Tutorial + How-to vinyl plant markers

Published on March 31st, 2009 | by Julie Finn

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Recycle Vinyl Blinds into Plant Markers: Another Quickie Tutorial

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vinyl plant markers Our house is chock-full of vinyl mini-blinds, and one of the things that I’d most loooooove to do is to chuck them all in favor of something natural and something less likely to strangle my dear babies. I haven’t yet, however, because they are perfectly serviceable still and I can’t stand to just throw them in the trash just because I want to upgrade.

And then I thought, “Why do I hate vinyl so much?” Because it will basically never, ever decompose back into the earth.

Where, however, could such a quality ever be an asset?

In the garden, that’s where! No matter what happens between spring and fall–rain, sun, heck, the apocolypse could strike at any second–I am always going to know exactly where my chives are.

Here’s how you can transform your crap blinds into indestructable chives markers, too:

You will need: vinyl blinds to recycle; REALLY sturdy scissors; permanent markers (you bought some Sharpies to make your #6 plastic shrinky-dinks, right?)

1. Snip away the twine holding your vinyl blinds together to separate them into the nice, long planks.

2. Using your very sturdy scissors, cut each plank into a good length for your plant markers. Mine are extra-long so that my four-year-old daughter can help me and practice her BIG printing, but the bonus is that the extra room also gives me a cheat-sheet of sorts–on some, I wrote what the plant is supposed to look like, so that I don’t accidentally weed it, and on others, I wrote any special water or other care requirements, just so I don’t forget..

3. Using permanent ink pens, label your plant markers any way you’d like.

And that’s it!

Whatever do you do with your sucky old vinyl mini-blinds?



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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



  • http://elva-undine.livejournal.com Jessica Marie

    This is a genius idea, but I have to ask – isn’t there a risk of lead poisoning from vinyl blinds, especially older/imported blinds? That’s what I’ve heard…I want it to not be true though, because these markers are so cute.

  • kath

    I just made a bunch of these last week! I made them smaller so they would fit inside the seed starter trays, but they work really well and the nice part is that you can make them whatever size you need. The one thing I did notice is that after a while, the plastic becomes brittle, but you could probably get a few seasons out of the markers before that happens.
    I haven’t heard anything about lead poisoning, but I’ll have to look into that now.

  • http://www.themoore4.com shelley

    Just make sure the blinds are lead-free. not all are from the past.

  • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Pumpkinbear

    Good question–vinyl blinds imported for US sale around 1996 or earlier have lead as a finishing agent, and these can decompose with direct sunlight. Around that time the CPSC changed the law, promoted new packaging labeling, and encouraged families with young children to dispose of imported vinyl miniblinds.

    Our vinyl miniblinds that we used for these plant markers are only a couple of years old, and don’t contain lead. In my experience, miniblinds don’t last terribly long, anyway–they’re always breaking or getting bent or something, so fortunately it’s getting less likely that those older imported miniblinds would be around, but I know it is possible. 1996 or earlier imported blinds shouldn’t be recycled into craft projects–those should be discarded as hazardous waste.

  • http://gingerbreadsnowflakes.com Pam Harris

    Absolutely brilliant!

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  • cathy

    I have been using pieces of vinyl blinds as plant markers for a few years. I have noticed that after a while in the sun even the sharpies fade so I place a strip of clear packing tape over the writing. This helps the writing last longer. They work great as temporary plant markers.

  • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Julie Finn

    The packing tape idea is terrific! If you REALLY wanted to keep your vinyl markers for a long time, I imagine that a spray clear coat or top coat of paint designed specifically for vinyl would work. Then, though, you’d have to use spray paint, of course.

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  • http://www.myinspirationlounge.com misty gibbs

    This is a brilliant idea! I posted it over at My Inspiration Lounge and shared your feedback on the lead concern that was quickly brought up. Vinyl blinds be gone! :)
    http://myinspirationlounge.squarespace.com/mistys-blog/2009/4/6/recycle-vinyl-blinds-into-plant-markers.html

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  • Freida

    That was such good advise!!! Thank you! I was looking for the perfect answer and you had it! I have two old blinds and that’s enough to keep me going for a long time! One blind is from my mothers window. She is now gone but her memory is in every new seedling now! Thanks again!

  • http://whoaitsaimz.blogspot.com Amy

    What a great idea, and how appropriate for this time of year. I only wish I had known about this when I trashed my vinyl blinds early last year…

    Subscribed to you :-)

  • http://www.aluminouspublishing.com Alice

    I used the wide blind strips as molds for a recycle paper project. I used my computer to make six inch tall letters. Just set the type size to 600. I measured the sides of each letters and used the measurements to score and bend the blinds. I folded the blind into the shape, filled the mold with pulp made in my blender, then let it dry a few days in the hot Nevada Desert.

  • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Julie Finn

    One of the things that my partner and I, thrifting and scavenging addicts with two small daughters, have invested in are sets of easy to use and instant-result lead tests. They’re swabs–you crack two vials of liquid that live inside the cardboard housing, shake them together, and then swab whatever you’re wondering about. If it has a lead component, it changes color.

    I’ll tell you, they’re life-savers. I’ve swabbed everything from a neighbor’s doorjamb (had lead) to dishes at a garage sale (no lead). One lady I know actually stemmed a recall at our public library because she swabbed a toy they were giving away for their reading program and found it was one of those imports with a high lead level.

    You can get lead swabs online, but we actually got ours free in our town through some non-profit organization or other.

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  • S

    I prefer the PlantID markers. They last a very long time.

  • Dianne Burns

    I have been using vinyl blinds for plant markers for quite a while. I have found that the permanent markers do eventually fade. Since I have a small nursery and sell a considerable variety ( over 50 varieties of tomatoes, and several varieties of other vegies) of heirloom vegie plants, I bought an inexpensive black and white laser printer, and packages of white mailing labels. I use the premade forms in Windows Word to make up labels and them paste them on the vinyl pieces. The labels won’t wash off or fade. And I’m not spending hours and hours of writing on each label.

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  • http://craftingagreenworld.com Kat

    You can also use them as book marks. You can do this with your kids. Just cover in whatever scrap material you already have on hand or from worn sheets or what have you and hot glue material to itself. Tuck excess material in at top and bottom (using a pencil works nicely) and hot glue on material sides. Add decorative touches with fabric paint, ribbon, contrasting fabric or whatever else you have on hand. Makes a great gift for family members.

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  • Zevenster

    This is a super system. I have worked it for about 7 years now, and they are a treat. Easy to see between high growth, also. And you can take the markerpen off with some sticker removal.
    If you use a wooden dowel, like a piece of broomstick, sharpened at the end, gliding in the earth together with the label, it won’t snap or bend.

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  • colleen

    Great Idea!! I’ve had trouble with sharpie ink fading and not knowing what variety of tomato etc I had. So will try some of these other ideas to maintain the info! Thanks.

    If you need mini blinds to recycle you may talk to local landlords. We are always needing to replace them between tenants.

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