As I was camping in the lovely Utah mountains, I was asked to make a ring for someone. I started trying to carve one out of the available aspen wood, but I discovered that the middle of the branch was too hard to carve easily. But the bark was soft, and I quickly discovered that it could be freed from the rest of the branch and slid off, making a perfectly circular and smooth ring! I began quickly making and distributing rings, making a lot of happy campers. This is a quick and easy craft, and impress your friends and family!
Thin fresh tree branch, about an inch thick. (I used aspen, but other woods can work)
Step 1: Preparing Your Branch
In this step we clean the bark off the branch up to the part we want to become a ring. My branch in the picture has already been prepared, but I'll show you how to peel a piece of bark off. Use your knife to score a line all the way around the branch. Then go around it again and cut deeper, until your knife reaches the hardwood core of the branch. Then score a line out lengthwise of the branch all the way out to the end of the stick. Pull the bark off starting at this line.
You can use your knife to loosen this part of bark and peel it off of the hardwood. This will allow you to start with a clean edge for your ring.
Step 2: Cutting Out Your Ring
This step is a lot like the previous step, but this piece of bark is going to become our ring. You'll score around the branch again, the making an outline of how thick you want your ring to be and making yourself a guideline for the serious cutting; again cut all the way down to the hardwood, making sure to make your cut smooth and straight all the way around.
Step 3: Loosening It From the Branch
To loosen the ring, put your knife in the groove and gently bend it back and forth, to push the ring away from the rest of the bark.
Now grip the ring and twist it until it can be turned freely.
You may have to carve away some of the hardwood so that you can slide your ring over it and off of the branch.
Step 4: It's Done!
Now you can enjoy your ring and experiment!
Try more branches to get different ring sizes, try a large branch to make a bracelet, or carve designs in your bark ring! If a ring rips as you slide it off, you can try making trick rings by linking them together. And if you want to try your hand at some wood carving, you now have a stick ready!
Step 5: Enjoying Your Rings!
After you make your rings, make sure to leave them out in the open. I tried leaving some in a bag after I made them, and they became brown and wrinkly. Others I left out, and they look very much the same as they did at first.
Keep in mind that these rings are at least a little fragile, and can be scratched if you're doing heavy work. But if you're camping and you want to amaze your friends or family, you can give them each a custom made ring, straight from nature!
This is an entry in the
DIY Summer Camp Contest