How to Make Birch-Covered Vases

I first fell in love with the concept of birch vases when I saw wedding planner Beth Helmstetter’s design:

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These photos by Jose Villa are incredible, and I swooned for birch!

I mean, look:

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How gorgeous, right?!

This wedding is one of my favorites. I’ve also copied Beth’s lace-covered candles from this wedding:

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Mine aren’t quite as gorgeous, but it was such a rewarding DIY project, that I highly recommend it:

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My table mock up, with candles, birch vases, and white hem-stitch table runners on clearance for $19 each from Pottery Barn (waaay cheaper than even renting long table runners from the linen rental companies):

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Anyway, let’s get down to the birch vase tutorial. First, collect your birch bark. I got mine used from a bride, and paid too much (I was so excited to find birch cylinders at all, that I jumped the gun). I paid about $7 per cylinder for 20 of them.

Then I found a bunch more at Pottery Barn on clearance. They had them the past two winters, so maybe they’ll have them again next winter.

I also found a seller on Etsy who lives in Canada and sells birch bark cylinders, so you can try Etsy. I can’t remember the seller’s name, however”“–sorry!

Chances are, some of the birch cylinders won’t be the right size you want them to be. If that’s the case, measure your “inside” vase”“it can be a jar or can since it will be hidden, and measure how large you’ll need your birch cylinder to be, allowing for about a 2-inch overlapping seam of bark.

Here are my Pottery Barn cylinders and my tools: scissors, a pencil, and a ruler:

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The cylinders were way too big, so I pried them apart at the seams (they had been hot glued together at the seams).

I then measured and cut them to the size I needed. Some of them were funkily-made with several “seams” and sections of bark forming one cylinder. I want only one seam so I can position the cylinders in pairs on the tables with the seams pointing in to each other so they’re hidden.

Here’s a picture of a PB birch cylinder cut in half, showing the funky extra pieces Pottery Barn had used to make them larger. I simply pulled those off.

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Then I measured, traced a cutting line in pencil, and used scissors to cut the bark. Depending on how thick your bark is, you might want to use heavier shears or cutting tools. I used an X-Acto knife once to start the cut, but I don’t recommend doing that! The X-Acto knife was way too flimsy for the beefy bark.

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Now you’re ready to put ”˜em back together again!

I got a couple balls of twine and raffia ready, plugged in my hot glue gun, and started putting them back together again.

Some of the bark pieces weren’t very flexible, so I soaked them in the bathtub for an hour, which I found made it easier to bend the bark.

Step 1:

I held the cylinder together the size I wanted it, making sure the seam overlapped about a couple of inches so I’d have room to hot glue it securely. I then traced a line in pencil, as you can see in this picture, so I knew where exactly to apply hot glue. This also helped me create a perfectly straight seam in the haste of trying to quickly apply hot glue and then put the cylinder together before it dried on me!

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Step 2:

I applied hot glue quickly and liberally. This was hard, because I needed to stop in the middle each time and add another hot glue stick into the glue gun. I used a lot of glue, about one stick for each cylinder! You might find you need more or less, depending on how large your cylinders are.

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Step 3:

I held it together as tightly as possible while the glue dried.

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I found this technique of smashing it down on the table using my palms worked pretty well:

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I used both palms, for the record. (I had to remove one hand to take a picture!) Oh, if you’re wondering what that cardboard cylinder is on the inside, it came with the Pottery Barn cylinders, and for this particular vase, I was only shortening the length, not the circumference, so I decided to stick the cardboard cylinder inside for extra support.

Step 4:

I tied it in twine, to secure it. I’ll remove the twine for the wedding.

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All done! My friend brought me some pretty wedding flowers, and I did a little mock up:

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Have you used birch in your wedding? What did you make or buy that was birch?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Paisley

Location:
Orange County, CA
Wedding Date:
June 2010

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  1. Member
    lace 702 posts, Busy bee @ 5:13 pm

    These look fabulous Paisley! I’m so jealous!

  2. Member
    stripes 1063 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:33 pm

    These are fan-freakin-tastic! I want!! :)

  3. Member
    AbbieOinCO 184 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:40 pm

    I used the PB birch vases for our centerpieces, as well. With some of the left over pieces, I made birch cones for the flower girls and to stick on the chairs on the “aisle” to signify reserved seating for family. My dad also made box surrounds for other centerpieces using our old fence wood.

