How Birch bark is ruling my life, currently

in a good way... πŸ˜€

I’m drowning in Birch bark around here.

Birch bark is my bestseller with orders going to far-away places like California, Pennsylvania, Florida and Australia. I also had a few local Greater Toronto Area orders which is fantastic – it appears people enjoy working with natural material like tree bark. And we all know the Birch trees have this wonderful white bark that’s hard to resist.

The Birch trees of my childhood – photo taken summer 2022

Birch bark has a long and interesting history with many cultures, including Latvia (my kids’ paternal side is Latvian) and among many Native North American tribes. I’ve done a bit of research into these trees and discovered many astonishing facts: Birch wood and bark have been used to make into toys, tools, handles and paper as far back as ancient times.

Birch bark is also used to make canoes. Why? Because it turns out the bark is quite water resistant.

Working with Birch bark

I read someplace that Birch bark can be flattened with water, which interested me because some of my bark comes off the tree stems in tight curls. I collected some of these curls recently and the longest ones measure around 18 inches (46 cm). I decided to test the water resistance by giving them a little bath in the bathtub and weighing them down with a few heavy bricks as a method to flatten them.

But first, I tried it with shorter pieces. I have so many short pieces of bark, if a mistake happens, it won’t be the end of the world mainly because more bark is being shed as I type these words.

It’s not as time consuming as it may look… I actually did the long pieces in the bathtub and then promptly forgot about them. But, I have to pee about seventy million times so they didn’t stay in the water that long. πŸ™„

They came out perfect! I also noticed giving them a bath helps to prevent them from becoming too brittle. The larger or longer pieces also become more pliable, which is desired when used in crafts or art.

I let them air dry which takes 12-24 hours and then off they go to whomever purchases them.

Extra long Birch bark strips are now listed in my shop. Click here to check out the listing.

What do people use Birch bark for?

Well I have seen some amazing artistic creations, including in festivals, period era decorative items, fashion jewelry (namely earrings), and in interior design and outdoor/garden/wedding decorations. I have seen candles wrapped with Birch bark, or pretty glass containers filled with small Birch bark scrolls, curls or scraps, and artists incorporate pieces of bark in some of their paintings. Children use it to decorate picture or mirror frames or make tiny toy canoes. I also saw some Birch logs, decorated with additional Birch bark, designed into the letters W and M and attached to the restroom doors in a restaurant.

I mostly sell raw bark, but recently I felt like crafting with it, so I made some gift tags out of my flattened Birch bark pieces.

Natural rustic Birch bark gift tags, short strips

Click here to check them out on Etsy

Click here to check them out on Instagram BoldlyChicBoutiquebyClaudette

Rustic natural Birch bark gift tags, long strips

Click here to check them out on Etsy

Click here to check them out on Instagram BoldlyChicBoutiquebyClaudette

The Tarot and spiritual community meanwhile uses Birch bark to write intentions and desires on the paper-thin pieces, to either scatter in nature during intention setting or meditation, or burn it. I know of several people who tried to psychologically let go of an ex by writing their name on the bark and burning it. Watching the ashes disappear is symbolic and helped the person to let go of traumatic experiences.

Another custom I discovered was through the aforementioned Latvian community; when one of the children’s aunt died in recent years, it was her wish that everyone take a piece of Birch bark and write a message on it to commemorate her life. Her name was Ingrid, and she was a nature lover and enamoured with Birch trees all her life. Her daughter collected the little scrolls from friends and family and took them to Ingrid’s favorite camping place in Haliburton and scattered them all around the site.

And there is another very fun tribe out there that uses birch bark: witches! I have stumbled across spells and rituals by contemporary witches that use all sorts of natural materials, including Birch bark. πŸ˜‰

To visit my shop click here:
BoldlyChicBoutique

A note about fire safety

If you use bark, sage or bay leaves for burning purposes, please practice fire safety. Must this be said here in black and white? Sadly, yes. Please don’t burn down your home or injure yourself and others because you’re playing around with Birch bark and fire; Birch bark is paper thin and burns very quickly and it can easily get out of hand if you don’t have a fireproof container with water in it, and/or do your rituals outside in a safe place.

As I was saying… people use Birch bark for a variety of reasons, and this is why I’m sending it all over the planet. It has become a best seller in my young shop which makes me happy!

Thank you for stopping by by blog today. Please remember I will be letting this blog lapse back to the free version in late May because it is no longer worth the expense of nurturing it, but I will not disappear, no worries. I will continue writing, but I’m currently pondering next steps.

Meanwhile, if you have a kindle and would like to read my books, click here. If you don’t have a kindle, I am unsure how to guide you – I have been frustrated with the various book publishing platforms I’ve dabbled with and I’m not sure if Amazon is the right place for me to sell my stories. Does anyone have any tips for a self-publisher like me? Please email me or leave me a comment to contact you and I will.

See you in the comments.

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8 thoughts on “How Birch bark is ruling my life, currently

  1. Does the tree continually shed bark and what times of the year- just spring or throughout? I’m sort of a tree hugger type but I assume you wouldn’t be doing this if it was harmful or making a long term negative impact to the trees, and it is so pretty. I love birch trees and only recently learned when in Colorado that Aspen trees have that white/light colored bark, so now I like Aspens quite a bit as well πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They shed regularly through the season, and I mostly collect what’s already been discarded on the ground. Sometimes I help by pulling off the last bit.

      The natives cut whole sections off, but there’s a time of year when that’s approved/encouraged, mostly for canoe making. I don’t like to cut the trees, I just use the natural shedding of the bark.

      I most certainly do not want to harm the trees. The picture shows they’re healthy, right? They’ve looked like this for 40+ years. That’s at my mom’s front yard. There are more in the back yard as well (not pictured). πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, they look fine! I wasn’t picturing you outside in the dark stripping bark or anything- and I didn’t know that the bark would literally curl and fall off on it’s own- You have a tree partner in your harvesting πŸ™‚

        I was seeing in my head the indigenous people doing just what you said- pulling long pieces from the tree, but I suspected that was a no-no in general. You’re lucky to have your own source- no secretive night raids throughout the neighborhood πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I shipped to Pennsylvania in a large padded envelop with the bark wrapped in tissue and she said it arrived damaged. So now I ship in boxes, and alert customers that all care is taken that the bark won’t break during shipping but to consider it is a natural product and brittle by nature. I now give extra pieces with each order just in case one or two of them break or crack… it’s just one of those things I guess.

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  2. The birch bark is fascinating to me, so many applications, and creative options. I’m thinking of buying a kindle just so I can read more books and bring them all with me when I travel. I’ve always been partial to the feel of a book in my hand, turning actual pages, highlighting my favorite passages, and then placing it in my library (okay, bookcase). It would be easier to take three or four books on one device instead of packing actual books. I’m leaning towards do it. I’ll download yours first if I do. Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too love physical books but two things inhibit me, well maybe three:

      I love that I can increase the font and change the backlight to read at any time of day or night with my devices. Reading a physical book at night makes my eyes so tired so quickly… My Libby app and Kindle let me adjust things as needed.

      I don’t have to schlep much when I can carry reading my material on my device. Think arenas, baseball practices…

      We have a real estate space issue. Too much stuff…

      Sadly, neither of my books has enough pages/word count to make into a physical book so even if I wanted to, I can’t. Unless I combine book 2 of Music Lovers when it’s done with book 1… πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Cheryl. ❀️ I’ll let you know when I’ve read your book and left a review. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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