Make Aluminum Plant Tags from Old Cans
Every gardener loves plants, especially new and exciting ones. The trouble is keeping track of all these variations and varieties. Garden tags are an absolute necessity! The problem of labeling and identifying new plants struck me recently after attending the local Middle Tennessee Iris Society's annual sale (I know--I died and went to iris heaven!) Thirty minutes and $30 later, I had a paper bag filled with nine gorgeous hybrids boasting exotic names like Indian Chief, Feu du Ceil and Afternoon Delight. I also came home with eight unknown varieties that I will attempt to classify after they bloom.
Irises, in particular, are difficult to identify because they look nearly the same when they aren't blooming, which is like 11 months out of the year. Ever organized, the society's members wrote the names and plant info on paper tags or directly on the leaves in Sharpes, but those labels weren't going to last.
As all gardeners know, labels fade, crack and simply vanish with the wind. But this wasn't going to get me down. I'm familiar with the permanent aluminum tags that identify my collection of plumeria trees, but I didn't feel like spending more money and waiting for the tags to arrive. Plus, those tags are meant to be hung from something, not stuck in the ground, which I need for my application.
So, here's the solution: DIY aluminum plant tags made from your discarded soda or beer cans! Read on and I'll show you how to make them too.
If people can make airplane whirligigs from old cans, you can totally make these simple, durable garden tags.
P.S. Each can will make approximately 5 garden tags.
Time required: 1 Hour
Cost: Less than $5
- Used aluminum beverage cans (tall 16 oz size if preferable)
- Strips of corrugated cardboard measuring 1/2 inch wide and 4 inches long
- One piece of cardboard to use as a cutting surface
- A utility knife
- Ball point pen
- Tin snips (optional)
- Ruler (optional)
- Pliers (optional)
A Essential Tool
A utility knife is essential for this project and so many other crafty endeavors! Arm yourself with great tools like this o ensure total satisfaction and success!
1. Start by removing the top and bottom of the aluminum can. Simply insert the knife and guide it around the circle. Repeat the process on the other end.
2. Next, open the tube-shaped body of the can by making one straight cut down the side.
3. Fold one edge of the can in by 3/4ths of an inch.
4. Make a cut about 1/4 of an inch from the folded edge, so your strip looks like this.
5. Cut the end to create an angled point, so the strip can be pushed into the ground. Make the cut so the folded edge becomes the tip. If you can't cut all the way through with the utility knife, fold along the cut line to remove the triangle piece.
6. Prepare your cardboard strip. This allows you to make an impression on the metal more easily, and you also get to write on both sides of the label if desired. Woot!
7. Push the cardboard strip into the folded metal.
8. Then, wrap the overhanging edge around to enclose the cardboard. You can fold this toward you and press down, or you can push the overhang against the cardboard cutting surface. Whatever works best for you. If you like, you can accentuate the crimp by pressing with needle nose pliers.
9. Now you get to write your plant names on the tags! You can even make cute designs! I'm left-handed, so I always goof up the direction of the text, but I know you won't have that problem!
10. Finally, insert your new tags next to the plant as a permanent reminder of what is really growing there! Ta-da!
If you've like to mark irises, herbs and plants that grow close to the ground, these stakes are the perfect solution!