I have spent the last three days down for the count with a sinus infection. I could feel it coming and I tried to fight it off, but when push came to shove on Saturday afternoon, it was clear who was going to win the battle. So much for that weekend to-do list. It was a small inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but I'm still amazed at how much we take for granted how great it is to feel normal, until we don't. At any rate, I can happily report that my head no longer feels like it might explode, and I can focus on more pleasant things, like giving you guys the low down on these aluminum plant markers.
These little markers have been showing up around here over the past few weeks as I have been documenting the progress of my pepper seedlings. Never before has anything in my photos generated more questions than the little aluminum plant markers. Where did you find them? What are they made of? How do you make them? Well, ask and you shall receive: I'm posting this little how-to at your request.
The markers are made with aluminum tape, which is usually used for HVAC stuff (very technical, I know). It is exactly what it sounds like - a thin strip of aluminum with adhesive on one side. The aluminum is sturdier than aluminum foil, but not as stiff as the aluminum in a pop can. You can pick up a roll at any hardware store for under $10 (it may run a little more if it's a really big roll).
To make the markers, simply cut a piece of the aluminum tape twice as long as your desired length. Before you peel off the paper backing, fold the aluminum tape in half and make a strong crease. While you certainly could work with any size pieces, I find that the smaller the piece of tape, the easier it was to work with and the better the results. My markers have a finished length of 2-3 inches.
Gently peel off the paper backing and re-fold the piece of tape along the original crease (a strong crease will help align the edges more precisely), pressing the sticky sides together. Take note: the adhesive on this stuff is strong, so there won't be a lot of room for re-dos, but you can rub the tape with your finger to smooth out most accidental bumps, creases, or air bubbles. If the edges don't match up exactly, just trim off the extra sticky strips where one side sticks out more than the other.
Now you're ready to cut the doubled up piece of aluminum tape into the desired shape of your markers. If you're going strictly for utility, simple strips are a quick and easy way to produce a lot of markers, but if you want to create something more intricate, go right ahead and round the edges, taper the ends, cut them into fun shapes... the sky's the limit! I'm really enjoying the little triangle flags because they are both quick and easy, and kind of fun, too (kind of like bunting to celebrate spring's arrival).
And finally, use a dry ballpoint pen to emboss the marker with the variety name and any other decorative flair you might want to add to your design. If you're looking for some inspiration in this regard, keep an eye out around here in the coming weeks - there will be a few fun ideas showing up in the photos from time to time!
Obviously these are more suited for indoor use in keeping your seedlings straight than a more permanent outdoor marker for the garden, but the finished product will be completely waterproof and reusable from year to year, if you so desire. The aluminum tape will hold up under normal indoor use, but it's not so rigid that you need to worry about sharp edges drawing blood when you come into contact with them (they will, however, poke right through a newspaper pot, so take care when sliding them in).
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to keep working on getting caught up after my unexpected weekend off. These markers aren't going to plant their own seeds!
Labels: garden projects