    See pictures here…
    http://aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com/2009/08/labor-of-love-at-least-thats-what-i.html

    http://aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com/2009/10/our-wedding-reception-part-2.html

    http://aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com/2009/10/our-wedding-ceremony-part-2.html

    http://aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com/2009/11/gotta-love-non-pro-pics.html

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Christie O., Guest @ 5:44 pm

    I soooooo wanted to use birch bark in my wedding. I fell in love with the same image you did. But alas, the birch in the southern mountains is not the same as the stuff in Canada, and I couldn’t find a seller.

    Just for future reference (perhaps a fabulous dinner party is in my future) if you ever remember the etsy seller, please post her link!

    Thanks for showing us that it is possible to to this outside of New England and Canada!

  5. Member
    hindsightbride 8 posts, Newbee @ 5:45 pm

    @Christie O.: oops, I forgot to log in before posting. That’s me above ;-)

  6. Member
    GwenMarieDC 111 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing!! I had alredy bookmarked your last post on the lace candle holders and now love that I have a clear outline for my birch vases! They look great! I am going to do similar – but hoping to find a bright fabric for my candles!

  7. Member
    MrsWoohoo 656 posts, Busy bee @ 5:59 pm

    They look great!

  8. Member
    Ms. E 132 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:16 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Member
    pudding 1183 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:21 pm

    So pretty! You guys did a great job!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Robin, Guest @ 6:34 pm

    My florist actually showed these to me a while back – from pottery barn! lol. I absolutly love them but I think I’m overdosing on wood products. Ive got little wooden birch stumps for the menu cards on each table (1 per table) and I just found our rental company makes faux wood charger plates! Too much natural for a classy event..?

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Halli, Guest @ 6:37 pm

    I am using Birch also in my wedding. I am using Birch vases for some of my centerpieces, birch logs for my escort cards, and my FH is making a birch altar. I am also using Oak chargers for the centerpieces to sit on.

  12. Member
    ocam_caro 191 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:18 pm

    Actually I was thinking on doing this as well, I was hoping it was less expensive though

  13. Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:50 pm

    Gorgeous! Those turned out so lovely :)

  14. Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 8:45 pm

    Man, I SOOOO wish I had thought of this before I decided to go w/ mason jar centerpieces, since I’m now obsessed with all things birch! At least my table number holders make up for that but I am green with envy right now, your tables are going to be GORGEOUS!

  15. Member
    msgiraffe 4248 posts, Honey bee @ 9:27 pm

    Awesome!

  16. Member
    eimersc 234 posts, Helper bee @ 9:46 pm

    That looks awesome! I bet it was a labor of love.

  17. Member
    tea 2410 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:13 am

    that is brilliant!

  18. Member
    Laura27 385 posts, Helper bee @ 3:06 am

    Looks amazing! I just recently fell in love with birch vases after picking up the new Country Living.

  19. Member
    alivoo01 2625 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:01 am

    Those turned out great! So pretty!

  20. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 2:44 pm

    these are so beautiful! i love it!

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    {Happy Weekend!} « Utterly Engaged } The 1st Online Wedding Magazine. Inspiring Budget Savvy Brides with Style., Guest @ 8:00 am

    [...] DIY tutorial for making birch covered [...]

  22. Member
    binza14 341 posts, Helper bee @ 10:24 am

    Every once in a while an idea makes me rethink my whole theme. This is one of them. LOVE!

  23. Member
    Miss Chicken Wing 1225 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:56 am

    I LOVE THIS, Paisley!!!! It looks AMAZING!!!!!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Vintage Vase, Guest @ 7:21 pm

    Cool idea, I live in MN, so the idea of birch as centerpieces reflects on our nature loving ways here. Plus we have a large supply of birch at our disposal. I’ll have to give them a try. Thanks for another great idea!

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    Brandi, Guest @ 8:53 pm

    Does anyone have any used birch vases they would be willing to sell? I hvae 15 tables at my wedding and tryng to DIY on the flowers!Please email me if you have any and photos. bdintfen@gmail.com

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Jen, Guest @ 3:14 pm

    I had a bride who wanted birch bark baskets for her flowergirl, so I made one with wild silk flowers on the handle and then made her two birch bark ringbearer boxes for the boys to carry the rings. They werwe a big hit! https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150240766959389&set=a.10150202105084389.312564.674059388&type=1&theater

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Holiday Flowers | Floret Cadet, Guest @ 1:17 pm

    [...] are also available from several Etsy sellers, and there’s a good tutorial on how to make them here).   That arrangement became sort of a “down home” holiday [...]

  28. Member
    amberolar 116 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:36 am

    I love those birch vases. Beautiful! I found some that I’m buying on http://roxyheartvintage.com. They are gorgeous!

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