Plant labels are an item that gardeners use aplenty, but there’s no need to ever run out when you can make your own by recycling polypropylene plastic food grade containers.
A white plastic container can be cut with a pair of scissors to produce around a dozen labels in a few minutes. The bottom of the container can also be cut deep enough to be used as a pot plant saucer if desired.
The procedure is explained in the following four steps:
- Cut the top and bottom off the container to create a large plastic tube. If it’s difficult to start the cut, carefully use a craft knife (box cutter, stanley knife) to begin the cut that the scissors can fit into.
- Make one straight cut along the length of plastic tube so it can be opened into a sheet.
- Cut the sheet into strips, using an old label as a cutting guide to make them all then same width.
- Make one end of the strips pointed by cutting off the corners.
What is the Best Way to Write on Plastic Garden Labels
Plastic garden labels, both the store-bought and home-made varieties, are quite shiny, and can only be written on using a pencil, a permanent marker, a wax pencil, or a fine paint marker.
- Use a soft 2B graphite pencil on plastic labels, as a common HB pencil is too hard and doesn’t work properly on shiny plastic. Erase with a regular pencil eraser.
- Permanent markers such as “Sharpie” markers will fade after a year or two, and are better suited for temporary labeling. Erase using a cloth dampened with methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol.
- Paint markers are very resistant to fading, will last for years, and can also be erased with methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol.
- A wax pencil (grease pencil, chinagraph pencil) can be erased using anything that can remove wax stains, such as oil (cooking oil, citrus oil, WD40), degreasers, sticky label remover (such as the citrus oil based ones). Wash with soap and water afterwards to remove any residue.
We can all produce less waste by practicing the “3 Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By reducing the amount of disposable materials we buy, reusing what we have, and recycling existing materials, we reduce demand on non-renewable resources. Every little bit counts, including what we use in the garden!