Upcycled Wooden Dollar Store Plant Label Stakes

Remember the days when garden markers were as simple as opening the seed packets from the bottom, planting the seeds, then placing the seed packet over a wooden stick? We've gotten a lot fancier with our urban gardens nowadays.



I have three raised garden beds in our yard and have always used the old-fashioned method mentioned above for labeling the freshly planted rows. But this year I've gone all fancy and made vintage-style vegetable garden markers with upcycled wooden dollar store plant stakes.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Vegetable Garden Markers With Clear Decals

They are easy and inexpensive to make and I'm sharing how to label the stakes with homemade clear decals using two different techniques.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

I should also mention that they are weatherproof plant markers and will last for many years.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.



Let's get started. The wooden plant labels I used are 3/4-inches wide by 24-inches long.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

I found these lovely free printable watercolor-style garden markers to use for the vegetable labels on the garden stakes. I'll show you how to turn them into decals further down in the post. But we'll start the tutorial with how to give the wooden plant stakes some rustic charm.



Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to make the vegetable garden markers, almost all of the DIY projects shared here at Interior Frugalista have step-by-step tutorials so why not get your budget DIY on and subscribe. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.



How To Make Vintage-Style Wooden Garden Markers

How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Instead of staining the wooden garden stakes all one color, I painted the label portion white. I did this because the clear decals will not be as visible against the stain. Alternatively, you could paint the garden stakes all white.



Step 1 - Prepping The Stakes For Paint And Stain

After downloading the vegetable printable I ran a few test prints to determine what size fits the wooden stakes. You'll need to adjust your printer settings to scale the output size to 50%.



Next, I determined what size to paint the top portion of the wooden stakes for the clear decals. The length of the labels is 1 1/2-inches plus I allotted for a 1/4-inch border.



Place painter's tape 1 3/4-inches down from the top of the stakes and rub your fingers along the edges for a tight bond to eliminate any stain bleed.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Step 2 - Staining Wooden Garden Stakes

Brush just one coat of golden pine stain with a foam brush on the bottom portion of the stakes on both sides. Leave it for a few minutes and wipe away the excess stain with a lint-free rag.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Step 3 - Painting Wooden Garden Stakes Label Section

After the stain dries overnight measure 1 1/2-inches down from the top. Place a piece of painter's tape on the mark and brush the upper half with two coats of white acrylic craft paint or whatever you have on hand. Don't forget to paint the back of the garden stakes as well.



Pro-Tip

To speed up the painting process, use either a blow dryer or heat gun set on low to dry the paint quickly.



Next, paint a 1/4-inch border between the white and stained sections of the garden markers with olive green acrylic craft paint and a script liner art brush. If you're uncomfortable freehanding the stripe, use painter's tape to get a straight line.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Now we're ready to label the wooden garden markers with the pretty vegetable decals. There are two ways of making clear decals. Both are easy but one has a matte finish while the other glossy.



What Type Of Printer Do I Need To Print Clear Decals?

You can make these with either an inkjet printer or a color laser printer. But for the waterslide decals, you'll need either clear inkjet waterslide paper or clear laser waterslide paper.



How To Make Clear Water Slide Decals

The waterslide decals have a lovely matte finish but there is a cost to making them because you'll need to purchase the waterslide paper mentioned above.


  1. Once you've downloaded the free printable, change your printer settings to scale the output size to 50%.
  2. Print on the glossy side of the waterslide paper.
  3. Cut each individual plant label with a paper cutter or scissors along the grid lines.
  4. Dip the waterslide paper into a bowl of warm water.

Pro-Tip 1

The waterslide paper separates easily so my recommendation is that you dip just one decal at a time in the warm water.


  1. Before applying the decal, rub a little water with your fingers onto the wooden stake. This will give the decal some playtime for adjusting as needed.
  2. Slide the decal down just a little from the backing paper to get it started and set it on the wooden stake. I demonstrate this step in the video included towards the top of this post.
  3. Slowly slide the backing paper down as you set the decal onto the painted wood.
  4. Let the decal dry completely before moving on to the section for sealing the decal.


How To Make Clear Packing Tape Decals

These have a glossy finish and cost nothing to make if you have clear packing tape on hand. If you don't, pick up an inexpensive roll at the dollar store.


  1. Once you've downloaded the free printable, change your printer settings to scale the output size to 50% and print on regular bond paper.
  2. Cut out each row along the grid lines with a paper cutter or scissors.
  3. Place a strip of clear packing tape over each row and rub with your fingers for a tight bond.
  4. Cut out each individual label along the grid lines.
  5. Place the labels in a bowl of warm water just long enough for the paper to get saturated.
  6. Gently rub the paper with your fingers to remove it. I demonstrate this step in the video included towards the top of this post.
  7. Set the decals on a towel, sticky side up, to dry.
  8. Brush a thin layer of either white school glue or Mod Podge on the white painted portion of the plant stake.
  9. Set the clear decal down and let dry before moving on to the next step.


How To Weatherproof Plant Markers

To weatherproof the plant markers and seal the clear decals is fairly easy. You can do it in one of two ways.


  1. Brush a coat of Outdoor Mod Podge over the sticks with a foam brush. Once the first coat dries according to the bottle instructions, apply a second coat.
  2. Brush two coats of an exterior clear coat, waiting at least 2-3 hours according to the instructions on the can between coats.


