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HappyChristmas in July: Make a Danish Woven Heart Out of Real Birch Bark
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 07/17/2015 - 03:31
A teeny tiny 1 1/4" Danish woven heart basket made using real birch bark! Find a birch bark tree with the bark peeling off, strip it and make hearts for the Winter Holidays.
I was inspired to try my hand at this by Alan Dart during an e-mail exchange, and when I found bark peeling off a birch last February, I removed it immediately.
The thing is, there was only one tree and just a little loose bark so this is a prototype just to see if it can be done! It can! And here is how I did it!!!
First of all, the bark will need to be pressed with a warm steam iron to straighten it. Do the best you can to pull it out flat and place it between layers of a press cloth - (my vintage pink sheet makes a lovely press cloth AND tent for rising bread!) Caution: too much heat or moisture may cause the bark to wrinkle up a bit so be careful.
You will need two pieces of bark about the same size for each heart. Generally speaking there is a light colored outside and darker colored inside. Cutting one pattern on the light side and another on the darker side makes a perfect contrast for the basket.
Draw and cut a heart pattern per the instructions in this earlier tutorial.
Trace the pattern onto the bark using pencil and cut using sharp scissors. And now you are ready to weave your basket. Again, full instructions for doing that are here.
If you have never before woven a basket, I would strongly recommend you make a few using paper to practice. But I was surprised to find that the bark was soft and quite playable and was easier to weave than most paper!!
Cut and attach a handle as instructed in the tutorial. Scotch tape works quite well on the bark surface. At least so far!!
I was forced to cut both sides of the heart with the grain of the bark running in opposite directions. If both sides are cut so the grain is running in the same direction, the grain will look more interesting!
I pressed mine under a couple books overnight to flatten. And, if I find that humidity causes curling, I will press the little heart under books again!!
Good luck! And stay turned! More Christmas in July coming!!!