Upcycling Some Wooden Shoe Trees as Plant Markers and Mushroom Garden Decor

Upcycling Some Wooden Shoe Trees as Plant Markers and Mushroom Garden Decor

After successfully sowing herb seeds in thrifted muffin tins and then transplanting the seedlings into larger pots displayed on a vertical shower caddy, I’m wrapping up my three-part Upcycled Herb Garden series today! And what, pray tell, could my third part be about? Plant markers that double as mushroom garden decor, as well!

You see, I started collecting some vintage shoe trees on my junkin’ journey to Richmond, VA. At the time, I simply thought they looked interesting and perfect for an upcycling project. I just didn’t know what that project was at the time!

Wooden shoe tree at an antiques store for upcycling as plant markers

But then my good friend, Pink Dogwood Jewelry, also gifted me some wooden shoe trees a while ago. She asked if I could do anything with them, and that’s when it hit me.

The fat end of each wooden shoe stretcher looked just like a toadstool mushroom! 

Antique shoe stretcher for repurposing as herb garden markers

That’s when I decided to create some  plant markers from the wooden shoe trees! And believe it or not, THIS is the project that inspired the three-part series; I just had to work backwards first before putting it all together.

Now…I certainly don’t *need* to label my herbs- I know which one is which. But there’s just something fun about making little signs for your herb (or vegetable) garden…and the shoe stretchers seemed awfully perfect for it.

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Transforming the Wooden Shoe Stretchers into Toadstool Mushrooms

First, I needed to cut off the blunt wooden end of each wooden shoe stretcher so that it could be plunged in potting soil. After considering my options, I ended up using bolt cutters to do the deed.

Cutting off the ends of a wooden shoe stretcher for spray painting

Next, it was time to spray paint the antique shoe stretchers. I taped off a good portion of each one before painting. 

I don’t actually know if spray paint can leach into soils, but better safe than sorry, right? 

Spray painting a wooden shoe tree for upcycling as mushroom garden decor

When all was said and done, I painted two of the vintage shoe trees with red paint, two in bright green, and left two of the shoe stretchers that were blue as-is. These seemed like fun toadstool colors to me.

Mushroom garden ornaments by upcycling the wooden shoe stretchers

But of course, these aren’t just going to be mushroom garden decor! I needed to still upcycle them as plant markers, so that’s what I focused on next.

Plant Markers from Wooden Shoe Trees

Now, to make the plant labels reusable each season, I used chalkboard paint for the actual label. That way, I can reuse them year after year, swapping out herbs as I go.

First, I applied a few coats of chalkboard paint to each one, stopping where my painter’s tape had ended before.

Chalkboard paint on wooden shoe stretchers as plant markers

And since little white spots are quintessential to toadstool mushrooms, I added dainty spots of white paint to each one. 

I found small sponge daubers that were the perfect size, but a pencil eraser might work, as well.

Can you handle the cuteness? My plant markers looked JUST LIKE toadstools to me.

Now all I needed to do was label them and they would be ready to be added to my potted herbs.

I swear, my penmanship worsens when I try to be extra neat…but at least you know I’m not faking it with photo editing software, right?

Herb garden markers and mushroom garden ornaments

But anyway, if you plan on planting the same herbs or vegetables each year, you could certainly use an oil-based paint pen for this step, as well. The choice is most definitely yours, depending on your gardening habits!

Upcycling Some Wooden Shoe Trees as Plant Markers and Mushroom Garden Decor

Ta-da! Seriously, these are the cutest plant labels or plant markers ever. I mean, really, those wooden shoe trees were completely, 100% perfect for this!

Repurposing the vintage shoe trees as toadstool mushrooms and garden markers

Aren’t they the perfect little mushroom garden decor or mushroom garden ornaments? Talk about adding whimsy to your potted plants or herb garden!

But see what I mean? No one *needs* to label their herbs. But when the plant markers are this adorable, well…why not?

Mushroom garden ornaments from wooden shoe stretchers

I hope you enjoyed my three part upcycling series on herb gardening!

And if you enjoyed this post and want more upcycling ideas for garden markers or plant labels, then you’ll really love this collection of ideas!

Upcycling crafts for plant labels and garden markers

Craft on!


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How to upcycle the wooden shoe trees as plant markers and mushroom garden decor


  1. Adorable!

  2. GirlfromWVa says

    Awesomely done!

  3. Margaret says

    Super creative, as usual! These are so cute!

  4. WOW! I love the way you think outside the box. I always look forward to opening your blog and seeing what you have created. Your ideas make me smile. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  5. missmargaretdesigns says

    These are so adorable!

  6. Kathy A. says

    Oh, no, another thing to be on the lookout for when I yard sale this summer! Love them! I make theme baskets for raffles for a group and church bazaar; what a great addition!

  7. What a fun idea!! I see these at the thrift store sometimes, and now I know what else I could use them for! 🙂

  8. I love a vintage updo. That was so cute .

  9. What a cute idea! Keep ’em coming!

  10. You’re right! They look exactly like toadstools or mushrooms! What a cute & clever idea! I love how you repurposed these!

  11. You always have the best ideas, so cute! And how nice of your friend! xo

  12. Kimberley A Mason says

    I am always amazed at the the things you come up with. Love, Love, Love it!
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. OMG, those are adorable, what a great idea!!


  14. mary scott says

    I have a collection of these in a clear glass vase in my guest room. I love them. thanks

  15. Ohmigosh Sarah! These are so cute— I love the idea 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  16. acraftymix says

    Oh yes please, those are just beyond adorable Sarah. I wish I could get inside your headand just drift on clouds of creativeness. This is a stunning idea

    • acraftymix says

      And when I’m super excited about a new creative idea I clearly have no concept of checking what I write. Sorry about the type 😉

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, sweet friend! But…I mean…compared to your luggage dresser…this is NOTHING! 😛 😛

  17. Genius!! Absolutely adorable.

  18. I absolutely love this idea!! Pinned! thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY Party!

  19. Another cute idea.

  20. These are adorable Sarah! So cute and what a great way to reuse the shoe stretchers! And I agree with you, they totally looked like toadstools 😉

  21. You think of everything and that’s a good thing. I would have plunged the painted end into the soil without a thought. These are so cute and this has been a great series. Thank you for sharing with us at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope you’re having a great weekend.

  22. JaneEllen says

    Will never look at shoe stretchers the same (if I can ever find any that is). So doggoned clever, cute and inventive. Leave it to you Sarah. Love these, so handy also. I’d probably need a marker to remember what plant was what, duh. Senior moments are the pits, lol. Love colors you chose.. Could use shorter ones for fairy garden
    Have wonderful rest of week

  23. These are adorable! I need a way to mark some of my perennials that I can’t remember the names, and I love these. I will be watching out for some of there.

  24. Jeannie Wallace says

    Toadstool markers? The thought would never have crossed my mind. These are adorable. They make you want to have an herb garden of your own. That’s just what I’m going to do. Thanks for the inspiration. Amazing job as usual.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, Jeannie! And yes, they are cute enough to give you reason to start a garden, that’s for sure!

  25. Sarah these are the cutest things ever! I wish I had seen this a few years ago, I had some of these and had no idea what to do with them so I gave them away :/ Excellent repurpose!


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