Cotton Boll and Birch Bark Fall Decor Wall Art
This DIY ribbon made using real birch bark is unique and the birch bark is so pretty. Birch bark is so beautiful with its bright white patterns and texture, its perfect for fall decor.
This fall decorating idea using birch bark and cotton bolls can be made with purchased materials in a few minutes. If you’re interested in how we harvested the real birch bark for the ribbon, I am sharing it after the cotton stem arrangement.
This arrangement is super easy to put together. The background is purchased at Michael’s, but you could use any plain white background you like, handmade wood frame or a refurbished painting, repainted with simple white paint.
You will also need one cotton stem, birch bark, and a glue gun.
Birch Bark for Ribbon
Birch park is available in craft stores and Amazon, the purchased strips are wider and more uniform than these, but I saved my larger pieces of birch bark for other projects and cut scrap pieces of birch bark into long 1 1/2″ wide strips for the birch bark ribbon.
Super Simple Cotton Stem Arrangement
My cotton boll stem is quite large, so I only used one stem. Just like the birch bark, you can purchase cotton stems, but if you want to make your own here is my tutorial for DIY cotton stems. If you make your own cotton stems they only cost pennies to create.
Gather the cotton stem(s) and wrap with one piece of birch park. Glue the cotton stem to the background in several places where it will not show. Let cool.
Adding the Birch Ribbon
Using a piece of birch bark about 8 inches long fold the two ends towards the middle and glue in place. Flip the birch over so the seam is at the back. Repeat with the second piece. Let cool and then glue them to the backdrop covering the stem.
Take two 5 inch strips of birch bark and cut a V-shaped notch in the bottom. Place these under the birch ribbon to resemble ribbon tie ends. Glue in place.
Use a 3-inch length of birch bark to make a central loop. With the dark side facing you, glue the birch to the back side of the birch ribbon.
Wrap it over the top, trim, tuck under the other side and glue in place. I am loving this ribbon with the pretty white bark.
The birch bark isn’t too rustic in this arrangement, the bow softens the look.
Harvesting Birch Bark
There are tutorials online about harvesting bark from living trees, but personally, I am way too much of a tree hugger to ever try it. Instead, this birch came from Hubs son, he was sweet enough save the birch for me from a dead snag he had to cut down for safety reasons. I took several lengths of the trunk and all the tree branches.
Start by scrubbing the wood down with a brush and sudsy water. Let it dry. Remove the bark outdoors or in the garage in case you have bugs. We didn’t have any. Let the bark dry.
Assess your piece of wood, you won’t be able to harvest the bark around the branches or large knots. Figure out where the best patch of bark is and start cutting with a sharp utility knife. You want to push the knife deep enough that it goes through both the paper-thin outer bark and the thicker layer just beneath it.
Once you have cut out the outside edges of your piece of bark, you can start pulling it away from the wood portion.
Its surprisingly easy to separate, but be careful not to tear the birch bark. If you have a section that is harder to remove, use your utility knife and carefully cut and pry the bark off.
You will end up with a piece of bark that still has the second layer attached to the underside.
The bark layer is easy to remove, you just carefully snap it and pull it off. The only way I can think of to describe it, its similar to snapping fresh peas, and takes about the same amount of pressure. Snap the bigger sections and pull it off your bark.
This is the piece of birch bark I ended up with from one piece of wood. It’s about 10 by 12 inches in size. I may need to soak and flatten it for other projects, but this isn’t the piece I used for the ribbon. I got other plans for this piece.
Let me know if you’re going to try harvesting your own birch bark, or will you buy it. Please comment if you have any questions.
In case you’re in a very frugal mood, or your like me and love DIY creativity, here is a tutorial on making your own realistic cotton boll stems. It’s fun, frugal and easy enough to do with children.