Embossed Aluminum Can Garden Markers – Upcycling Tutorial

4 Materials
2 Hours

Do you like to grow things? Then you might enjoy making these simple embossed aluminum can garden markers.

I most assuredly do not have a green thumb, but I still give growing things a try every year. I can usually get a few flowers to grow, but I’ve never been successful with an actual garden. Still, I love fresh basil, chives, and mint. So every spring, I find myself buying plants and hoping I can keep them alive. Some years are more successful than others.

But my big dream is to have a little greenhouse and grow a garden from seeds. So currently, I don’t have any use for garden markers because the greenhouse is just a picture in my head and the garden is also non-existent, but I often go about things in a backward way. So happily, I will be ready with my garden markers when the big day arrives.

If you already have a garden and want to DIY some markers, here is my upcycled aluminum can design.

Step 1 – Gather Supplies

To make these garden markers, you will need the following.

  • Two pairs of needle nose pliers
  • Craft scissors
  • An embossing tool
  • Tape
  • Two 10mm silver jump rings (per marker)
  • One U shape garden staple (per marker)
  • Two silver pony beads (per marker)
  • Hole punch
  • Flat cardboard
  • Felt or craft foam
  • Template (available on my blog post) or your own design
  • Flattened sheet from an aluminum can (2-minute tutorial below)

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Step 2 – Prep For Embossing

If you would like to use my templates, you can find the pdf files here. However, if you are designing your own garden markers, you need to make sure that you mirror the image before you print out your template to ensure the design reads in the right direction once it is embossed.

Once you have your template ready, use the tape to apply it to the printed side of the aluminum sheet.

Step 3 – Emboss Design

I am not an expert at embossing, but I think it is fun and relaxing to gently work with the metal to make a design appear, and I have learned a few tips for embossing aluminum. The first thing is that you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure on your first pass. It is easy to slip off your line if you do so. Also, the more padding you use underneath, the deeper the impression will be.

My process is to start working on my padded surface (usually a piece of felt folded in half) and go over the design with the smaller tip of my embossing tool several times, increasing the pressure a little each time.

Once I can feel an indentation, I flip the piece over, switch to my cardboard surface and outline my embossing on the front side.

You can find more details in the video tutorial below.

Step 4 – Separate

If you use my templates, you should get four tags out of one aluminum sheet. The red lines are for cutting, and the black lines are the embossing lines. My tags also have a small rectangle to indicate where to punch the hole. Once you have made the hole and trimmed the edges, you can remove the paper template.

Step 5 – Assemble

I used my needle nose pliers to add two of the 10mm jump rings to each tag to finish the garden markers.

Then I slid one pony bead onto the garden staple, added one tag, and slid one more pony bead onto the other side of the garden staple. You can add some glue to the pony beads to secure them in place if you need to.

I am not the only thing keeping these markers from a garden. The weather here isn’t quite ready yet either. 🙂

Thanks for checking out my project.

Happy Upcycling,


Suggested materials:
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Garden Staples
  • Pony Beads
See all materials
Cindy @ Upcycle Design Lab
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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4 of 15 comments
  • Benjamin Benjamin on Mar 09, 2022

    So cute. 🍷

  • Barb Anderson D'Agostino Barb Anderson D'Agostino on Mar 09, 2022

    Gosh I love this idea!! I may glue them back to back so I don't see the coloured side of the cans I use. Sorry If I missed that in your tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Hi Barb, thanks for your comment. I haven't tried this but I have seen a YouTube video on how to remove the ink from aluminum cans. It seem you use a pressure cooker and then the ink comes right off with finger nail polish remover. It sounds crazy but I guess it works. If I had a pressure cooker I would give it a try. Thanks again for checking out my project.