Can we talk about Joanna’s garden for a minute? Never mind the beautiful flowers and chickens and wiener dogs running around, those planter boxes are basically bursting at the seams with lush kale, chard, herbs and more. It’s a major urban farming success story (and makes me extremely jealous of her yard!) and it deserved to be dressed up a little bit with some pretty garden markers to help differentiate the fennel from the dill — I’m looking at you, Oprah.
We wanted to create something that was both beautiful and useful, and I think these clay beauties do the trick. The best thing about them is they are designed with separate name plates that hang from a hook on the markers, so you can change them out every season depending on what you’re growing that year.
- rolling pin (if you don’t have a rolling pin handy, you can use a bottle of wine)
- X-Acto knife
- marker and name plate templates
- silicone cutting mat
- baking sheet
- paint brush
Start by printing the two templates provided above and cutting them out. There is one for the marker and one for the interchangeable name plates. Then pre-heat the oven to 275°F (or whatever temperature your clay package calls for).
Now it’s time to create the perfect shade of charcoal grey. In order to do that, you’ll need to take four parts black clay and one part white clay and roll them each in to long, skinny strands. Then, twist the strands together over and over again until the colors are fully mixed. At this point, you can add in a bit more white or black, depending on the shade of grey you’re looking for.
Roll the clay into a ball and place it on the cutting board. Using your rolling pin (or a spare bottle of wine, if you don’t have a proper rolling pin laying around), roll the clay until it’s an even 1/8″ thick and large enough to fit the marker template. If you can, try to roll out enough clay that you can trace two or three makers at a time.
Place the template atop the clay, and use the X-Acto knife to carefully trace around it. Peel away the excess clay, then carefully peel off the clay marker and put it on your baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve made as many markers as you like.
Bake the clay in the oven according to the package—if you’re using Sculpey, that means you’ll need to bake your markers for about 8 minutes. After the marker has cooled a bit but is still slightly warm, carefully screw a hook about 1/2″ from the top. Be careful not to screw it in too tightly or the clay might crack.
While those cool, mix together the mint green clay using eight parts white clay and one part green clay. Repeat the same process as above to roll out the clay and cut out the name plates. Use a spare screw hook to create a hole about 1/3″ from the top of the name plate. Bake and let cool.
Using the paint pen, write the name of a plant atop the name plate. Then paint a white border around the edges and the sides. Once the paint is dry, you can add a coat of sealant if you’re worried about water making the paint run.
Hang the name plates on the markers and plant them in your growing garden!
What are you growing in your garden this season?
photography by Meghan Klein.
DIY by Homemade Banana for Jojotastic.