diy project: chalkboard plant stakes

last week when amy and i were at terrain we saw some adorable blackboard stakes for sale. inspired to try our hand at making our own version, we made a mental note and headed home with a car full of plants and soap that smells like fresh tomatoes (my favorite home smell). so today this weekend when i was downing my second popsicle i decided to save the sticks and use up some of the leftover chalkboard paint i had from my last blackboard project. it’s the perfect simple afternoon project and the possibilities are endless (colored chalkboard paint? using studs to add a border? it’s all up to you).

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


-Sticks (try using tongue depressors, used popsicle sticks (cleaned, of course), used emory boards (washed and dried) or wooden paint stirrers for larger plants)

-Chalkboard paint (available at most hardware stores or Home Depots. Click here for fabulous colored chalkboard paint)



Cost: $20 or under (depending on how many of the materials you already have)

Degree of Difficulty: EASY! (1 out of 3)


1. Gather your wooden pieces and clean and dry them fully. Sand if necessary to ensure a smooth writing surface.

2. Lay down a tarp or plastic sheet and place your sticks down.

3. Using a small paintbrush, paint a light layer of paint on the top and sides of your sticks. Let dry.

4. Flip sides and repeat.

5. Let dry overnight (or follow directions on paint can for proper chalkboard curing).

6. Using strong gardening scissors or a small saw, carefully snip the ends of your stick into a V shape so it pokes into the soil more easily. Be careful not to cut yourself.

7. Decorate with your plant’s name, or a recipient’s name if it’s a gift. Tip: use a pair of scissors to carefully whittle down the tip of the chalk so you can write with a smaller point.

*If you’re like Amy and I and tend to have a black thumb, simply wipe off the name of the deceased plant and rename when you have a new one to take its place.

Have fun!

  1. Cat W. says:

    They make soap that smells like tomatoes?! Where do I find such a thing?

  2. kaarina says:

    I am doing this to go with my galvanized buckets w/ chalkboard paint idea!

    You can see that DIY project here:

    Love it grace– was just saying… how can I make a plant marker that doesn’t make my garden look like it has trash all over it! thanks :)

  3. I’m obsessed with this! I registered for mini chalkboard herb thingys and didn’t get them. Then when I went to buy them they were out of stock indefinitely! Now I can make my own! Thanks for the greatest idea!

  4. Alison says:

    Love this idea because I am addicted to chalkboard paint! I just turned a flat rate box from the Post Office into a magazine holder using that stuff!

  5. Asia says:

    smart! chalkboard paint is the best!!

  6. Molly says:

    Missing the point here as well, but I, too am interested in this tomato soap you speak of. I looked at Terrain’s website and it’s not listed. Would you please post the company that makes it?

    1. amya says:

      Hi Molly – The soap that Grace found at Terrain was Il Frutteto from the Horto Botanico line. I also couldn’t spot it on the Terrain site, but I’m sure you could find someone who sells it!
      -Amy A

  7. Meredith says:

    Great idea! I’m just about to start seedlings for my herb garden. These would keep me perfectly organized.

  8. brandon says:

    testing one more time to be sure.

  9. Willi says:

    Super cute idea! My friend Andrea made tags last year by hand stamping her vegetable varieties’ names on tongue depressors. They were adorable. And earlier today I just discovered some garden markets on Etsy made from vintage silverware. Kind of a fun way to recycle the piles of spoons at tag sales.

  10. hi – am also a fan of chalkboard paint –
    handy hint: if you use a wax white pencil the names will not come off in the rain

  11. Stacey says:

    i’m in favor of DIY but we need some guidance too and thanks for sharing new ideas

    1. grace says:


      what sort of guidance are you talking about beyond giving you step by step instructions?


  12. Kathy says:

    Love this idea! I’m snowed in right now but this post brought me a little breath of spring. Thanks for sharing.


  13. Love these! I was doing some garden planning last night – this came just in time. Thanks for a great post!

  14. Mary Simon says:

    Great it.

  15. Tomato soap, you say…? Hmmm. I am completely intrigued now..! And chalkboard paint is the best – love this idea, and I always love getting little glimpses into your home, Grace.


  16. Molly says:

    Also missing the point, but I, too, would like some of this tomato soap you speak of. Who makes it?

  17. Molly says:

    Amy A- thanks! I can’t wait to buy the soap! I use CB Secret History perfume that smells like tomato plants (A Memory of Kindness), it’s one of my favorite smells.

  18. Nina says:

    This is awesome. I’m having an assortment of potted herbs as centrepieces at my wedding and I was trying to think of an inexpensive way to label them all so people knew what they were taking home. Problem solved!

  19. Jeanne says:

    How sweet. This would be a great project to do with my 7-year-old. Last year she was obsessed with the seedlings we started in the spring and moved out to the garden in the summer. Smart way to remember what’s what!!


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