I've been seeing garden markers made out of spoons everywhere lately. I don't really worry so much about marking my herbs right now because I'm the only one working with them and can identify them. Once we get the garden bed going, though, it's entirely possible that Scott might be more involved so I might need some markers out there. Being the crafty, DIYer that I am, I figured that I could try making them myself.
The project started with a trip to the thrift store to pick up a bunch of spoons. I think they were maybe $.10 each, so this project doesn't really require that much of an investment.
The big tools you'll need include a hammer and a stamping set. You can get the stamps from a craft store, but I highly recommend someplace like Harbor Freight for a project like this where they will only cost around $10-20 (depending on the size).
You'll need a flat surface to hammer out the spoons. You can probably use concrete blocks or something similar. I have a vise (which was in the garage when we bought the house - score!), so I used the steel block on it. The smaller spoons were easier to hammer out than the bigger ones. I couldn't find ours to try it, but I'm wondering if a small sledgehammer might work better than the hammer. Don't be afraid to get some strength behind your swing (they are stainless steel, after all) and make sure you're holding the hammer properly (don't hurt or embarrass yourself with a bad grip!).
Next step, is stamping. I used my Fine Point Sharpie and evenly spaced out dots where my letters would go so I knew that the word would fit. Make sure you do this on the front of the spoon so that the pattern on the handle shows. When you look at the stamp, the letters are going to appear backwards to you so that they are facing the right way when put to the metal. Line up your first stamp on your first dot and strike it with your hammer. A good, solid strike or two should do the trick. Multiple strikes of lesser force don't really work as well because it's more likely that the stamp will move.
My vise is wedged into a corner of the very crowded workbench in the garage and I didn't have much room to work, so I had a hard time getting the leverage I needed to get my stamping done right. Made me sad, but for now, it's the best I can do.
If you want, you can darken up the lettering, too, to make it easier to read. Color in the letters with a Sharpie, being sure to get into the grooves of the letters. Immediately wipe it down with a towel to get the ink off the surface of the spoon and only leave it in the letters.
Eventually, I hope we can get the garage cleaned out enough that the work bench is easier to work on (go figure) so I can try making some more of these for my garden... and maybe to sell in the shop. They're a lot of fun to make, pretty easy, and not that expensive of a project. Let me know if you try it! I'd love to see pictures. What kind of garden markers (if any) do you use?