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How to Make Garden Markers by Painting Stones

Planting the seeds last week, I was pondering the question that arises every spring – how to label my rows? I wanted to keep it simple, cheap and cute. Bonus points, if I could involve my toddler into the process of making the garden markers because toddlers, well, like to be involved. Then I remembered painting rocks a few years ago…

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

We do not have space for a big garden, but we like to enjoy some homegrown vegetables every year. Our experience has been that homegrown tomatoes and carrots show the most improvement over the supermarket varieties. So, this year we are growing five different kinds of tomatoes. My current favourite are a variety of small dark tomatoes called chocolate cherry tomatoes.

We also try to grow something new each year, so this year we picked up packs of sunberry and ground cherry seeds. We tried ground cherries a year ago at a farmer’s market during our vacation in Montréal , and they were so juicy and delicious. We couldn’t quite find seeds for poutine or macaroons, so ground cherries will be our reminder of Montréal this year.

Once the seeds were planted, I needed to label them. That’s when I remembered how several years ago my little nieces and I entertained ourselves with painting rocks and later decorating paths in my mom’s garden with them. Well, we had rocks at our house as well! We collected them at the beach of Lake Erie, fully expecting Budster to paint a couple for fun some time. Painting and turning them into something useful sounded very appealing. If you remember our painted cutting board, you may have guessed that I am a fan of decorating utilitarian objects.

Materials for Making Garden Markers

– smooth big and medium-sized rocks
– gouache, tempera or acrylic paints
outdoor varnish

I entrusted Budster with the task of painting the rocks with solid colours. We used gouache, for it is non-toxic, washes off pretty well, yet has good covering properties. For older kids, who can be careful with paints, I would recommend acrylics.

Orange for pumpkins, pink for strawberries, green for cucumbers, red and yellow for tomatoes. It is always fun to try painting on something new and see how the improvised canvas responds to the paint. Rocks have a very pleasant texture: smooth and grainy at the same time, and Budster likes holding them as well.

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

We did painting in a couple of sittings because Budster’s hands would get coloured quicker than the rocks he held. He used it to his advantage: he would only have to grab a new stone to make it half-painted. Of course, at times his artistic vision extended beyond the stone, and the table would get coloured as well.

After the rocks dried, Budster got very excited about them. Colourful rocks! He wanted to play with them. As they were, they actually made a nice addition to a building set. A few hours of play was enough for his possessiveness to wane, after which I collected the stones to continue working on the garden markers.

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

I added some lines and leaves to make the painted stones look a bit more like plants they symbolize. We are growing two varieties of pumpkins this year: one is good for carving into jack-o-lanterns, and the other is supposed to be excellent for pies. After I painted a face on the jack-o-lantern pumpkin, I could not stop myself and made a bunch of vegetable characters. Obviously, this part would be an interesting project to work on with older children. Who can come up with the silliest face?

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

The last step of this project should be varnishing the stones to protect them against moisture. Do it in a well-ventilated area and, depending on your varnish, give the stones two or three coats before putting outside.

I am going to put the rocks in the garden tomorrow, but I am not sure how long they will mark the rows. Budster longs to get to know Mr. Carrot better and make Ms. Strawberry feel happier. They might all end up in the sandbox, having fun with us. I suppose that’s fine, too.

What are you growing this year? What kind of vegetables would you need to paint?

How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

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How to Make Garden Markers from Rocks: a simple, cheap and cute craft to make in preparation for gardening this spring.

About Liska Myers

When not building towers and measuring the depth of puddles with her toddler, Liska likes to make toys and write about them. She is also a bookworm and fond of painting. Accompanied by her husband and son, she lives and adventures in Ontario, Canada.


  1. How amazing are your creations! Such a great way of getting children to learn about what can grow in a garden but also keep their interest by having such wonderful craft stones displaying the different types of plants. I love them.

  2. These look so cute! I love them :) Thanks for linking up to Tuesday Tutorials I hope you’ll come back next week too!

  3. These are so cute! Love them! Thank you for linking with us #Pintorials

  4. I LOVE these – they’re too cute for words! Now shared on my Garden board! #Pintorials

  5. WOW. I absolutely love your blog here! You’ve done a spectacular job at the painted faces. I hope to one day be as talented. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Love the idea! I only have a balcony with avocado plants and a tiny bit of lemon balm and a citrus tree….but no garden. Eh, what – I guess we’ll make the same cute plant markers, but name them something like … plant buddies instead. :) Thanks for the idea, Liska!
    And I see your kid uses an ikea apron, just like mine does. Oh they ARE useful, aren’t they :)

  7. These are great! Love the pumpkin best – fab for Halloween too ;)
    Thanks for sharing at the Mumsnet linky.

  8. They are really great! Could you help me what type of paint marker pen did you use, please? I would like to put the stones in the garden, but simple marker could loose its color etc…

  9. They are adorable! Thanks for sharing the idea!

  10. I absolutely adore this idea! This will be on our to-do list this spring! (Last year we kept forgetting what we planted where, so we had a lot of mystery squash sprouting up. This will correct that.) I know my kids will have a fantastic time helping out with these, too. And I love your other ideas on the site too! Thank you!

  11. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful information about stone garden markers, Really, if we create markers by stone, they would be more, durable and strong for plants.

  12. I can not get enough of this cute idea! I can’t wait to hand my kids rocks and say- make this cute! Thanks for sharing, I am going to post this on my Fridays 5 Favorites this week on my blog!

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