Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to make spoon garden markers


I first saw spoons used as plant markers on this etsy shop. I just thought they were darling! After considering how many I would need to order (and later perhaps add on to) I thought maybe I should try to make some myself but was really unsure where to start. I tried to do a google search on the spoons but didn't come up with much. I then typed in "metal stamping" and came up with a short video on how to stamp jewelry. After months, I mean minutes, of more research I felt like I was ready to dive in. It's really easy and fun.

I got lots of old spoons at a local flea market. They were $1 each and some are silver plated and a few are stainless steel.


For materials you will need metal letter stamps, hammer, sharpie black marker, rubbing alchohol, silver polish and a rag. I first looked online for metal letter stamps and found a large variety ranging from $30 to $160. However, I ended up getting mine from Harbor Freight (they have lots of locations!) and they were only $5.99!


Also, the jewelry video recommended using a metal bench block to put under the spoon while you were pounding on the letters. I didn't think that I needed this so I just used the wooden work bench. However, I did discover that it was cleaner and more precise when I used something metal underneath. I wasn't going to buy a bench block so I used the metal plate on Bryce's vise.


I ended up laying all the letter stamps out and putting them in order. This helped a lot to speed up the stamping process!


When you are ready to begin you simply hold the stamp and pound on it with the hammer several times. I found three or four pretty strong blows to be adequate. When you begin stamping make sure that you don't move the stamp until you are done pounding on it, otherwise you may get a shadow letter. Also, double check to make sure that the letter is facing the right way...I did get a backward E once. I didn't worry too much about the letters being perfectly straight or spaced evenly apart from one other. I think that all of these imperfect things add to the charm of the spoons!


In order to get the look of oxidation that makes the word stand out take a black sharpie marker and completely fill in the letters.



Use a cotton ball of alcohol to wipe off the marker and then polish the spoon. And that's it! Easy right?


P.S. I was also going to use forks and knives because I think that would be super cute (especially for a kitchen garden) but in the end the vision of children running, tripping and impaling themselves on my garden markers was too much to bear.

*Update:  Here are the stamped spoons I made for Valentines (with Chocolate!)

17 comments:

  1. Oh, that last comment really brought laughter.....and you are so correct! Learning about this creative project through words and photos was really a fun trip.

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  2. We love the spoon garden markers and were thrilled to discover that Battle Creek,MI (12 miles west of our Marshall, MI home)has a Harbor Freight store. Thanks SO much for allowing Gretchen and me to invade your back yard. Mimi (Marshall & Elliot's grandma).

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  3. They look beautiful! (And I, too, laughed at your last comment... but I have raised beds for my garden, so maybe a bit safer?)

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  4. I am so making these!!! Gary just went to Harbor Freight last week. Darn! Now if I do the same markers am I going to be accused of trying to steal your style ;)

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  5. I am not trying to be anonymous. i just haven't figured all this blogging stuff out

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  6. I was wondering what size metal stamps you used? I am going to get some on ebay today and can't decide what size would be best. Thanks so much. I have also been admiring the plant markers on etsy for a year and am SOOOO excited to make my own. You ROCK. :)
    www.abirdandabean.blogspot.com

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  7. I just found your blog through ohdeedoh and I'm so very happy I did. Such fun, creative projects!

    I don't have a garden, but I dream about having one and these little spoon garden markers are just the kind of things I'd put in my imaginary garden. :)

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. I'm so excited to try this. My sister-in-law wants these for her garden and I was going to spend between $30-$60 on 6-8 spoons! If I can make these myself, that would be amazing! Thanks for all the fun tips! :)

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  15. What size stampers did you use? I bought a set at a hobby store that are 3mm 1/4". When I tried to stamp onto a spoon all I got was a scratch but no letter. I did give it several good whacks with a heavy hammer. Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong would be greatly appreciated.
    I love your blog

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  16. anonymous- I will have to check on the size of my stamps. I'm sorry that you are having trouble. What is your spoon on when you are hammering it? I found that it made a difference to have it on something really hard like metal (vs wood).

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  17. Oh my goodness!!! You are the best!! Thank you for the harbor freight tip!! I've been wanting to make some gifts for friends and family and with your help I won't break the bank!! If you ever figured out what size stamps you used I would love to know !

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