DIY a Birch Bark Lamp

birch-lamp-title
 

 

I literally got this idea by daydreaming out in my garden! Our birch tree was starting to peel and it caught my eye.

My son started peeling it off and I realized, “Who needs birch logs?”. You can just use this actual paper thin bark to create the effect.

birch-tree

I decided I would love the birch as a wintery touch to the snowboard themed room I was creating. It complemented the bright headboard and the decorative antlers while not fighting with them.

You could use this technique on decorative boxes or even on small pieces of furniture. Go wild!

The Design

I hunted for simple lamp shapes that would be easy to cover with the bark. I decided I would experiment with a straight sided lamp that I knew would be easy and would look just like a log, and a larger curved one that might have more impact OR might be a disaster.

I’ll let you decide which one you like better! But I can tell you the straight one took about 5 minutes and the curved one took about and hour and a half maybe longer to cover in bark.

birch lamp drawing
1

  • 1 lamp with a fairly simple shape, or other object you would like to cover with birch bark
  • Birch bark. It may be a little Portlandia of me to assume you can all go wander your woods and find bark to inspire your creative design, but the hunt is fun! If all else fails someone probably sells it online.

peeling-birch

  • Adhesive: I used matte Mod Podge to cover the base but needed a stronger adhesive for the curly ends
  • A brush to apply the Mod Podge
  • Loctite Construction adhesive. This is what I used to fight with the more stubborn pieces of bark. I tried the spray adhesive but that only had a chance of working on the super simple straight lamp with perfectly straight bark pieces.
  • Gray, white, and a mossy green acrylic paint
  • A small brush you can use roughly. I used an old art brush
  • Paper towels
  • A black lamp shade dresses up this rustic base, I love the look!

birch-lamp-materials

The Process

Watch the video first, these instructions are meant to help you remember the order or answer any additional question

  • First, wash your lamp to make sure there is no dirt or oils that will keep the glue from sticking
  • Next, coat the lamp with matte Mod Podge in sections
  • Hold different pieces in place as you move up the lamp to make sure they fit and look right
  • As you glue down each strip, make sure to overlap slightly so there is no part of the original lamp base showing through anywhere.

gluing-birch-lamp

  • The best bits of the bark were the weathered white one that had some mossy spots. Occasionally I needed a larger piece of the under bark which was more tan in color. To make those blend in I started by streaking on a light gray, then I stippled on some white and mossy green until they blended, blotting and wiping with a paper towel as needed to wipe off excess paint or ugly spots.

birch-pieces

  • Glue down any parts of the bark that are popping up or sticking out — be sure to use a stronger tacky glue like Loctite.
  • I coated the whole base in matte Mod Podge once I was done to make the bark cleanable
  • I finished it off with a new black lampshade

Watch the video if you are confused about any part of this process, or comment and I will respond!

The Outcome

I love the look of the lamp in this bedroom! If you have too much pattern and color in a kid’s space without any touch of sophistication it becomes a hodge podge. I like having this one spot of natural texture and simple pattern and shape. It also complements the vintage metal E.

large-birch-after

The Budget 

$4.19 – 8 oz. Matte Mod Podge

$.99 – Small foam brush to apply adhesive

$6.32 – Loctite Power Grab Adhesive

$0.00 – Use any old paints you have to create the birch affect, mix black and white, really messy is fine!

$0.00 – An old art brush to dab on the paint

$7.99 – A thrift store lamp base, I looked for one with the metal piece in tact (the harp) to attach the new lamp shade & ALWAYS make sure the lamp turns on before you start your project!

$19.99 – I splurged on the lamp shade a Home Depot – but really – it makes the whole thing!

$0.00 – Paper towels

TOTAL: $39.48

small-birch-featured-image

Let me know which lamp you like best!!!

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