My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

A birch bark spiral wrap to cradle floral details in a wine glass

Book readers: if you really want to level up on this design and be even more mindful of the bark placement turn to page 276 of my book where I tell you about crafting floral illusions. For more information about my book: The Effortless Floral Craftsman

Measure out the birch bark

Measure out the birch bark.

Cut the bark into long strips

Cut the bark into long strips.

Soak the bark overnight in warm water

Soak the bark overnight in warm water.

To curl the bark strips I am using clips to temporarily keep it all together

To curl the bark strips I am using clips to temporarily keep it all together.

I am not yet using glue because I might want to add in a few more strips depending on how tightly I can roll the bark. I am telling you a bit more about this in our email this week. If you are not yet receiving a weekly bonus tip email from me you can sign up below this post.

Clip the bark together in one long strip

Clip the bark together in one long strip.

Roll the strip from one end to the middle

Roll the strip from one end to the middle and from the other end to the middle. You want the roll to look continuous so if you roll the one end over, finish the other end to the mirror image.

You might want to practice this on a piece of wire first. To get you started see the Tutorial linked below. Once you get it perfectly right with easy to manipulate wire, you can try to get it imperfectly right with wobbly and unpredictable bark strips.

Keep the bark spirals firmly together so that they dry in this shape

Keep the bark spirals firmly together so that they dry in this shape...

The easiest way is to slip the spirals into a vase so that held firmly in place while the bark dries

The easiest way is to slip the spirals into a vase so that it is held firmly in place while the bark dries overnight.

Once dry the curls will now be set into the bark

Once dry the curls will now be set into the bark.

Remove the clips

Set the spirals on your design table and carefully remove the clips. Reach into the spiral and carefully glue the strips together with a small drop of hot glue. This is just to make it easier for you to work without the strip coming undone.

The tighter curled spirals are the most important to keep in place. You can easily manipulate more bark strips to spiral over the middle section even without soaking them but these outside edges should be treated with care.

Lift the end pieces of the spiral out

The spiral will release slightly once you undo the clips but because there is already a curl there you can even exaggerate it at this point. Lift the end pieces of the spiral out and roll them tighter if possible. Secure the spiral with a small drop of hot glue.

Work from both ends and secure the spiral in place with hot glue

Work from both ends. Lift the spiral out and and secure the spiral in place with hot glue.

Be mindful of the size of spiral. We are using a wine glass as a budvase... water source... and display stand in one.

Fit the spirals flanking a wine glass

Fit the spirals flanking a wine glass with a spiral on each side.

Cut a few more strips of birch bark

If you are happy with the way the two spirals come together over the glass continue to secure the spirals with hot glue all around the glass. If the strips are rolled quite tightly you might want to cut a few more strips of birch bark to add into the spiral. Simply undo the glue at a joint, insert the new strip and continue to follow the spiral by rolling the new strip to match. Glue it to the other end to complete the spiral.

The birch bark shape is now ready to design with

The birch bark shape is now ready to design with.

Cover the glass with paper to keep it clean

Cover the glass with paper to keep it clean. Secure the paper towel with tape so that you can turn the glass to work without opening the cover.

Thin some wood glue with water

Thin some wood glue with water...

Paint the bark with the thinned glue

Paint the bark with the thinned glue...

Sprinkle in some artificial snow on the bark shape

Sprinkle in some artificial snow on the bark shape.

You can even use the artificial snow to conceal some imperfections where the glue pulled while drying

You can even use the artificial snow to conceal some imperfections where the glue pulled while drying

But mostly focus on adding snow where snow would naturally fall

But mostly focus on adding snow where snow would naturally fall... again see our email this week.

Set the bark shape aside for the glue to dry completely

Set the bark shape aside for the glue to dry completely.

Fill the glass with water

Fill the glass with water.

Combine two anthurium flowers to mirror the birch bark spiral ends

Combine two anthurium flowers to mirror the birch bark spiral ends.

Slip the flowers into the water filled glass to remain hydrated

Slip the flowers into the water filled glass to remain hydrated.

Add in rosary vine stems

Add in rosary vine stems...

Cut away the lowest two set of leaves

Design Note: Cut away the lowest two set of leaves from the rosary vine. This way you can even root the stems in the water. No design room should be without a good supply of rosary vines, right?

Drape the vines around the bark shape

Drape the vines around the bark shape.

Add in a few willow twigs

Add in a few willow twigs...

Follow the bark shape and secure the twigs with hot glue

Follow the bark shape and secure the twigs in place with a small drop of hot glue.

Hot glue is stronger than floral glue... and the twigs will want to let go so secure them carefully and in more than one place.

