Wednesday, 30 January 2013
How to make Silver Birch Bark Candle Holders
I'm sure you've all seen these in the shops and on swanky interiors websites. They were everywhere at Christmas, and still featured heavily in magazines and homeware articles.
They add a rustic, Nordic atmosphere to a room, and I just love them. The trouble is, I didn't want to pay anything up to £20 for one.
The solution was simple: make my own! It's easy, and best of all, it's totally free.
You can add cut-out designs of hearts or initials - perfect for a thrifty handmade Valentine's gift. Or make several, with a cut out letter on each to spell out a name or word.
I apologise in advance for the photos. I keep forgetting to buy batteries for my camera, so these were taken on my phone. Plus it's impossible to take pictures of candles in the daytime!
First up you'll need to source your bark. Personally I think this is the most fun part. A great excuse to wrap up and go for a family walk in the woods.
Remember, NEVER take bark from a live tree as you will damage it. Only ever use bark from fallen trees. Don't take too much - it may look like perfect crafting material to you, but to a little bug it's a bijou home. Finally, never remove from private property without the owner's permission.
Once you've found a suitable specimen, carefully peel off the bark, trying to keep it in one large strip. This is easier done when wet.
When you get your bark home, give it a good clean in warm soapy water. Rub the surface gently to restore the white colour and knock off any loose bits of bark from the reverse so you have a nice smooth surface.
Leave to drain, then measure an empty glass jam jar and using a sharp craft knife, cut to the required height and length - enough to wrap all the way round and overlap slightly at the ends.
You can either cut straight at the top and bottom for those neat cut log effect candles, or as I have, leave the top edge as it is for a more natural look.
Decide what and where you want for your cut outs and do these now. On one I cut a heart, on the others I opted to use the holes already present on the bark.
Once cut, wet again under the hot tap and wrap tightly round your jar securing with string or rubber bands. Leave overnight to dry.
When you remove the string, your bark will have moulded to the shape of the vase and be easier to glue as it's already bent (it's quite brittle when dry).
Line up your bottom edge and glue gun some glue along the short end. Carefully roll the bark around the jar, keeping it nice and tight to the glass. Finally, glue the other end and you're done.
Pop a candle or tealight inside and admire your handiwork.
Do you like collecting things when you're out walking in the woods? What's your favourite craft using bits from nature?