Getting Crafty with Trees
Creative Uses for Tree Parts & Trimmings
Trees provide us with so much more than just the fruits, flowers, and foliage we typically think of. Beneath the bark and stretching down into the earth are materials perfect for crafty projects. With a little creativity, we can transform tree parts into decorative, functional items for the home. Here are some ideas for crafts using materials found in and around trees.
Bark and Wood Crafts
Bark is one of the most versatile tree materials for crafting. It can be used on its own or combined with other natural items to make decorative pieces. Here are some ways to use bark in your crafts:
Bark rubbings - Lay bark flat and rub paper or fabric over the texture to create imprints. Use crayons or chalk to add color.
Bark craft frames - Attach strips of bark to plain wood frames for a rustic look.
Birch bark boxes - Carefully peel bark from birch trees and roll into cylinders. Seal edges with glue to create decorative containers.
Bark candle holders - Affix pieces of bark around glass jars and vases to create textured surfaces for holding candles and flowers.
Bark ornaments - Cut bark into shapes and decorate with paint, glitter, and natural elements like berries. Add string to hang.
Wood carving - Make sculptures, wall hangings, bowls, figurines, utensils, toys, and more by carving shapes into wood. Basswood and pine are good starter carving woods.
Woodburning - Use a burning tool to draw designs into wooden boards, boxes, and found wood pieces. Great for making signs, wall art, and decorations.
Wood slicing - Cut thin slices of wood from branches or logs to make coasters, trivets, wall hangings, wreaths, and mobiles.
Natural Elements from the Canopy and Forest Floor
Gather an assortment of the many natural treasures that can be found around trees. Use them to embellish your craft creations:
Leaves - Press colorful leaves between newspaper or wax paper for future decoupage projects. Also use fresh leaves in wreaths and garlands.
Flowers and seeds - Incorporate dogwood, redbud or apple blossoms into floral displays inside shadowbox frames. Or use acorns and seed pods in wreaths and other decor.
Pinecones - Paint pinecones in bright colors and use to make wreaths, candle holders, holiday decorations, or ornaments.
Nuts - Add texture by gluing nuts like acorns, chestnuts, and walnuts onto boxes, frames, candles, and ornaments.
Moss - Gather bits of moss from shaded areas and incorporate into potted plant arrangements, wreaths, pressed flower bookmarks, etc.
Vines - Incorporate flexible vines into baskets or use thin vines or roots as natural plant hangers.
Taking it Further with Tree Slices and Larger Branches
Larger parts of trees like cross-section slices and sawed branches also provide abundant material for crafts:
Tree slices - Sand and finish cross-sections of small logs to make endgrain cutting boards, drink coasters, clocks, platters for serving, etc.
Edged boards - Use lumber edging and live edge trim to make shelves, picture frames, planter boxes, signs, mirrors, and wall hangings.
Bench seating - Flatten one side of sawed logs to make rustic outdoor benches.
Branch mobiles - Strip bark and hang an assortment of small branches from fishing line or string to create decorative mobiles.
Branch bookends - Screw multiple collected branches of different shapes/sizes together for unique bookends.
The list could go on and on! Trees truly offer so many materials to spark creativity through crafting projects of all kinds. While out walking or hiking, start noticing various tree parts that could be gathered and used to invent something new.
Let the trees, leaves, flowers and branches of the natural world inspire you to create something functional AND gorgeous.