Introduction: DIY Tree Bark Fruit Bowl
The main thing you’ll need for this project is a piece of bark, one that’s big enough to hold a far amount. You also want to make sure that the bark is in good condition and that there’s a good amount of phelloderm (I had to Google the word) still attached.
Watch the project here:
Step 1: Cover One Side in Epoxy
In my case the bark was very delicate so I chose to epoxy the outside first. I used West System epoxy, a very common brand of epoxy. This would probably be cheaper if you used a resin, but if you choose to use epoxy it will work just as well.
Use a paint brush to spread the epoxy over the bark as you pour it on. You want the epoxy to get under the bark and between any gaps.
Don’t be shy applying the epoxy. The more you add the stronger the bark will all hold together. I used a piece of old plywood underneath the bark and a 2x4 to prop it up. This way the epoxy could run off the bark as much as it liked.
Step 2: Cut the Edges and Epoxy the Other Side
When the first side has finished drying (usually 24 hours) cut the ends of the bark off. By now the bark should be very rigid from all the epoxy so you shouldn't have any trouble making a clean cut with a hand saw.
Cutting the ends exposes the end grain of the bark. This needs to be coated with epoxy too.
Sand any cuts and remove any sharp edges.
Now apply epoxy to the inside of the bark and end grain. By the time you're finished all the bark should be encapsulated in epoxy.
Step 3: Attach Legs
After 24 hours the epoxy should be fully dry so you can move onto the legs.
You can either make the panels from scratch or buy wood wide enough that it keeps the bark held up. Have a look at the pictures, it'll make sense. I made my panels up from some old eucalyptus.
Clamp the 2 panels onto either end of the bark. Using a pencil trace the outline of the bark onto the panels.
Now remove the panels and mark at least 3 spots to drill holes for dowels. Try to line up the holes with the thickest parts of the bark. You're going to be driving these dowels into the bark so the more "meat" they have to hold onto the better.
Drill the holes for the dowels using either a hand drill or a drill press then clamp the panels back in place on the bark. Now, using a hand drill, drill through the existing holes and into the bark. You only need to go into the bark a few centimetres, you're just stopping the bark from splitting open.
Before epoxying everything in place make sure to sand the inside surfaces of the legs. You won't be able to do this step very easily once the legs are glued in place.
Once they're smooth go ahead and glue them in place with epoxy and drive the dowels in. Leave this to dry for 24 hours.
Step 4: Sand and Finish
Once the epoxy drys cut off the excess dowels and sand the outside surfaces of the legs.
I finished the entire piece with spray varnish. This way I knew I could get the varnish into all the cracks without applying too much. I applied 2 coats of finish.
Make sure to wait a couple of days before putting any fruit into the bowl, but once the finish fully cures it becomes inert and is safe to be used.