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Quick clay cutouts tell you which plant is which.

TURN YOUR GARDEN into a curiouser and curiouser wonderland with these Alice-inspired plant labels. The labels are made from self-hardening clay--no kiln-or oven-firing is necessary.

Just an hour's efforts yield these functional garden decorations. Under appropriate supervision, they can be a good project for a child's imagination and skills.

Materials. To make the labels, you need self-hardening clay--available at hobby shops and art supply stores. It comes in red and gray, and costs $4 to $7.50 for a 5pound box.

You also need a piece of canvas, a rolling pin, paper templates and a sharp kitchen or utility knife (or cookie cutters) for shaping, a nail for lettering, mat-finish acrylic varnish, brass dowels (each about 1/8 inch in diameter and 12 inches long) for label stands, and waterproof epoxy. Hobby shops sell brass dowels in 12-inch lengths for less than $1 (as an alternative, cut coat hangers for stands).

Label construction. Tape or tack a large piece of canvas to your work surface, and roll out a chunk of clay to a 3/8-inch thickness. Lay a template on the clay, and use the knife to cut around it. Wet your finger and smooth out the cut edges.

You can use household objects to imprint textured designs on the clay. Then inscribe plant names with a nail (wooden or rubber stamps will also work).

Poke a brass dowel 1 inch deep into each label; carefully wiggle the dowel to make the hole slightly larger. Then re move the dowel and let the label air-dry on a flat surface at room temperature; the clay shrinks slightly as it dries. To prevent warpage, turn the label occasionally so both sides get exposed to air. Allow two days for clay to dry thoroughly.

To waterproof, brush or spray dry labels with several coats of varnish (allow to dry between coats). Finally, glue a dowel in each hole.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Building Design Crafts; making plant labels
Author:Ocone, Lynn
Date:Mar 1, 1992
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