SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, October 10, 2011

Gifting and Crafting with Garden Markers | Family Economics

By Cathe

Aluminum identification markers can be used to label many things, but are primarily known for marking plants in the garden. The markers I like best are 1-by-3 inch tags made from a strip of cardboard wrapped with a heavy aluminum sheet, making them easy to emboss with a pen or pencil.

They come packaged with thin wire ties that can be used for attaching the tags to various items. These aluminum ID tags can be found at most garden centers and online at great prices.

I have several boxes that I found at thrift stores and garage sales. I like to use them on presents, which saves money on store-bought gift tags, or in craft projects to add custom wording to a piece. I try to use my best handwriting on them or try to make them extra nice by tracing pre-typed script or standard lettering. This tracing technique usually saves on handwriting mistakes!

Here’s how you can make traceable lettering for aluminum tags using your computer:

•    Open a new file and create a box that is the same dimensions of the writable area of the tags, be sure to use a ruler to measure the tags if needed. Note that there may be top and bottom margins on your tags from the crimping closed on the aluminum wrap.

•    Type within the box the name or wording you want in a font that can be easily traced, avoiding tiny lettering or designs. Make as many boxed words or names needed on one page.

•    Print the page of words or names onto plain paper.

•    Trim out each individual box and tape one end to the end of the aluminum marker.

•    Trace over lettering with a ballpoint pen. Lift the paper to check accuracy before removing altogether.

•    Tie the tag to a gift box or canned food jar. You can also use them for markers in collage crafts, as book marks or small baggage tags.

What would you label with these fun little garden markers? Do you have any creative ideas for unique gift tags?

7 Comments so far

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On Friday, November 23, 2012, mo wrote

I've used these for their intended purpose, and also as a gift tag for a bottle of wine. I attached 4 beaded wine glass charms, and then attached it to the bow. I initially planned to dangle some beads as well, but the charms alone did the trick. That was several years ago, and I'd forgotten about it until I read your journal entry. In the photo on your site, it looks like you used a paint marker. I really liked the result, and will be trying that sometime soon. Thanks!

On Friday, October 14, 2011, Frankie from California wrote

Thank you Cathe!! I can always depend on your creativity to spark mine!!! Love this I will be trying my hand at this today!!.....although I saw this a little late!

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, Sherri from Idaho wrote

I am going to write "sunday" on one and hang it on the hanger of the outfit that I wore to church. I can never remember what I have worn the previous week and am sure this will help me not feel like I wear the same thing each time I go. Thanks for the great idea.

On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, petra from blessed nest wrote

very fun cathe...they could easily be transformed in to simple christmas tree ornaments, too. I recycle my christmas cards from previous years by using a tag shaped punch. they add a bit of color, save me money and nothing goes to waste...yay!

On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, charlotte lyons @ housewrenstudio wrote

love this, Cathe! another simply amazing idea!

On Monday, October 10, 2011, Saucy Chick Sherry wrote

Very clever use of ordinary tags and I like the gift nametag idea since it is not gardening season. Cathe your creativity is endless. Thank you for such a great idea.

On Monday, October 10, 2011, Amanda wrote

Great idea, but you know, you don't have to buy those markers --you can make super cheap with industrial tape">


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