My friends April and Jarrod turned me on to the possibilities of birch bark. They are both amazing artists with natural materials, and they have a wonderful family. Check out their website http://www.woodspiritgallery.com/
These projects are all fast and simple. They don't require the high quality bark that baskets and canoes do. You need some bark, a scissors and a microwave.
Step 1: Harvesting Birch Bark
Make a vertical incision in the bark with a sharp knife. Make the incision several feet long. You'll should see a distinct boundary between the outer and inner bark when you pry a bit of the bark away. When conditions are right, the bark practically pops off the tree.
Work the knife or your finger between the inner and outer bark and peel if off. See Jarrod's blog about harvesting huge pieces of bark for canoes to see pictures. http://www.jarrodstonedahl.blogspot.com/2011/07/birch-bark-canoe-construction.html
You won't need anything that big for these projects. Roll the bark vertically and inside out. You can see this done in Jarrod's picture with the caption, "first tree peeled". Tie rope around the bark to keep it rolled up, or if there is basswood nearby, you can use basswood bark instead.
Step 2: Delaminate the Bark
Step 3: Rough Shaping
You see the inner face of the bark in the photo before cutting. The white outside face is face down. I've actually peeled the outer several layers of bark off this piece already. You see the other side of the bark in the cut photo.
Lightly burnish the edges of the final shape to round over the cut edges. It will make your bracelet look better.
Step 4: Heat and Shape the Bracelet
Step 5: Other Ideas
The pictures don't do the bark justice. It looks amazing. I've made woven birch bark coasters and coasters simply cut from a piece of bark. I've sent birch bark post cards though the mail. I've used bent bark in an art project to show the paths of the sun at the summer and winter solstice. I don't view any of these objects as permanent. They'll break, or stain over time. Just make some new ones, and you're back in business. Birch bark is remarkable stuff.