How to Make a Birch Bark Basket (say this 3x fast)

My jaw dropped the first time I saw the price tag of this awesome looking basket made out of birch bark…Whaddayamean $120 bucks for this tiny basket that will barely hold an olive??  Why does everything that is made from least altered materials have to be sooo expensive?

I have (naturally) held off buying a birch bark basket until now. Spending $75 on a basket that holds 1 raisin just didn’t really seem worth it to me (that and I really don’t like raisins). But now that I live in Alaska it only seems appropriate that not only would I own a birch bark basket – but my crafty self would MAKE my own bark birch basket. It can’t be that hard, right?

Hiking around a birch forest this past weekend I stumbled across a lot of birch bark just lying around.

Step 1: Acquire birch bark. Done.

Step 2: Figure out how the hell to make a basket out of it. 

Googling it, I come across “How do you make a birch bark canoe” – not quite the size I had in mind, plus that would require a whole lot more bark than I have right now. “Why are birch bark canoes important” – don’t know, don’t care, and can we stop with the canoes already? “How do you make a birch bark torch” and FINALLY “How to make a birch bark basket.” – the answer contains the words “good luck.” Not very encouraging if it takes luck to make one of these things…

Step 3: Assemble tools for birch bark basket; scissors, string, knife, stapler (to be used if all else fails).  Cut piece of bark into square or rectangle.

After some attempts at this and googling new (better and improved) instructions turns out cutting bark is much, much easier when you soak it in water first and it’s EVEN easier when the water is hot (something I discovered only at the very end of this venture).

Step 4: Draw smaller rectangle or square inside the larger one, cerrate edges and cut the corners diagonally.

Step 5: Fold the four sides up, overlapping at the corners. Fasten corners either with string, by weaving bits of bark together or with a stapler. (I opted for the latter after realizing that birch bark is a whole lot more hardy and stubborn than it looks once it is pretty birch basket. Also at this point in the crafty undertaking my back was aching and I had managed to cerrate my fingers along with the bark so I kinda just wanted to speed it up and have the basket done already).

Step 6: Ta-da! Behold our very own birch bark baskets, costing nothing more than a little blood and sweat… (crafty I am!)


~ by yhossain on August 26, 2010.

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