How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

Aging Plant Markers

This next step is completely optional. If you'd like your plant stakes to have a vintage-style time-worn patina, it's easy to do with either brown glaze or brown wax. 



All you do is rub the brown wax (or brown glaze) with a lint-free rag over the clear decal and white paint and wipe away the excess. You can see the difference in the photo below between the first and last garden stakes that have been waxed and the two in the middle that has not.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

That's it, now we're ready to get planting!



We still have snow here in the Canadian prairies and planting our gardens doesn't happen until May. I'm looking forward to planting our veggie garden this year with these fancy garden stakes in our raised beds.



How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals.

In the spirit of spring planting, here's an easy DIY Potting Bench idea that can be built in an afternoon. Also, you may like this fun Garden Lovers Wreath idea with vintage seed packet printables and mini garden tools.



Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by these vintage-style rustic garden markers. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!



If you enjoyed this DIY plant markers idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Gardening Ideas board on Pinterest.




How to upcycle dollar store wooden plant label stakes into weatherproof rustic vegetable garden markers with vintage-style using DIY clear decals. #gardenstakes #gardenmarkers

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Comments

  1. Awesome idea Marie, which I'm stealing BTW ;-) We've just gotten involved in a wonderful growing garden initiative in a township down the road from us and pretty markers like these will be just the thing to do with the street kids in their craft class. And their parents will be overjoyed to have a way to mark their veggies too. Now I just have to figure out how to translate the English names to Sotho names

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    1. How exciting Michelle, I wish you the best in this new venture. Those kids AND their parents are going to love you guys and be blown away by your creativity in the craft classes!

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  2. These are fantastic Marie! I didn't believe my eyes when I saw they are printables! Excellent job!

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    1. Yes they are, Maya, and such pretty printables at that! I fell in love as soon as I saw them.

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  3. Your veggie markers are so attractive and professional looking!

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    1. Hi Carol, thank you very much! Your comment about them being professional looking made my day!

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  4. Love these sweet veggie's markers. So fun to think we could be planting flowers and gardens soon. Have a great new week ahead.

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    1. Oh Kris, that time can't come fast enough. LOL Wishing you a great week too!

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  5. These are cute Marie! I made some last year with wooden ice cream spoons and Sharpie markers but of course they only lasted one year, haha!

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    1. Thanks Tania, I'm glad you like this idea for garden markers. Finger's crossed they last for several years.

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  6. These are adorable Marie! I can’t wait for gardening season as well! Here in the Burlington area (GTA) it will be another couple of months. 🤗

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    1. Oh I'm surprised it'll be two more months for you too, Denise. I assumed your temperatures were much warmer being further south than us in Edmonton.

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  7. I am new here and wow what a welcome. I can see, I will be spending lots of time searching through your ideas. Thank you
    Debbie

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    1. Welcome Debbie! I'm thrilled you like what you see so far. If you have any questions about any of the projects don't hesitate to press the contact me tab at the top and I'd be happy to help.

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  8. I couldn't want these more if I tried! They are so adorable! I don't have a colour printer anymore so please send to... haha!

    I've featured this fab project in this weekend's DIY Salvaged Junk Projects. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I'm thrilled you are featuring them, Donna, thank you so much! They were so easy to make that I've got more in the works for my raised garden beds. Happy Spring!

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  9. These are really neat! I would have thought they were vintage for sure!

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  10. These are the best, I have been looking for something new to make for markers. Thank you for the inspo!

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    1. You're welcome, I'm glad you like them. Have fun making veggie markers for your garden!

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  11. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. We appreciate your shares. They have been Tweeted Pinned. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

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    1. I so appreciate the tweet, pin, and shares, Marilyn! Have a great week 😊

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  12. Love these! So cute -- and practical, too! :)

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    1. Thank you very much, Lisa! I can't wait for the snow to melt so I can put them to good use.

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  13. You are so clever! We are planting a garden soon and will actually need something like this. I wasn't going to do anything other than try and remember what was where but now I think I need these! Thanks for sharing it on the Farmhouse Friday LP. We are featuring it tomorrow and it has been pinned to multiple boards!

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    1. So glad my plant stakes inspired you to make some for your garden, Cindy! I'm still waiting for the bloody snow to melt here before I can use mine. A big THANK YOU for the feature and the multiple pins - much appreciated! xo

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  14. Marie, these plant stakes are the cutest ones I have ever seen. And who knew there is an Outdoor Modge Podge. Thanks for the great tutorial. I think I will definitely try this as they will dress up my garden!

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    1. Aw, thank you very much Mary! I do hope you try making these for your garden. I'm making more for mine as we speak. I might make some for gifts too.

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  15. Hi Marie, these are just the cutest ever! I love any and everything garden related. Thanks so much for the tutorial and idea!

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    1. Thank you very much, Debra, I'm so glad you like them! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can plant our garden and use these.

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  16. Your vegetable garden markers are too pretty to use in the garden. I love the art and the green with the cream!
    Hugs,
    Kippi

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    1. Aw thanks Kippi, I'm glad you think so! Now if only the weather would smarten up so I can plant the garden and use these.

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