How To Make Realistic Tree Bark

coffee can and a dollhouse tree

Update May 2019:
Since the tutorial for this bark in 2013 I have updated the technique and used it countless times to build Gnome Homes and fake trees and more! I decided to remove this old post I wrote here and give you  more recent tutorials here for you. This way you get a few different methods and ideas to get you started on your own Gnome or Fairy home.

What about the supplies list?
For each video I posted below I've included the links to each blog post because those have supplies lists. The supplies needed are pretty basic and probably most of you have everything you need to make fake bark already. Have fun!




Making Paper Towel Bark and Clay Bark:
In this video I show you how to build both styles of bark, the differences between them and how to paint them. I have no blog post for this one, I go over the supplies list in the video.


Turn a cardboard box into a dollhouse,
This tutorial is actually quite old and was uploaded to my crochet channel. Since this was done I've created the Where The Gnomes Live channel on youtube and I also paint the bark differently.  But I'll still let you see so you can get an idea about using a singular box and building around it. Be sure to see my other videos for painting.
See the video and blog post  here.


How To Make Steps For Your Fairy House:
In this video I'm using the same original bark technique I used in 2013 to build the steps and the bark that encloses them.
Blogged here


How To Make a Spooky Tree:
In this video I show how to build a small tree with spooky finger branches. I'm using the same technique to make the fake bark with foil and paper towels.
Blogged here





How To Make A Hollow Tree With Clay For Bark:
In this video I use clay to make the bark. I use a homemade clay.
Blogged here


Make a tree or log any size you want:
Using the same technique I've shown in the videos above you can build a home any size. You can make it coffee can size or make it huge as I show here in this video.

My Gnome Home was built entirely out of foil and paper towels. The interior walls were covered in a homemade clay. I post frequent updates on my Gnome Homes and the forest I'm building in my craft room on my facebook page Where The Gnomes Live



I hope you enjoyed your visit here. Happy building!

Tip Jar ~ Thank you!






Comments

  1. Replies
    1. I am a art teacher and i am going to try to use this method on an on plastic horse feed tub so the students can use it as a prop to stand on in there upcoming Robin Hood play. Thanks

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  2. Awesome as always

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  3. Thanks for sharing it looks fantastic!

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    1. you're welcome and thanks so much, glad you like it :)

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  4. Sharon, thank you for generously sharing with us your wonderful tutorial. You have a great voice ! :) And what a great idea using a lazy susan *cough while working :). I have one but I hardly use it. Your tree house is awesome because the bark you made is very realistic. Great job!

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  5. so awesome Sans :) You're welcome, I enjoyed making the bark and certainly will be making more in future projects. I want to experiment now making different kinds of bark, of course, lol
    And thank you! I appreciate everything you said, truly :)

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    1. Maybe I missed it, but you said you made the clay yourself, but such a big step to leave out how you made the clay. Please share! Thanks

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    2. Thanks for asking. It is linked in the video but I just added the link to the blog post as well. Scroll up to the section that says "How To Make A Hollow Log With Clay Bark" and click on "blogged here". OR use the search bar and type in "paper clay". OR highlight this link, https://www.sharonojala.com/2017/09/how-to-make-paperclay-video.html

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  6. Excellent tutorial! This is similar to how I create papier-mache animal sculptures. Never thought about making fairy tree houses before. Your creations are adorable! Thanks for the great inspiration!

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  7. Any info on the inside of the fairy house yet? My granddaughter is going to love this. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.

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    1. I did a photo tour of my other coffee can dollhouse. The exterior of that one is done differently than this one but the cans are the same size. Look in my label list on the right side of this page, you'll have to scroll up and click on coffee can dollhouse. Thanks for asking!

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    2. When will you show how to to do the inside? I am so excited about this.

      Gail

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    3. Hi Gail, I will do my best to get it done today. I reply here again when it's ready... thanks for asking it has been on my mind the last week or so but I have been recovering from a head cold so my voice wasn't the best, lol today should be better :))

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    4. UPDATE! Today is January 6th 2014 and I am right now part way through the filming of this tutorial, it should be up on youtube by the end of the day. I'm in Canada so the end of my day, lol it's almost 1pm PST. sorry for the delay, life kinda gets in my way sometimes!

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  8. can you put them outside ?