Make sure all the design elements interact with each other to create a unit

Make sure all the design elements interact with each other to create a unit.

Top up the water

Top up the water. I use a syringe with a tube to do this.

You can find the detailed Tutorial for how to make the syringe below this post

And finish the design with a few dew drop crystals to add sparkle

And finish the design with a few dew drop crystals to add sparkle.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.

Tutorials

13 October 2011 Spiral Wire Cages

The cage spirals to form a basket that wrap around the plump ripe berries (or you can slip in a flower) to hang as connections between the twigs.

26 June 2013 Birch Bark Wings to hang over the rim of a glass

Simple and natural floral accessory for a sherry glass

13 December 2017 Long lasting bark and Kalanchoe sleigh

Kalanchoe flowers last weeks without a water source and is the perfect way to dress up a bark and silver bell sleigh

5 February 2014 Bark Gift Bag

Cut and glue bark into a gift bag

22 December 2021 Patina Copper Spiral Bauble and Pinecone Cascade

A beautiful pinecone dressed up for Christmas.

11 January 2017 Potted bark pod for a flowering plant

Cover a Styrofoam shape with bark to create a bowl for a potted design

10 July 2012 Bark covered heart

Cover cardboard with bark to create a heart shaped log

19 August 2015 Bark pod for growing a Pearl Oyster mushroom mini farm

Glue bark to a Papier Maché and wire frame to create a pod shaped armature

28 December 2016 A bark strip and fluffed cotton disk wreath

Cover a wreath frame with bark strips and fluffed out cotton

25 November 2020 Contactless gift exchange wreath perfect to double as Santa’s Gift Bag for your front door

Craft a small pouch into a half-and-half wreath so that you can leave... and receive tiny gifts and cards in true Christmas 2020 style .

10 March 2012 Kyogi paper wood veneer

I wanted to create extremely light weight wooden blocks for my design. The easiest way is to cover Styrofoam with a Kyogi paper veneer.

11 October 2023 Wood chip and sparkle mushroom cornucopia

A horn of plenty... seasonal sparkle.

Favourite Flowers

Anthurium

Anthurium, Tailflower, painters palette, Flamingo flower

Ceropegia woodii

Rosary vine, Chain of Hearts, Collar of hearts and String of hearts

Salix matsudana "Tortuosa"

Curly Willow, Chinese Willow, Tortured Willow, Globe Willow, Dragon's Claw, Hankow Willow

Related Designs

17 January 2024 Wave Wrap

Roll birch bark into a double spiral to cradle some perfect flowers to admire all winter.

13 October 2011 Direct Contrasts

I have always been fascinated, as a designer, by the idea that there is a point when extremes or direct contrasts flip into its opposite.

26 June 2013 All it needed

Clean, simple and restrained elegance: a single jasmine stem in a wine glass. All it needed was just a few extra blades of grass to tie it all together. And wings, of course!

23 July 2014 Chain of Thought

Knot small stems into decorative chain garlands

22 October 2014 Stand Around

Fold and roll leaves to create an Autumn swirl

22 January 2013 It's High Time for Tea: from craft to art, taking a delicious floral journey with veneer techniques

This was my second two designs for my It's High Time for Tea Floral Craft and Art Demonstration at The Capilano Flower Arranging Club meeting.

13 December 2017 Just hear those sleigh bells jingling

Craft a bark sleigh that will last for weeks.

5 February 2014 Treasured Time

This is my article that I wrote for the Mother's Day Design Issue of Canadian Florist Magazine

11 January 2017 As special as an almost never find

Sometimes you find such a beautiful plant that you just can't bring yourself to cut it. This design explores using the entire plant, pot and all, in a design

22 December 2021 It’s the most… it’s the most… wonderful Patina Copper Spiral Bauble Christmas of all!

This is the fifth of my Christmas 2021 series of designs. This year in the form of a mini workshop… my Christmas present to you. This week I will show you how to add a mostly...

10 July 2012 Sticktoitness

Glue a heart shaped design made from bark and wood.

19 August 2015 Growth Medium

Design a bark and moss pod for a mushroom mini farm

28 December 2016 A Jingle Cotton Christmas

Cover a wreath frame with bark and cotton for a textured Christmas wreath design

25 November 2020 Have yourself a Merry Cellulose Fibre Christmas: Santa’s gift bag wreath

...ok not really that fancy- it’s made from paper pulp. A cardboard box gift bag wreath… really. In the spirit of 2020- I am inspired by the endless stream of cardboard boxes...

11 October 2023 Plenty Glow to Harvest

Glow and sparkle bark armature to celebrate the first signs of Autumn

9 April 2011 Vanilla

Vanilla Design for the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa