Thursday, August 2, 2012

How To Turn Birch Bark Into Paper

Do you have birch trees near your home?
Did you know you can easily use their bark as paper?

Birch bark is so neat, and makes a really fun paper you can use for
crafts, cards, making baskets, and so many different things.

The Native Americans have been using birch bark 
for all sorts of things for many many years.

Now I am no professional, but here is how I did it and it worked well!

Peel a large chunk of bark from a tree. This will not hurt the tree;
notice it is peeling on its own in places already...
 Put a little bit of mild dish soap in your hands with a little bit of 
warm water, and scrub it around to make it sudsy.
 Then gently soap up both sides of the bark, with warm water 
running over it. Use your fingers to gently rub any dirt or film of 
old dark bark off of the outer/ lighter colored surface.
Once the bark is dampened, you should be able to peel the layers of bark apart.  
The piece I used peeled into three layers. 
 In between the layers, it is sort of chalky.
Wash the layers just as you did before.
Place the bark layers on a paper towel to dry. 
Stack paper towel on top of the bark, and place a book on top.
This helps the bark to dry flat rather than curled.
Remove the birch paper once dried, and you are finished! :)
You can fold, cut, glue, and write on it, just like paper! 
Tomorrow I will share what I did with mine...

Have fun! 


  1. HI Sulvie! I can't believe that no one left you any comments!!! I LOVE paper bark birch trees!!! I have lots of birch bark but I have never separated it like you showed!!Years ago I covered a small bird house with it. I will be trying this as soon as I can get out in my shed!! I have an antique pie crust table & some of the veneer on the top is gone. I plan on filling it with wood fill & I want to put birch bark over the whole top of the table. I'd also like to cover the drawers of a night stand & a chest of drawers to match for the spare bedroom. Thank you SO much for sharing this technique!!! I live in Tustin, Michigan. I thought I read someplace that you also live in Michigan? Happy creating!!

    1. Hi Laurie! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am glad you found inspiration here, it makes my day! :) I do also live in central lower Michigan. Fun to hear what other Michiganders are up to! Hasn't this little warm up in weather been wonderful!? I hope the sunshine stays for a while. Have fun with birch, I wish I had some in my yard, I have to steal it from my in-law's yard! ;) Enjoy your week Laurie!

  2. trying to find a creative and classy way to do my sisters shower invitations...this is it!! I'm going to print out what I need to say on a piece of nice paper and glue it on though. too bad I didn't have nice writing or I would totally write on each piece :) thanks! (im from Ontario Canada)

    1. Oh that sounds super cute! Let me know how they turn out! Thank you for commenting.

  3. Thank you! I'm gonna try and do this to make lucky switch covers for our cabin in the north Shore (finland, mn ) rather pay for those that are online! Thanks again! Katie

    1. Hi Katie, thank you for commenting! That sounds perfect for a cabin! Let me know how they turn out!

    2. Thank you so much, Sylvie, for posting this! I have a paperbark melaleuca tree that lost several large trunks in a storm. Some of it will be cut for decorative logs but I wanted to make paper from it, too. I'll attempt it your way first and hopefully won't have to break it down into fibers like mulberry paper. (The melaleuca bark is different than paperbark birch in that it is really fuzzy feeling.) Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2016! Michelle

    3. Hi FrauBucher! I hope it works well for you! I hope you have a great year as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Sylvie, thank you for the info. Am going to try this. I have several pieces of bark to work with. I am a gourd artist and want to try incorporating the bark onto a gourd, so we will see what happens. Thanks again for the pointers!

  5. Hi Sylvie, thank you for the info on preserving birch bark. I am a gourd artist and want to try incorporating it onto a gourd and was in a quandary as how to treat it. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks again.

  6. Hello. I have plenty of bark which is naturally peeling off of the trees, yet it is doing so in small pieces. Is there a way to make one large piece from those I have collected?

  7. Thank you SO SO much for this info Sylvi. I live on an island and just across the way there arequite a few Paperbark trees, also known in Aussie here as MALALUUKA


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