HappyChristmas in July: Make a Danish Woven Heart Out of Real Birch Bark

Danish hearts  - Make them with real birch bark!

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.

Danish hearts  - Make them with real birch bark!

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!!!

Danish hearts  - Make them with real birch bark!

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.

Danish hearts  - Make them with real birch bark!

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!!

Danish woven heart made from real birch Bark

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!!!

These are wonderful! Thank

These are wonderful! Thank you for the link back to your heart basket tutorial I have just tried this with plain paper and I'm so excited to try it out with felt, I only wish I had a birch tree too!

Jenny, I am so glad to hear

Jenny, I am so glad to hear the heart basket tutorial was useful. when i first started blogging, there weren't many and those that were out there were sketchy.  Now of course they are everywhere!!  Felt will work great as will that kind of sheet foam material currently popular.  Let me know how yours turn out!!

You're truly "branching" out

You're truly "branching" out with your mediums for your Danish woven heart baskets, Pam! And they keep turning out more adorable than the last! Thanks for sharing this tutorial (and your gorgeous photography) with us! Happy Christmas in July! Big hugs!

Arielle, It always always

Arielle, It always always brightens my day to hear from you!  I appreciate so much your constant love and support sweet friend.  If you find birch trees, you might want to make some for your tree - they are inspired by bark baskets made in Sweden.

Oh Pam, these are lovely! My

Oh Pam, these are lovely! My grandfather had a birch tree and we used to use the bark for paper when we were kids by scratching it with a stick. I love the idea of using the bark for these woven hearts! They will look great on a Christmas tree! <3

Kathryn I am so pleased they

Kathryn I am so pleased they appeal to yu and bring back childhood memories!  Mr. Dart actually mentioned that he still has birch woven baskets he got in Sweden years ago and they are hung on his tree every year.  So apparently it is a Swedish tradition!