June 3, 2014

Clay Garden Markers

With our move to the Northwest, one of the things we've been looking forward to is having a bigger garden.  I grew up in Oregon, and we always had a gigantic garden.  My mom reminisces about how well everything grew in the rich, wet soil, and so one of our first orders of business was to get our veggies planted!

Our second order of business was getting the veggies marked, and this is one my kids wanted to help with!  

I've made garden markers with wooden stakes, which is really fun.  This year, I wanted to make something a little different, but still durable and waterproof.  The kids always love playing with FIMO clay, and they'll take any opportunity to paint, so we decided to try making clay garden markers they could paint little pictures on to.  They turned out so fabulous!!

Here's how we did it:

I got a big package of FIMO clay at the craft store with a coupon.  We were able to make 24 medallions (each 2+") out of this size.  I also got an uppercase set of $1 rubber alphabet stamps (from Michael's).  I've seen these all over, so hopefully you can get your hands on some.  I use them for all sorts of things, and you can't beat $1!
We used a canister with a flat bottom for smooshing clay - and we used acrylic paint + a paint brush.

1) Cut the block of clay into equal sized chunks
2) Warm up the clay with your hands and roll each piece into a ball
3) Using something with a flat bottom, smoosh the ball until it is flat - about 1/4" thick
4) Use a skewer or something small to poke a hole 1/4" from the top for hanging.  Make sure the hole is big enough to fit onto whatever you will hang them from.  In our case, this was a metal hanger.
5) Use the rubber alphabet stamps to press letters into the soft clay to form the names of whatever is in your garden

Bake the clay according to the package directions and let cool.

Using acrylic paint that is really well watered down, and a tiny paint brush, fill the letters with paint.  I found that if my paint was the correct watery consistency, I only had to touch my paintbrush into the corner of a letter and the watery paint would flow into the grooves of the letter.

We then looked up pictures of the veggies and herbs online as a reference, and drew a pencil picture outline onto each garden marker, above the words.  My daughter and I then used acrylic paint to color in the pencil pictures.

Here are some close up pictures of our paintings.  They are all so cute, I don't know if I could even pick a favorite.  I do love the cherry tomatoes and swiss chard though...

After the paint was dry, I sprayed them generously with clear coat protective spray.

To put them in the garden I gathered a few wire hangers and cut them down into approximately 1 foot lengths.  

Then I made a small curve at one end and threaded the garden marker on...

...and twisted the top around a couple times so that it wouldn't fall off...

And then we stuck them all into the garden!

We have a ton of herbs, and it is darling to see all the markers in our row of pots...

Because I sprayed them with clear spray, the water beads right off them, and the paint is totally protected!

So, if you have garden plants or potted herbs - try making some of these darling, useful garden markers for yourself!  They make the garden look so cheerful and happy ;)

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  1. These are adorable! I love how you painted pics of the veggies on them. I think I'll try something similar for zipper pulls.

  2. I am IN LOVE with these! I'm doing it.... like right this second!

  3. I love love love this idea. I think I'm going to try these garden markers. It will add an artistic element to all the greenery. Thanks for sharing.