil. But we don't buy tins with that seal inside the lid. So they are not easy to find for me. This is the best method I guess as there is no danger of fading.
Someone mentioned paint pens so I did some looking online and found that Sharpie is making paint pens in about 10 colors. They have 2 kinds. One is water-based and the other is oil-based. I found both at Hobby Lobby for about $3 each. They make the pens in fine point and extra fine point. One is way too fine to read, but the other that is really like a felt tip, is just right. I got all kinds together and marked some of the yellow plastic markers. One with a reg. Sharpie Industrial "super permanent ink", one Sharpie "permanent marker", one Sharpie water-based paint marker, one Sharpie oil-based paint marker, one Pilot permanent type, one Garden Marker from DP Industries and something called AT-A-GLANCE. All of these were black. I then put all of these marked tags in the dish washer and they all got washed in hot soapy water 11 times in 2 weeks.
The Sharpie oil-based paint marker was by far the best, nothing changed, the Sharpie water- based paint marker seems to be water soluable and nearly disappeared as did the AT_A_GLANCE. The Pilot, the Sharpie Indudtrial and the others were still legible but not anything like the Sharpie oil-based paint marker. I am now starting over with all new ones outside to see what the sun does to fade them. This may take 2-3 months.
I suspect the Sharpie oil-based paint marker will probably excell in this as well. If it does all my other markers are going in the trash. I think this new paint pen is best by far. And now I know ,I'll let you know after the next test. I hope this will help someone, it has helped me.
I just got the DP Industries Garden Marker (xylene free) from a gardening site. I will be interested to see how it works for you in comparison with the paint marker. Sharpies don't last too well for me here but I've not tried the oil-based paint marker yet.
I used to use the Garden Marker from DP but then found the Pilot. It was an improvement but this Sharpie oil-based paint marker is so far superior to everything else. There is even a manufacturer of stainless steel components for the space program that is using the paint marker as not heat or cold or moisture and many chemicals could do anything to the marks. Anything that marks stainless steel has to be good. I even tried it this morning on a piece of chrome plated steel and no problem. I think this is the solution to marking all kinds of things. I'll let you know how fast the pen runs out...that is my next concern. I usually write 30-40 labels every day, Results later.
An early report on the outside labels in the sun and water. The Pilot pen has completely disappeared in only 2 weeks. The Garden marker is badly faded. The Sharpie industrial is fading but still legible. As expected the new Sharpie oil-based Paint marker is totally uneffected. I'll let you know more in a month or so.
Old Wrangler, I just ordered a set of those Sharpie oil-based paint markers in different colors. I'm going to use them for decorating my tomato tags and also for refurbishing a sign I painted several years ago that hangs in the entry to our garden. I definitely appreciate your information!
Another update. Now the Pilot is gone and has been, The Garden Marker is also gone. The Sharpie industrial is faded to almost a shadow. But the Oil-based Paint pen looks exactly like when I put it in. It is definitely superior to everything else out there. Make sure it is oil-based and not water-based. I haven't tested that one but being water-based makes me think it will fade fast.
This test is almost a month old. Plants are 1/2 way in dirt with the writing up. They are in a cutting bed in nearly all day sun. They get watered every day with sprinkler system or like today, a good rain storm.
My Sharpie oil-based paint markers arrived a couple of weeks ago and I used them for my tomato tags and my sign. They were hard to get going at first, and I don't know how much paint is left in the ones I used, but they apply easily and I'm hopeful that I'll now have easily legible lettering at least all season!
To get them started, shake the pen well to mix up the paint. You will hear a ball banging back and forth like in a paint spray can. Then press down hard or tap the point on a piece of paper until the paint flows. I like the extra fine point as it makes a finer line and is easier to control. The fine tip is like a felt tip marker and as it gets used the line gets thicker. It uses paint faster.
Still got my test going in the garden. As of now, the only marker that still shows up is the Sharpie oil based paint.The Pilot is completely gone, The Garden Marker and the At-A-Glance has been gone since the second week. The Sharpie Industrial is too faint to read and the Sharpie Permanent marker is just a faint shadow. In fact, I can re-use the plant tags again as they are clean.I'll leave the Paint marker for a little longer and see how it fairs. I think it is a major improvement over all the previous markers.
I am trying graphite pencil for my seed starting purpose.
