Rocks! A Cheap and Easy Way to Mark Your Plants

by Andrea Foster, Conservation Outreach Coordinator

Have you ever looked at your garden and thought it could use something a little more exciting? Are you looking for an inexpensive way to label plants that will hold up through the winter? If so, you should give painted rocks a try!

By bringing back the painted rock, you can inexpensively spruce up any garden, and add a fun educational component at the same time.

The supplies you will need include rocks, cheap craft paint, acrylic paint pens, foam brushes, a can of acrylic spray (UV filtering if you can find it) and a bucket of hot soapy water.



To start, you will want to wash your rocks. I recommend a bucket, hot water, some generic dish detergent, and a helper! Rinse the soap off the rocks with your harvested rain barrel water, and lay them out to dry. If they are cold to the touch, they are not ready to be painted.



Next, you will take the cheap white craft paint, and using the foam brush, paint one side of the rock white. Only painting one side will allow any remaining moisture to escape, and will keep paint particles from flaking off and entering the soil where the rock is placed.


After you allow the paint to dry (3-4 hours or overnight), it’s time to label and decorate! This may take a while depending on how in-depth you get. Enlist a helper if you have a lot of rocks to label! Use the acrylic paint pens, and make sure the white paint underneath is COMPLETELY dry, or you will have some serious paint pen problems.


Once again, you will need to allow your newly labeled rocks to dry. I recommend overnight, but NOT in the sun. The paint pen colors may not be lightfast, and should have a UV-protective coating over them before going in the sun.


After a thorough drying, spray the rocks with multiple coats of UV protective clear acrylic spray. This should be done in a very well-ventilated area! Allow the rocks to dry, and place them! That’s it, a cheap, easy and attractive way to label the plants in your garden bed.

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If you are interested in learning more about tips like this, and yard conservation, click here! For more information about your free site visit, or about the Little Forks Conservancy, click here or email Andrea at

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