How to Bend Bamboo Sticks

straight bamboo poles image by Yali Shi from

Bamboo is a strong, fibrous and easily renewable building material. You can make homemade fishing rods, kites and even small buildings from bamboo. Naturally, this requires a lot of measuring and cutting. It may also require bending the bamboo. Since bamboo is so strong, especially when dried, it breaks under force before it will bend. However, you can bend your bamboo successfully with a little patience and the right technique.

Preheat your hotplate to medium high. If your bamboo is green, simply hold it about 3 inches above the fully heated plate. Roll the bamboo between your fingers, heating the entire section of bamboo thoroughly for 5 to 10 minutes.

Squeeze a little corn syrup onto your fingers and apply it to the section of dried bamboo you want to bend. Make sure the bamboo is thoroughly coated. Hold the dried bamboo about 5 inches above your hotplate. Turn the bamboo between your fingers for about 15 minutes. The sugar will heat, penetrating to the middle of your dried bamboo.

Gently bend the bamboo between your hands, still rolling it every few seconds to keep the section evenly heated. Bend the bamboo about 1 inch inward, heat and bend it another inch, continuing until the bamboo is at the desired angle.

Lay your bamboo on heatproof surface to cool. If using dry bamboo, wipe away any remaining corn syrup with a damp cloth once the bamboo dries. Most of the syrup will caramelise and melt away during heating.

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