Saturday, June 27, 2009

DIY: Tree Bark Purse/ Satchel/ Container

Here's a rad way to make a completely natural, 100% non toxic, primitive hand bag out of tree bark. I don't think this project was meant to be as adorable as it is but somehow it took functional to the edge of beautiful and gave it a shove. This bark purse is perfect for berry picking, going out with friends, collecting specimens & treasures in the woods, and lugging around just about anything you want to shove in it - cause it's dang versatile & sturdy!FIRST: Find a downed tree (from a recent storm), tree limb, or cut down a tree that's growing too close to a larger tree to make a life of it's own. We used a small hickory tree on Bort's property - hickory smells really good and is supa' easy to work with. (I have read in numerous books that Native Americans used Birch bark for these kinds of projects.)

SECOND: Cut the bark down the middle in a straight line and carefully peel it off WHOLE, like in one whole piece. Try not to crack it - if it's too dry, try soaking the log in water first.
THIRD: Once you have your whole piece of curled bark ready, you will want to cut out a paper shape as a stencil for carving into the middle of the bark. Place it as seen below and using a knife or other sharp object make an indentation in the bark following the shape of the stencil. DON'T accidentally cut all the way through - you just want a place to later bend the wood with ease.

FOURTH: Stick the bark piece with the stencil carving into a bucket of water for a few hours or over night to let soak.When you take the bark out of the water it will fold out flatter and look like this....
Using the indentation you will see you can now easily fold the bark at the markings to make the basic shape of the container. (See below)...
FIFTH: Poke 7 holes in the sides of the bark along the seem lines on both sides. These holes should be even (parallel) like the holes on your shoes, to lace up with- making 14 total on the left and 14 holes on the right of the purse.
Then you can take thin strips of the bark, which have soaked a little in water and lace it up to the top, finishing by tieing them in a knot on the outside and using the leftover pieces sticking out to make a handle.
LAST: Bort (pictured above) did most of the work showing me how to make this thing, but I got really into making the handle (that's me below)... I tied the two lacing sides together, then I took wet bark strips and layered it thick by wrapping them tightly and repeatedly around the thin lacings.
The finished purse... undeniably bad...freaking...ass!



linda said...

Love it!

.·:*¨¨*:·.gm.·:*¨¨*:·. said...

is this going on etsy???

Leslie @ the oko box said...

Hey GM -
This one is the experimental one that is mine for picking berries and stuff around here- also to watch it dry and learn to shape it. I am definitely going to make some for the new BIG SANDY MUSH etsy store. :)

treehugginhippiechic said...

um...I love this.