Some wonderful information being shared. Sorry, I had kept it pending since I posted in April.
Thanks Bonnie for showing the Jumbo craft sticks. I have to venture the shop where I bought my Coin Album 3-4 months ago. They seem to have a lot of varieties of pens, stationery etc.
greenhouse-gal, thanks for the image. Wonderful board there. Very nice!
Hope people have started to observe my new avatar.
Ha ha. Cv_G. It's a photo of me taken sometime in 1981 or so. Imitating my favourite comedian Stan Laurel. My friend had bought a box camera. He had the first roll of film and wanted to try. So there I was at his house to play a few games of Chess. He took a couple of shots of me. It was a fun moment. I still cherish this.
lol. I got a good chuckle out of that, Dinu. It does resemble Stan Laurel. I just looked at your member page and I see there is an older version of you there. ;) Good memories of times with old friends are priceless.
Would love to hear some of your suggestions how to mark perennials that will be moved when I have to reduce the width of my flowerbeds come early Fall. Pirl, didn't you tell me once about some type of metal flags that construction people use. I don't want to use my good metal plant markers. Do you recall what those orange flags are called? Didn't you see them on Home Depot website? Guess I could take a wire hangar and cut it into 6 in. pieces and make my own flags using colored duct tape. I also have Landscaping spray paint that I bought and have never used it except to mark cable lines. I've been wondering if I could start digging some of the perennials up and potting them up in large pots for easy planting later. My problem is having the space to store the pots once I've dug the plants up. I know a friend says she'll take anything I want to give away, I may not get to digging up the existing scallopped brick pavers till early Fall, so that is why I am hesitating about digging up the plants now.
I think I found them a few years ago on internet and thought I had printed off the page so will try to find that printed matter. I think I know of two places I can look.
Seems like they might have been landscaping marking flags.
Punch a hole in a mini-blind slat or other piece of plastic.
A paper punch makes a nice clean hole.
Write the name in pencil (I like thick lead, like 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm .
Thread a string through the hole.
Tie to some visible branch where it can't fall off. (But not TOO tight!)
Rick, great idea! Have plenty of mini-blind markers already cut and I have hole punchers. Maybe I will spray with landscape spray paint(orange)because I have it, so it's quite visible. Sometimes we forget to use what we already have because we forget about it! LOL!
C_Ville gardener from Tenn. I looked on HD's website and found them under irrigation flags, just like you said. Thanks for the useful information.
Here is my 2 month update on the various marker pens. 6 yellow plastic tags were put in a seed bed on June 15 and left in rain and sunshine, wind and watering. My dog Merlin may have even lifted his leg on them more than once...it's a territorial thing with us guys.
Any how at the end of 2 months there is only one legible tag. It is the Sharpie Oil-based Paint Marker. 2 others show a shadow of where the writing was. They were the Sharpie Industrial Permanent Marker and the Sharpie Permanent Marker. They are just barely legible while the Paint marker looks like it did at the beginning of the test.
The Pilot, the At-A-Glance and the Garden Markers failed before the end of 3 weeks...those tags are reusable.
My oil-based Sharpie has run out of paint after nearly 300 labels. I am please with this and their price has come down from original so they are even better. Hope this helps.
A friend is coming to India in less than a week. I just mentioned her to look for these permanent markers - weather proof. I only need a couple of pens, but the sites listed a set of 10 or so. So what to do? I'll have to cancel my request.
Checked the Sharpie on the web. How long can they be stored without using? Do they dry up fast?
Dinu, the one to use is the oil-based. The water-based will not hold up as well. They are available from Hobby Lobby craft store in a 2 pack or singles. I like the Extra Fine Point as it writes more cleanly. The Fine Point is like a felt tip and writes a wider stroke. These pens come in many colors but I am only using the Black. They come sealed in plastic so they last well until the plastic is removed. Even when open, I had no trouble using it during the 2 months I tried it. I am sure someone in the US can buy it and ship to you. Global Priority is not expensive and to India takes 7-10 days. If you can't find someone let me know and I will do it. Tell me how many and I'll get a price on product and shipping cost. If you can pay through Paypal that will work for me.
OldWrangler, Thanks for the 'fine tip' on fine tips!! :) LOL. I'll try to find if my friend has got it already - she has very less time now to pack up. Will let you know. My requirement of these is not much. One or two should last for 2-3 years... then let me see.