Hand-made, polymer clay garden markers are fun and simple to create and add a pop of unexpected color and whimsy to any garden. This is a great rainy day project to do with children and can be incorporated into a homeschooling science lesson on the effects of heat on polymer clay.
Aluminum floral wire (I used copper color)
Clay text embossing set (or a skewer)
craft clay machine (optional)
cookie cutters (optional)
parchment paper lined baking sheet
oven preheated to 375° F (follow manufacturer's temperature recommendation)
Polymer clay needs to be 'conditioned' or softened in order to make it easier work with and to align the molecules in the clay in order to create a strong, hard finished product. The clay can be conditioned by hand in the same way bread dough is kneaded or run through a pasta machine on the widest setting. Roll out, fold, repeat at least 20 times (the kids love this part).
Roll out polymer clay to 1/8"-1/4" thickness. Form the garden marker in any free-form shape or by using a cookie cutter.
Imprint the the name of the herbs/plants on the clay with the
embossing letters or the blunt end of a skewer.
I pressed leaves from my herb garden into the clay for a fun effect.
Make a hole in the top of each garden marker with the florist wire.
The hole should be slightly larger than the wire itself.
Place the clay on parchment lined baking sheet and place in preheated oven. *It is very important that the oven temperature not exceed the manufacturer's recommendation.*
Bake for 15 minutes for thicknesses up to 1/4". Remove from oven and cool completely.
Painting the letters is optional. I think they look just as pretty with paint as without.
Apply acrylic paint with either a brush, pressing the paint into the grooves, or with a finger (another job ideally suited for the kids).
Wipe off excess paint with a paper towel and allow to dry. Baking the markers a second time after painting will adhere the acrylic paint permanently to the marker.
Cut an 8-10" length of aluminum floral wire and insert into hole,
twisting into any form desired.
Now they're ready for use in the garden!
A friendly reminder for the residents of my backyard. ☺
Admiring the garden markers?