Metal Plant Tags

It's spring. It's my favorite time of the year. The weather has been simply gorgeous and so I'm spending a LOT of time outside in the garden. After years of what has been a relatively obsessive hobby of mine, I've gotten pretty good at identifying the plants, but I still like to label them anyway. It helps to identify the "specific" variety. It also helps to identify the color of a plant, so that I know what I'm separating out in the spring before everything is in bloom. And, since I've hosted a number of garden tours before, the plant tags are nice for intercepting all the inquiries as to the kind of plant.

I like to have them labeled, but I've also found that the little plastic tags that come with the plants are really rather useless for anything long-term. I've spent a little time experimenting with other options. I've tried a number of tags over the years, but this is by far my favorite for functionality and outdoor durability. It's inexpensive and easy to make. It's design also adds movement to the garden as the wind catches it. I'll be following up the next couple days with some other designs that I think you'll like too.

If you're into recycling/up-cycling, you'll need an aluminum can and a wire clothes hanger. Otherwise, you can purchase metal sheeting in copper, tin, or aluminum either online or at your local craft supply store, and any sturdy wire. You'll also need a pliers/wire cutter, scissors, a hole punch, a template tool, and tin snips if you're using an aluminum can. I also highly recommend using safety gloves for the metal cutting.

Begin by cutting the ends off of the can. You want to salvage the "flat" metal.

When finished cutting, you should be able to flatten the piece of aluminum without any real resistance. I found that mine wanted to roll back up, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Next, place the metal on a flat surface, printed side up. You'll want to do this part on a firm but flexible surface, such as a pad of paper. Using the template tool, trace a shape onto the metal. Press firmly, leaving a definite indentation. Leave at least 1/4" between tags.

After tracing the shapes, the metal should have lost some of it's need to "roll."

Use a pair of scissors to cut out the shapes. You'll want to cut just outside of the traced shape. This ridge will help to support the form of the tag, as well as add a little decoration. Using scissors makes the edge not quite so "razor sharp," but you'll still want to be careful.

Next, use the hole punch to put a hole near one edge.

Now the tag is ready for labeling. Place the tag on a firm but flexible surface again, and add the name of the plant. This is done by hand using a sharp-pointed pen. The ink may or may not write on the tag (it looks good either way.) The real intention is to impress the name into the metal. That way, the name won't wear off in the weather.

Unfortunately, this phase is a bit unforgiving. If you mess up the name, you can't do much to correct it. So either be neat, or at least creative. My dad always told me that you didn't mess up as long as you could still fix it.

Now for the tag holder. Use the wire cutter to cut the hanger apart. I can usually get 3 holders out of one hanger, or just 2 if I need really tall hangers. Then use the pliers to straighten the cut pieces.

At one end, use the pliers to bend over about a 1-1/2 inch section.

Use the pliers to twist a small loop at the very end. Some hangers are definitely tougher than others, so you might want to experiment with various kinds.

Next, feed the straight end of the hanger through the backside of the tag, and slide the tag up and over the hook. Loading the tag from the backside will result in the tag flipping over and facing outward.

Then stick the end of the hanger in the ground or flower pot.

Now you'll never lose track of the name.

And it's a wonderful way to dress up a Mother's Day gift.

It's a little breezy today, so my little tag is flipping around, reflecting the sun and clinking like a tiny little wind chime.

(For those of you that are plant savvy, you might have noticed that the tag doesn't match the plant. That's just because my veronica isn't blooming yet and that simply doesn't make as pretty a picture.)

In the next few days, I'll show you a few other options.

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas or even add some of your own at my home page

I'll be linking up on the following McLinky parties:

The DIY Showoff
The Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming

Metamorphosis Monday
Just Something I Whipped Up
Making the World Cuter
Make it Mondays at the Persimmon Perch
Made by You at Skip to My Lou
You're So Crafty Monday

Toot Your Horn Tuesday
Today's Creative Blog

Penny Pinching Party at The Thrifty Home
Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Designs
Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking
Creative Share Blog Hop at The Trendy Treehouse
Show Us What You're Workin' With Wednesday at Me and My Bucket
Make It Yours Day at My Backyard Eden

Transformation Thursday
Show Off Your Stuff Party
Strut Your Stuff Thursday
Thrifty Thursday
Get Your Craft on at Life as Lori

Show and Tell Friday
Frugalicious Friday

Saturday Night Special
Ramblings of a Crazy Woman


  1. Oh My Goodness! For years I have wanted plant hangers that last but don't cost a fortune, and here you made them out of pop cans!!!

    THANK YOU! I can't wait to go cut up some cans!!

