Asked on Oct 1, 2017

Preparing branches for decor

Jud7872415Darlene Staelgraeve GolusCynthia H


I've recently been collecting branches to use as part of a wall hanging project. I love the look of the branches but I'm wondering if there is a way to preserve them so they maintain this look. I really don't want to have to strip the bark as that's one of the interesting features. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.
5 answers
  • Roxaneg
    on Oct 1, 2017

    Use a scrub brush to clean away any dirt or critters you don't want. Many people remove the bark, sand, stain and put a clear finish over it.

    The species of wood often determines whether the bark will stay or not. Hickory tends to shed bark while basswood and walnut are friendlier. It's better to pick the branches in the winter when bacteria and other stuff under the bark won't work against you. You can heat treat the branches with a heat gun and try to kill off any mold or bacteria. Glue any bark that's pesky and won't stay with cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, then soak the bark with a thinned down shellac. Half shellac and half denatured alcohol. The idea is to really let the bark soak it up and then use a thicker coat to tie it all together. Then you can apply a polyurethane over the bark.
  • C Crow
    on Oct 1, 2017

    When I use branches I'd like to keep as is without worrying about any kind of critters or bark flaking off I just spray it well with a clear, matte finish spray. I've used several brands through the years with no trouble at all. I'd love to see what you end up doing!
    • Bren
      on Oct 1, 2017

      This sounds like the solution I was looking for. I want to keep them as natural as possible. Thank you sooooo much for your suggestion.
  • Cynthia H
    on Oct 1, 2017

    I let them dry out first, indoors and then spray them or use as is.
  • Darlene Staelgraeve Golus
    on Oct 1, 2017

    If unhealthy spores or critters are lurking and the branch is small enough, give it a 20-30 second visit in the microwave. You can always make them longer again with glue or wood putty. Decorations will hide the seams. Best to break the branches instead of cutting them so the jagged edges glued back together are less noticeable.
  • Jud7872415
    on Oct 8, 2017

    Maybe use a sealant with a satin finish, it'll protect the bark and kill any little critters.
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