How to treat tree bark for use in an indoor craft project?

I want to use tree bark for a craft project for indoors. I looked around but all the information in about tree branches and stumps and removing the bark to discard. I am looking for suggestions about cleaning bark sections after removing it from the dead tree.

Thank you.

  8 answers
  • April.north April.north on Aug 31, 2017
    Thank you for your response. I read through the post and it reference scraping bark off of the limb and then preserving the limb. I actually want to use the bark. Did I miss something in the article? I am going to go back and read it again. I appreciate your help.
    • See 1 previous
    • PameLa DeDah PameLa DeDah on Aug 07, 2020

      After cleaning & curing I generally put a clear coat of waterbased poly on both sides. This will help prevent the bark from swelling, shrinking and cracking.

  • April.north April.north on Aug 31, 2017
    Thank you Fix It Jen!
  • Sonal Sonal on May 11, 2018
    Hi April,
    I have been looking for the same thing, something diy to work with the bark. I have teak bark and I intend to use it as cladding for faux beams to give it that aged natural rustic look, provided I figure out how to clean and preserve the bark. Did you manage to crack it? Any suggestions / tips would be most helpful!
    Thanks much

  • David Sudmeier David Sudmeier on Oct 16, 2020

    I use a wood hardener, available at any hardware store.

    First, clean the bark as well as possible without beating it to death. Get all insects 🐜 out. Put the bark on a well ventilated shelf and allow to dry.

    When dry, cut to size and shape desired.

    Next, take it outside and brush on wood hardener until the bark is thoroughly soaked. Allow to dry thoroughly.

    A second treatment is sometimes needed. You’ll notice a plasticity to the bark when it is fully cured.

    You can seal the bark in varnish, epoxy, or any clear coat paint you like—as long as the bark is fully cured before you do so.

    Have fun!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 11, 2021

    Hi April, I used tung oil to make my bark project, make sure the bark is clean and loose debris is removed, I put 3 coats on it letting it dry fully between applications, I used a soft paint brush to gently apply it to the bark.

  • Mary May Mary May on Mar 29, 2021

    hi April - I also have a project with tree bark and am wondering if you have used any of the methods and which worked best to preserve the natural colour and shape of the bark before it starts to curl too much.

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