I will be honest with you, when I first tried to do this project I could not get it to work the way I wanted. I spent a few very frustrating hours trying to stick wet springy bark to pots, using a variety of glues to no avail.
Then hubby walked passed and said ‘why don’t you just mold the bark around the pot, tie it on, and leave it to dry in that shape before you try and stick it’. I think I probably looked like a goldfish for a moment while I digested his comment; it is in fact really obvious once someone points it out, and it works like a dream.
There are a few fallen Birch in one of the woods where we walk our dog, so I had been thinking about trying this for a while. With my new found knowledge of working with Birch Bark I would suggest if you do pick some up, that you immediately roll it with the outer face of the bark on the outside and secure it, as it will naturally curl the other way if left to its own devices as it dries, making it much harder to work with.
To make a Birch Bark covered pot like ours you will need some pieces of bark, a terracotta pot, elastic bands and PVA glue. We also painted the rim of our pot with a cream acrylic paint.
Our bark had dried out by the time we came to use it so we soaked it in water for half an hour, before scrapping off any lumps on the inside of the bark. We then simply wrapped the bark around the pot, roughly trimming away the excess and left it to dry for 24hrs. We used the sticks you can see in the photo to stop the elastic bands from damaging the edges of the bark as it has a tendency to split along them.
Once the bark pieces had dried into the shape of our pot, we removed them, and primed the pot with a watered down coat of PVA and let that dry. We then painted the rim and the base of the pot in cream, to help disguise any uneven edges of bark once the pot was finished. I would advise allowing this to dry properly as well; I didn’t, and ended up with finger prints on ours!
You then simply apply a generous coat of PVA glue to the inside of your bark, and wrap it around your pot, using the elastic bands to keep it in place as you go. We left our pot for a full 24hrs to dry once the bark was glued into place, and it is held really securely.
I am absolutely delighted with how our pot turned out – now I’ve found a method that works (thanks hubby!) I have all sorts of objects ear-marked for the bark treatment! If anyone else has come up with other methods of working with bark I’d love to hear about them, please do leave any tips in the comments below.