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    1. I couldn't tell you for sure because I've never tried it but maybe if you gave it a coat of something that would weatherproof it? You'd have to ask your local paint store if they know of a product that could seal it. Thanks for asking :)

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  9. This looks amazing Sharon. Just watched the tutorial. I'm interested in making a full size tree in my daughter's room. I'm curious how strong is the bark? Would it hold up to kids or is it fragile? It looks pretty sturdy. Thanks for showing us how to make it.
    Jared

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    1. Thank you Jared. It is pretty sturdy for normal wear and tear but I don't think it would hold up to rough play. I couldn't say for certain but if the bark wasn't so thick and you put on a top coat, like a sealer of some sort? The best to do is try a sample and see how it holds up. Hope that helps!

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  10. I am making a large paper mache tree for a friend's bridal shower, and I was looking EVERYWHERE for a good tutorial on how to make realistic bark. Your video and instructions are awesome, and your work is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with others! :)

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    1. Oh thank you so much, your comment just made my whole day! I'm so glad you found the tutorial and that it will be helpful.. all the best to you and your friend's upcoming bridal shower!!
      Sharon Ojala
      xo

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  11. I am curious, is the felt or burlap necessary? I have a cardboard oatmeal cylinder container. Are you working with a metal can?

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    1. I found it helped a great deal hang onto the wet paper and hold the creases I made. But try it without and see how it goes... I honestly never tried it because the can was cardboard that had a very smooth, painted exterior and I thought the paper wouldn't hold well to it while drying

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  12. Very nice looks realistic, im planning to make a book shelves with bark on the outside. the grade 1 pupils will surely like this, thank you very much maam for sharing your talent. God Bless.

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  13. Wow! This is so awesome and unique! I haven't seen anything else like this, and I admit I spend a lot of time looking up crafty projects. I love this! Thanks!!

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  14. Loved the idea, need it for my own personal homemade projects right click, No copy, no problem There's more than one way to skin a cat and I did.

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    1. my apologies.. I had forgotten I had right click disabled. I just removed it.

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    2. and hopefully you saw the updated version I added of this tutorial too http://www.sharonojala.com/2015/02/how-to-make-fake-bark-for-dollhouses.html

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  15. Could I use this process to cover a lampshade or would the heat from the lightbulb create a fire hazzard?

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    1. sorry, I wouldn't know, I've never tried that.

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  16. Truly awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing...I am definitely going to try this someday...hopefully with my grandkids!! Stay Blessed!!

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  17. have you ever tried this on anything bigger? wondering if a bucket or basket of some sort would work. it would be a easy new born prop

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  18. Very creative. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your talent and expertise with us. A word of caution however if you plan to use Linseed oil. It is extremely dangerous. Please check out this link first.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EreqG0_PLQ

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  19. Thank you so much for your amazing tutorial. I love it. Do you know if the bark will tolerate being outdoors?

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    1. that I don't know for sure since I've never tried it. I think if you used a sealer, one for exterior, and sealed every inch it would be good outside. Maybe talk to somebody at a hardware store, they'd know better what to do and what to use.

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    2. for outside use ..try modge podge waterproof..that is what I use on my fairy artwork. However you may need quite a bit depending on how big your can is (tree trunk)

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  20. I am SO glad I found you...Great tutorial! I was making a tree to add little lights on and had plastered it into a coffee can. I have been looking at the can but couldn't decide what I wanted to do. This is perfect. I plan to use the tree on my back porch, so will seal thoroughly. Thanks a million!!! Frani

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  21. Can you advise what I could use to make this waterproof for outside weather conditions please?
    ��

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    1. I've never weather proofed my projects. You can do it, but you would have to talk to someone at your local hardware store. They would better advise you what to use

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  22. WHERE IS THE CAN?

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  23. THANKS! I'm making a Gnome & Mushroom garden and wanted some tree trunks to set my Gnomes on. I made one from plaster of paris but it just wasnt what I wanted it to look like. THIS IS PERFECT.

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  24. Thanks for this, going to be using the idea to create a walking tree-man for an upcoming film of mine

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  25. Thank You! I'm making a cardboard tree sculpture for my 3-d design class. My faux painting skills aren't all that. This will help so much!

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  26. I love your creative mind and your willingness to share. It takes time and effort to share your creative ideas, know it is appreciated. I want to try this!

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  27. I love how you were so specific with the instructions. I love to craft and this will be my next project. Thank you so much.

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