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. 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 [...]

  2. 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!

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

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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 [...]

  8. 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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