This is a fairly easy project all things considered. It can be used for gathering nuts or seeds. You can make a larger sized bag for an arrow quiver. I have made a smaller one in the past for a blowgun dart quiver. Its easy, as long as you have the right types of trees growing in your backyard. Birch is ideal, but is harvesting it's bark depends on the time of year. I have a load of Crepe Myrtle Trees in my yard though. I wouldn't go so far to say that this project is healthy for the tree you choose. It should scar over and heal, but as everyone knows, Crepe Myrtles get hacked to death yearly and always grow back.
This is my second instructable so feedback is appreciated. Good luck and keep crafting!
Step 1: Things You Will Need
Here is the simple list of things you will need to complete this project.
Tools and Materials List
-A tree to harvest bark from
-Buckskin Leather larger than the bark you harvest
-Utility Knife with Fresh Blade
-Leather Hammer Punch
-Handful of Small Clothes Pins
That is it! That is all you need!
Step 2: Harvesting the Bark
This step is probably the most difficult part. I tried several areas on the tree before successfully harvesting an entire section of bark. Some advice: Use a section lower on the main trunk. The bark seemed more green and sturdy.
Cut the Bark
- Using the utility knife, slice a vertical line on the bark to the length desired.
- Slicing on an angle, cut a thin notch along the same line.
- Cut similar lines horizontally all around the circumference of the tree on the top and bottom of your vertical line.
Begin to Peel
- Begin to slowly work a corner of the bark free.
- DO NOT TREAT LIKE A BANDAID.
- You must go very slowly, and be patient.
- Once you get the leading edge free, slowly push your fingertips under the flap to remove the bark from the wood.
Slowly Work it all the Way off
Keep doing this slowly and it should come off cleanly.
If any areas begin to stick, carefully use the razor to free up the fibers and continue.
Start the same process on the other side of the strip.
Keep working it free until your two flap meet.
Carefully finish peeling off the rest of it.
Congratulations! You should now have a rectangle of bark separate from the tree!
Step 3: Laying Out Bark on the Leather
You should now have a square or rectangle of bark. The size of which will be different for everyone depending on the tree, and size desired. I used what I was able to harvest successfully. I also used a thin, light colored piece of buckskin for the lining of the bag. The bag will be made using the natural curvature of the bark from how it was on the tree. I don't recommend trying to fight this.
- Lay out the buckskin on a cutting mat and place the bark on top.
- Using a ruler and pencil, extend the vertical edges out 4 more inches for fringe later on.
- Trace all the other edges.
- You should be left with a pencil lined rectangle on your leather.
Cutting out the Leather
- Using your leather scissors, cut out the rectangle of leather.
Step 4: Lay Out Leather and Bark Together
- At this point place the bark, bark side up, on top of the leather.
- Leave about 3/4" at the top.
- Fold this top section over and secure it with the small clothes pins.
- Secure the sides in the same manner.
Next Up: Punching Holes
Step 5: Punching Your Holes
If you clipped it up evenly, you should have equal numbers of spaces on each side.
- Using the leather punch and mallet, Punch holes in between all of the clothes pins around the sides and top.
- You can punch even number of holes along bottom edge of bark through the leather.
- I also removed the clothes pins and punched in the locations where they were.
- Make sure you punch through both the leather and the bark.
Step 6: Start at the Top in the Middle
- Using your leather lacing, pull 2 yards worth through the top middle hole. Fold the lacing so you have the same length on each side of the whole.
- Whip-stitch the top edge through both sides of the leather and the bark.
- Work your way from the middle to the edges.
- On the one end, double back so that both tails of the lacing are exiting out the same side.
Step 7: Lacing the Sides Together
- Lace the sides together using a simple cross over stitch. A baseball stitch won't work well.
- You should always be entering through the face of the bark, and pulling it back out of the face.
- Work your way down to the bottom of the bag.
- Once at the bottom, carefully tighten the stitches like you would the laces of your shoes.
Step 8: Lacing Up the Bottom
- The last stitches you completed on the side should leave both of your tail-ends inside the tube you have created.
- Poke these ends through the holes on the other side of the tub as seen in the pictures.
- Pull tight to begin closing up the bag.
- Lace it through the next set of holes to continue closing up the bottom.
- Lace your way around and back through all these holes so that your tail ends meet on the out side of the bark.
- Tie tightly with a simple Square Knot to finish the closure of the bottom.
Step 9: Fringing the Bottom
- Using your leather scissors, fringe the bottom leather of the bag.
- Make sure you cut it all evenly for the best look.
Step 10: Adding a Loop
- Add a simple loop through the side lacing so you can tie it to your belt or to a large bag. This step is obviously optional.
- Tie with a Square Knot.
Step 11: Enjoy Your Finished Bark Bag!
Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Admire the combination of Flora and Fauna. This is a great project combining outdoor skills with leather working. And just think- I harvested the bark from my own backyard!
I included a picture of it being used as a Blowgun Dart Quiver which is pretty cool.
Tips and Tricks
- The bark harvesting really is the most difficult step.
- The bark will dry after a couple of days and will tighten and possibly wrinkle. I think it makes it look like a tree again. You may also have to tighten the leather lacing as a result. Not a big deal, just make sure it is all tight.
- Ask permission from your parents or tree owner before cutting into it.
- Slow and Steady will win this race.
- Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!
Runner Up in the
Live off the Land Contest