Birch Bark Covered Flowerpots

4 Materials
1 Hour

I will be honest with you, when I first tried to do this project I could not get it to work the way I wanted. I spent a couple of very frustrating hours trying to stick wet springy bark to pots, using a variety of glues to no avail.

To make a Birch Bark covered pot like ours you will need some pieces of bark, a terracotta pot, elastic bands and PVA glue. We also painted the rim of our pot with a cream acrylic paint.

Then hubby walked passed and said 'why don't you just mold the bark around the pot, tie it on, and leave it to dry in that shape before you try and stick it'. I think I probably looked like a goldfish for a moment while I digested his comment; it is in fact really obvious once someone points it out, and it works like a dream.

There are a few fallen Birch in one of the woods where we walk our dog, so I had been thinking about trying this for a while. Note: Please don't remove bark from living trees. Removing even relatively small pieces of bark can result in the death of the tree.

With my new found knowledge of working with Birch Bark I would suggest if you do pick some up, that you immediately roll it with the outer face of the bark on the outside and secure it, as it will naturally curl the other way if left to its own devices as it dries, making it much harder to work with.

Our bark had dried out by the time we came to use it so we soaked it in water for half an hour, before scrapping off any lumps on the inside of the bark. We then simply wrapped the bark around the pot, roughly trimming away the excess and left it to dry for 24hrs. We used the sticks you can see in the photo below to stop the elastic bands from damaging the edges of the bark as it has a tendency to split along them.

Once the bark pieces had dried into the shape of our pot, we removed them, and primed the pot with a watered down coat of PVA and let that dry. We then painted the rim and the base of the pot in cream, to help disguise any uneven edges of bark once the pot was finished. I would advise allowing this to dry properly as well; I didn't, and ended up with finger prints on ours!

You then simply apply a generous coat of PVA glue to the inside of your bark, and wrap it around your pot, using the elastic bands to keep it in place as you go. We left our pot for a full 24hrs to dry once the bark was glued into place, and it is held really securely.

I am absolutely delighted with how our pot turned out - now I've found a method that works (thanks hubby!) I have all sorts of objects ear-marked for the bark treatment!

If anyone else has come up with other methods of working with bark I'd love to hear about them, please do leave any tips in the comments below.

For more rustic nature crafts, why not check out our  Chicken Wire and Moss Toadstool Living Garden Sculpture

and our  Twig Chandelier.

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Craft Invaders

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Liz A13
    on Mar 20, 2017

    Isn't that glue water soluble and couldn't be used in an outdoor setting?

  • L
    on May 22, 2020

    This is a very creative idea does it last or will water make it rot?

    what I mean is it is a lot of work if it will not last for years

    • Craft Invaders
      on May 22, 2020

      I first published this tutorial 3 or 4 years ago. I use mine inside and it hasn't deteriorated at all. Hope that helps :)

  • Sharon Johnson
    on May 22, 2020

    In regards to "L's" question, I had the same thought. Terracotta pots absorb water, wouldn't this affect the birch from staying on the pot? Or does the pva glue block water? It's a beautiful idea, I'm just wondering if it would be better suited for "fake" floral arrangements. I love it though, very creative!

    • Craft Invaders
      on May 22, 2020

      I use mine for houseplants Sharon, and leave them in their original plastic pot so excess water is only ever going to drain out of the bottom. I've never tried soaking the bark pot but I would imagine that if you did for any length of time the glue and bark would indeed soften and deteriorate. :)

Join the conversation

2 of 55 comments
  • Alison
    on May 27, 2020

    Great idea. I have used birch bark for lamp shades too. Basically the same way you've done here but around an existing lamp shade. This prevents burning (burning bad).

  • Jill Marie
    on Jul 26, 2020

    Why not try slipping the wet bark/pot into the leg of an old nylon stocking, aka panty-ho, and If it’s still a bit too loose, use wide painters tape wrapped around the stocking. It might work really well holding it snug and preventing the marks in the bark.

    l love your idea, it’s so organic and could be the answer to repurposing and disguising the ugly, black commercial pots we all have too many of. Well done!!

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