DIY Plastic Plant Labels and Markers

It’s the time of the year to start seeds indoors.  So it’s the time of the year I make plastic plant labels.  DIY plant markers can be made by recycling items you already have in your home.  

Our tutorial today is on how to make plant identification markers with plastic milk or water jugs.

DIY Plastic Plant Markers - fb

How to Make Your Own Plastic Plant markers for labeling plants

Labeling plants is important! When starting seeds, it's necessary to know what is sprouting, especially if you plant multiple varieties of the same plant.  For instance, young seedlings look-alike, i.e., varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, flowers, so it is important to differentiate with plant identification markers. 

Although store brought markers are fine, they cost money.  And when starting plants from seeds indoors under grow lights with a plastic dome, I have found the store-bought markers too large.  

Or what do you do if you are in the middle of planting and run out of plastic plant labels?  Driving to the local nursery or hardware store to purchase more. What a waste of time!

The answer is to do what I do.  Make your own free plant labels.  

If you are looking for gardening and foraging ideas, head over to our Sustainable Gardening and Foraging page. 

Watch this video or keeping reading this post for a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to repurpose leftover milk and water jugs into plant labels to properly label your seed trays and pots.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link DIY Plastic Plant Labels and Markers to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

DIY Plant Labeling In pots

Make homemade plant labels out of old plastic containers.

In addition to milk and water containers, you can create your own plant labels by recycling other common household items such as:

  • Yogurt Cups
  • Sour Cream Container
  • Margarine Tub
  • Cottage Cheese Container
  • Plastic Ice Cream Tubs
  • Etc. 

Why Do you Need Plant and Garden Labels?

  • To organize seed starting
  • Keep track of seedling types and varieties
  • Learn to identify plants
  • An educational tool for children to learn plants
  • Share plants with others
  • Grow plants someone else will harvest
  • Know where perennials are planted 

how to make free seedling labels with milk jugs


  • Empty Plastic Milk or Water Jugs
  • Scissors or Shears
  • Craft Knife or Box Cutter
  • Permanent Marker

DIY Plastic Plant Markers Supplies

INSTRUCTIONS for DIY plant labels:

STEP 1: prepare jug

Wash out the plastic bottle.  If possible, remove the labels.


The flat side sections of the jug will to used to make the plant markers. So you need to cut the top and bottom off the jug.

DIY Plastic Plant Markers Make Hole In JugWith a craft knife or box cutter, cut a small slit where you want to cut.  

DIY Plastic Plant Markers Cut off top and bottomThen with a scissor cut off the top and bottom of the jug. You will have a large plastic tube shape.

DIY Plastic Plant Markers aloeDon't throw the bottom away.  It can be used as a water catcher for small potted plants.  

STEP 3: cut strips

DIY Plastic Plant Markers cut markersCut down one side of the tube.  Then from the flat sections, simple cut strips as wide and as long as you need. 

If you want a stake end, snip one end into a point. DIY Plastic Plant Markers cut

STEP 4: label

DIY Plastic Plant Markers in bell pepper2The plastic is easy to write on with a marker.  Simply, write the plant’s name on the tag with a permanent marker. 

Plastic jars have a non-porous surface.  So, even when using a permanent marker, the writing may fade with time and weather but they should definitely last one gardening season.

STEP 5: label each pot and tray

DIY Plastic Plant Label in pots w extra markersTrust me, you will never remember what you planted where.  So pop a homemade label into each pot and tray.

When you transplant the seedlings outside, use the same tag.  It should last the season but it may fade.  By the time it fades, you should be able to identify the plant type and the variety.

DIY Plastic Plant Markers in bell pepper1

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make plant identification labels.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help or clarify anything.


  • Watering jug or can
  • Soil/Compost scoop
  • Mini greenhouse
  • Simple cloche
  • Bird Feeder
  • Plant saucer
  • Garden shovel
  • Store DIY liquid fertilizer
  • Water-filled jugs to hold down row covers
  • As planters
  • Seed starting container
  • DIY irrigation system
  • Quick funnel

Have a wonderful Spring!



If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

a few popular gardening tutorials

DIY Plastic Plant Markers - pin

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Green Craft Shopping


Gardyn - Small

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Looking for something you cannot find on our site? Click here to e-mail the Needlepointers Information department.

Copyright ©2003 - 2019 All Rights Reserved. | Powered by w3.css

Secured by RapidSSL