Friday, August 16, 2013

It's in the details

We're in the middle of working on the irrigation system - we're converting from a traditional system to a drip system, installing a timer and setting up zones - but it's so danged hot outside, that we can't really work during the heat of the day.  So I decided to fix up a fun little project.  Dale had bought me these plant markers when we were out at a plant store a couple of months ago:

They have a zinc-plated face, which you should be able to write on with a pencil or marker.  But Dale said they'd look so much nicer in copper.  One of the perks of being an art teacher is that I just so happen to have sheet copper and copper tape at home, as well as a set of metal stamps so instead of writing the names, I can stamp them permanently.

The first thing I needed to do was to remove the zinc plated metal -- I just unfolded the metal and took it off, then measured the unfolded piece.  I added a little length so I had plenty to work with, then marked and cut my tooling copper.  I then went down the plant list and stamped the botanical names with my metal stamps, which I bought a long time ago at Harbor Freight.  I got them on sale for 2.99, and I've used them for a ton of things --

I added the year at the bottom.  Thinking of the future when I may replace plants or add new ones! 

After I stamped the name and date, I rolled the metal flat again. I marked the sides with a light crease.

Then folded it over the metal frame.  To make it more secure, I used copper tape along the back.
 I took a dot of black acrylic paint, and rubbed it into the embossed letters.  This will make them stand out and make them more readable.

After I rubbed the paint in, I used a paper towel to wipe off the excess:

I considered spraying the finished tag with a clear spray, but decided I wanted to let them age and build a nice patina.

We have about 35 different plants in the landscape, so I've got a few more to go.  I have 20 of them done, but I need to order some more plant markers! 

Well, I hope to finish the drip system tomorrow.  We also added solar lights (which have come a long way in the past few years!), I'll have a rundown of those in the next post.

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