Posted on | December 8, 2009 | 7 Comments
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.