Barking up the…vase!

Bark clutter in the garageThe diminishing pile of branches and bark in the garage has been clamoring for attention.  Use it or lose it.  Some of it was used in “Logging On…” (Archives, January 2014) and now it was time to use it up and fashion a container or two.

Tin vase with lots of barkThe objective on a wintry day was to ‘upholster’ the tin tall vase (rear) with a variety of bark textures and colors.  In this picture, the bark from the garage is supplemented by birch bark and some palm fiber.

Vase painted and with barkI sprayed the vase with a woodland brown –  not very well – to avoid any shiny silver tin showing between the bark.  The pieces were glued on with a hot glue gun.  Maybe hot/cold glue has gotten better – this time the bark adhered really fast, no slipping, but conversely, no changing your mind either.

Magnolia, pods, bark, lichenOnce the bark was in place, I set out possible embellishments – lichen, curling bark pieces, dried magnolia leaves, no name blackish curls, nuts, ram’s heads & butterfly bark (  These were also put on with hot glue plus a few glue dots.

Susan DetjensA bark vase in four views, north, east, south and west.  The textures change in each quadrant to keep it interesting.

Susan DetjensIt really doesn’t need flowers or other branches, just a nice cap of moss.  Sadly the nice moss in the woods is frozen stiff, so broccoli will have to do!!

Chock Full O Nuts vaseWaste not, want not….and because it was still snowing, I tacked another ‘vase’ with the leftover birch.  This was a 6” diameter Chock Full O Nuts coffee can.  I sprayed it metallic taupe.  Automotive stores have spray paint in really nice colors to match a lot of the metallic automobile finishes.

Susan DetjensI began by lightly spraying the bark pieces as well before hot gluing them to the coffee can.  It was fun to figure out how to place them so they interlock.  Unlike the natural bark vase, these ran horizontally around the can.

Susan DetjensOnce the can was ‘upholstered’, additional curls of birch were settled at the top of the container.  Rams’ heads were cut apart and placed between the curls. Finally a nice plump Kabocha pumpkin added the requisite topknot of verdant green.



About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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4 Responses to Barking up the…vase!

  1. Irene Miltimore says:

    Thank you Susan for these wonderful ideas! I am looking forward to making these beautiful containers .

  2. Alexandra says:

    I like these! Everything looks great (except the broccoli!) haha

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