Birch bark container tutorial

I was hoping to get out and about this weekend and do some stuff for the blog, but Teres was taken into hospital on Thursday and now I have bronchitis.  So I have made a tutorial for making Birch bark containers.

I begin by cutting out two identical wooden disks to use as the top and bottom of the container and then role the bark around and mark and cut out a piece of bark.  This particular piece measured 30cm x 9cm.  On the outside of one end of the bark I thin the bark down to a wedge shape and I do the same on the inside of the bark at the other end.

Then I make to lines of holes in each end, about 5mm between each hole.

Form a tube with the bark, making sure the end thinned down on e inside sits over the end thinned down on the outside.  I use a clip to hold the two ends together and then use sinew, false sinew or dental floss to begin sewing the bark together.

Now draw a line around the side of each wooden disk (use your finger as a depth gauge)

Then draw a line around the underside of each disk

Use a knife or sandpaper to remove the wood between these two lines to give an angled edge.   This makes it much easier to insert the top and bottom disks into the bark tube.

You may find that one of the disks is a little too small and does not fit tightly into the bark tube.  In this case you can take a thin layer of Birch bark and glue around the edge of the disk (use an elastic band to hold the bark in place while the glue dries).

Use a knife or sandpaper to remove excess bark and it should look like this when completed

Put some glue around the edge of the bottom disk and push into the bark tube and then push in the top.  To help strengthen the top and bottom, cut two strips of bark (I use a pair of serrated scissors that I bought from a Dollar Store to give a decorative edge, but I have also done this using a knife) and glue around the top and bottom.

Drill two holes in the top and thread a piece of leather through and tie a knot on the inside of the lid.

Now the container is completed.

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6 thoughts on “Birch bark container tutorial

  1. Great article Kevin! And I appreciate your desire and willingness to do a nice tutorial like this even when you are sick. I hope you and Teres are feeling better soon!

  2. Thank you for your tutorial on birchbark containers. Nancy

    PS I hope you and your wife are feeling better!

    Sent from my iPad

    • It varies. Some needs virtually no prep apart from cleaning the outside of the bark, but some is too thick and needs to be thinned down. Some bark needs to be soaked before you work with it, but some does not.

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