Crafts using tree bark

Written by neal litherland
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Crafts using tree bark
Tree bark is a useful and versatile crafting material. (tree bark image by Joann Cooper from

Tree bark is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of different arts and crafts. In North America, Africa, South America and other places, people have been finding creative uses for tree bark. Although not all of these crafts are easy to accomplish, and many of them require a great deal of skill to properly execute, people still participate in these activities.

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One of the easiest craft activities that involves tree bark is making rubbings. Also done on gravestones, rubbings require a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon. To make a rubbing, put your piece of paper over the tree bark and hold it in place while you rub the crayon or pencil over the paper. The shape of the tree bark beneath the paper will be revealed as you rub. For this activity, waxed paper works well, and crayons work better than pencils unless the grain of the tree bark is very fine. Once the rubbing is completed, you can use it for a variety of purposes, such as a wall decoration or a book cover.

Flowerpot Design

Tree bark can be used to create a rustic, natural feel for flowerpots. If you have a bendable type of bark (such as birch bark), a terra cotta flowerpot and a glue gun, then this project is easily accomplished. All you need to do is cut your tree bark into three- or four-inch lengths and then glue those lengths to the pot. You should be careful that the grain of the bark is going in the same direction to give the design the natural look and feel of a tree. In addition, it is a good idea to have the edges of the bark meet without letting them overlap, to create a smoother, more free-flowing look.


Before paper or canvas became popular as a painter's material, tree bark was used for many art projects. If you can harvest tree bark (either by carefully peeling it from a tree or by finding large, sloughed-off sections of it that have been shed by a still living tree), then it makes a good canvas for painting. If the bark tries to curl, you should stretch it out and weigh it down until it stops. You may also want to attach it to a frame so that it will hold its shape. Once the bark is flat, all you need is a paintbrush and some paints, and you've got a canvas ready to accept your work.

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