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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Plastic Knife Plant Labels

Photo: Early Corn plant label made out of a plastic knife

Have you ever wondered what to do with those plastic knives you get with your take-out orders or have leftover from a mixed plastic cutlery set?  Turn them into plant labels!

You can make simple plant labels by using a plain permanent marker (not the fine point kind) to label the knife handle.   Alternatively, you can dress up your plant labels like I did with a little paint and creativity.  Keep reading for instructions on how to make your own weather-resistant or weatherproof plant labels out of plastic knives.

Directions on How to Make Plastic Knife Plant Labels



Photo: Prepping the work area

Photo: Finished plastic knife plant labels
  1. Preparation.  Change into old clothes or put on a smock.  Then find a comfortable place to paint.  Prep your work area by laying down newspaper to prevent paint from accidentally ruining your furniture.  Weigh down or tape the edges of the newspaper to the table.  Then gather the rest of your materials.
  2. Sand the Plastic Knife Handle.  Roughen up the surface of the plastic knives with sandpaper.  Then wipe down the knife with a moist paper towel.  Allow the knife to dry.  This will create a better surface for the paint to adhere to, and prevent the paint from peeling off the plastic.               
  3. Prepare a Design or Dive In.  Acrylic dries quickly so I like to think about what I will draw and what colors I will use prior to painting, but feel free to dive in and start painting.  
  4. Paint.  Start painting.  I painted in layers.  First, I mixed blue and white on my palette to create a light blue paint.  Then I painted the knife handle and about 3/4" past the knife handle a light blue.  It is not necessary to paint the whole knife because the serrated edge of the knife will be beneath the soil line.  While I waited for my first layer to dry, I cleaned my paint brush by swirling it in water and drying off the excess moisture.  Then I painted a picture of the fruit or vegetable (also in layers).  Lastly, I used a fine brush and black acrylic paint to "write" the plant names.  
  5. Stick it in the Ground.  Place the knife in the ground so that the painted handle is exposed.  Now you have a unique, inexpensive, weather-proof plant label!          


mariellen keely said...

I borrowed your idea only I wasn't quite as creative, I just wrote on them with a sharpie.

Lina said...

Hi Mariellen. That's a great idea. I have tried it in the past and still do. ;) The only downside is that the ink will fade with time, but I have had the same problem with commercial plastic labels. Do you or anyone else know of a solution?

Ming said...

hi... would you know if it is safe to use plastic knives as labels/markers for consumable herbs?

Lina said...

Hi Ming, That is a very good question. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer since this is out of my area of expertise. However, I personally think it is okay to use plastic knives as labels for these reasons: (1) I have seen plastic plant markers sold in stores, and (2) We use these forks to touch the food we consume. My guess is that if the knife is safe enough to touch the food we eat, then it would be safe to use as plant markers, but like I said I am not an expert on plastics. The type of paint you use is also something to consider, but if you are concerned you can omit the paint and use a non-toxic marker instead.

Lee Ann said...

Wonderful idea!! Thank you very much! :)
Lee Ann
Crochet...Gotta Love It! Blog:
YouTube Channel:
#crochetgottaloveit #crochet

Katherine Heigl said...

Its good idea to make plant markers by plastic knife. It looks pretty but they are not durable and not long-lasting. So I have another option for you to use metal garden markers which are sturdy and sun resistant and you can use these for long time.

Anonymous said...

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