Cat food cans to garden tags

[Blog note: I have a more recent post about making garden tags with a laser cutter.]

I have written several recent posts about creating things FOR cats (see also: cat scratcher, printed toy ball, cut toy ball, etc.), but this is a short post based on creating something FROM the byproduct of cat ownership.

I do not know where I originally read about it, but a few years ago I ran across a project where someone used old flatware (spoons and butter knives) to mark parts of the garden by hammering embossed letters into them — and in the spoon’s case, hammering it flat first — and then sticking them in the ground.

I thought this was a cool idea and ordered some punches for stamping metal and leather.  I never actually got around to finding random bits of tableware, though I poked around Village Merchants several times over the years.

Today, I planted a bunch of seedlings in trays and needed a way to mark which seed cups were which.  Of course, it had to be waterproof so that watering did not damage the markers.  This is when the metal-punch project came back to me — except since then, I’ve obtained a pair of tin snips.  I spied a cat food can in the recycling and put two and two together.

Using the tin snips, I cut the cans into strips.  I then hammered text into them and cut them apart.  In a way, it was like a heavily manual and metallic version of the old Dymo labeler.  Unfortunately, I have no photos of the process.  It was a fairly organic experiment and I had no idea what the end result would look like, so I did not document it.

The results were certainly not perfect, but good enough to identify which parts of the trays were which.

cherry tomatoes
beefsteak tomatoes

 

Posted in: Dear Diary Projects

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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