Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Diy: Birch Bark Hearts

Posted on | December 8, 2009 | 7 Comments

bark heart

I have a few more holiday diys to share. My wonderful crafty college friend Betsy was inspired by these woven paper hearts she spotted on Once Wed. She recreated the hearts using birch bark. Below her how to instructions. Thanks Betsy for sharing!

My mom and I used to make these when I was growing up in Maine. I am excited to now be making them with my son! The design is really simple, but using birch bark makes them special.

We collect the bark from already cut logs, or if it as already peeled off the trunk, so as not to hurt the living tree. Once we get the bark home we peel it into thinner layers. If the bark is dry and brittle and seems like it might break in the folding, then we soak it in a shallow pan of water until it softens up. We do the same thing with the innermost layers of bark which are sometimes stiffer and harder to fold. While that bark soaks we use our patterns to cut up the rest of our bark.

It is fun to match the two pieces—sometimes we make one side “inside out” for contrast. For the pieces that we soaked- we cut the pieces out of the wet bark, assemble the basket, and then press them under books (protecting the books from the damp bark with a dishtowel). Finally, we add handles so we can hang them from the tree. Usually the handle is just a thin strip of birch bark glued on the inside of the basket, but we sometimes use ribbon if we run out of bark.

Related Posts:
Diy: Icicle Chandelier
Diy: Salt Dough Ornaments
Macaroni Snowflakes

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7 Responses to “Diy: Birch Bark Hearts”

  1. jen jafarzadeh
    December 8th, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    so sweet!


  2. Jane Flanagan
    December 8th, 2009 @ 1:15 pm



  3. Stephanie
    December 8th, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

    I love these.


  4. Cyn
    December 8th, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

    Just discovered your blog because of PartyPerfect and I am in love! LOL What a great blog – have bookmarked at least 5 ideas I can’t wait to try out in the next few days!


  5. Katy Elliott
    December 8th, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

    Great Cyn!


  6. chelsea
    December 9th, 2009 @ 1:57 am



  7. Christie Chase
    December 9th, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    Greetings from Texas!
    Thanks so much for this idea! I’m going to make some for gifts ….check out what I did with some birch bark I collected this year


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    A journal about new england life, decorating inspiration, and raising a baby girl while renovating a 262-year-old house in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read more...

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