  2. Very clever...I have never used cans for anything, but have seen numerous ways to use just inspired me!

  3. wow- so impressed you are good- great idea- you could so use those for gift tags- lunch bags oh the possiblities.

  4. What a wonderful idea that anyone can try. I am going to use this. Thanks!

  5. I so am going to make some of these for my herb garden. Thanks for the instructions.

  6. Oh, I think I need to grab a can of Mountain Dew and get to work! I love these. Great idea, thanks for sharing!

  7. I love this will look great in my garden...


  8. Great idea! I would have never guessed that came from a pop can! :)

  9. I just had a garden tour last week. These would be great!

    I have plenty of metal hangers and though I don't buy canned soda, my mom lives next door, and she does!

  10. These are simply adorable and a genius idea! Would love to have you stop by The Sunday Showcase Party if you get a chance! I love these and want them for my entire yard! Thanks so much for sharing! Fabulous idea!

  11. I just wanted to let you know that I featured your here:

  12. THIS, my dear friend, IS **** JUST **** WHAT I NEED!!!

    First I discovered what you discovered that any plastic tags are useless, eventually.

    Then, we went through a phase whereby my niece liked moving things around...., so I dished the whole tag-thing for while and just grow 'whatever', meaning that we're not eating all that we grow as I don't recall sometimes what is what...

    NOW that she's bigger and does not mess with my garden tags anymore (probably), I'll try again with YOUR SOLUTION. I'd been thinking about using cans, so your post is absolutely timely!

    Love that it is great and green.
    Thank you.

    ps. you will probably equally revel in our other nifty n beautiful recycling craft projects for home and garden.

  13. This is such a great idea. I love the re-purposed aspect of the tag the most...but it is so utilitarian...awesome!
    Practical and Pretty!

  14. That's such a good idea! And good way to reuse items!!

  15. Your tags are so pretty. I really like the copper ones, but what a great idea using the can. Thanks for sharing your instructions.

  16. so so cute,, and i love that you used an aluminum can for this.. very creative. Cant wait to try this.

  17. Just wondering though how you changed the color of the tag? Is it painted?

  18. These are absolutely marvelous! How ingenious to use Coke cans!

  19. This is just the best idea! Here we thought you stamped it into some metal at first - what a simple, fun & great way to keep track of plants outside! Bravo!!

  20. I love this! I would buy these if I saw them in the store!

  21. I love these! I am going to try to make something similar. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Love this idea. I am going to share it with my garden club. Great tutorial.
    Thanks so much!

  23. Thanks for a great tute. I'll be linking on Facebook :)

  24. This is brilliant - I will have to do this!!

  25. I LOVE this! I always used 'lolly' sticks from the craft shop but the name always wears away! I love this idea, just need to find some drinks cans...

    BTW I found you on the linky at Trendy Treehouse!

  26. Saw your post at Reinvented and wanted to stop by and tell you I like it!! Great idea!

  27. I am definitely making these for my garden! They are very cute and useful too!

    Thanks for sharing at My Backyard Eden!

  28. Oh my goodness, you are soooo clever!!! I just love this idea, and can't wait to try it! Very nice! I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve- time to grab a hot cup of coffee and sit here for a while! **Followed!**


  29. Oh no! I can't find your 'Followers' button! Until I figure it out, I've added your button to my blog so I can come back for another visit!

  30. Sheri,
    This is awesome!!
    And, I just 'happen' to have a few feet of aluminum flashing I used to make birdhouse roofs with.

    I'm going to let my friends know about this one, if you do not mind.

    barbara jean

    PS Thanks for posting about my Baby Shoe Bouquet Tutorial.
    Don't miss the giveaway for it on my store blog! =)

  31. I am so doing this! Perfect project because I have everything I need. All I need to do is get the soda can out of the recycle bin and rescue it for it's new life in my herb garden. Thanks!!!

  32. Oh! Why didn't I see this post when I was searching the ends of the internet for cute plant markers!?! I finally came up with an idea
    (on my blog but next spring I *will* be doing your idea. I've bookmarked this page. Thanks for the great idea!

  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  34. Most brides want to go to the Wedding Dresses stores to pick wedding dresses. There are lots of styles for them to choose, which is the reason why brides love to go there. You can find styles like Sheath Wedding Dresses, Ball Gown Wedding Dresses,Beach Wedding Dress,Mermaid Wedding Dresses,Bridesmaid Wedding Dresses, even Mother of the Bride Dresses. But to try on all can be a tough job.And it is really time-consuming.

  35. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  36. woww!.. It is beatiful idea!.. I'm going to try.. :)

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  39. Very innovative idea. There are so many cans that are of none use to us in our home. Using them in such a way will really be a great experience. I will surely use them.

    Badges Australia