How to Make Faux Birch Bark

Birch trees are known for having a unique and versatile bark that people have used in the making of many arts and crafts for years. However, a more environmentally friendly way to achieve the naturally pretty appearance of birch bark without harming any trees exists. With a few painting techniques, you can use a faux birch bark finish to transform the look of such items as picture frames, purse handles or fishing rods.

Birch bark is notable for its unique colors and markings. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff bristle paint brush

  • Black acrylic paint

  • White school glue

  • White acrylic gesso

  • Brown acrylic paint

  • Paper towel

  • Acrylic sealer

Step 1

Use a stiff bristle paint brush to entirely paint the item that you are transforming into faux birch bark with black acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Step 2

Cover the item with a thick coat of white school glue. Give the glue enough time to partially dry.

Step 3

Dab the paint brush with white acrylic gesso and a small amount of black acrylic paint. Paint long, horizontal strokes across the item. Avoid overlapping the paint strokes in order to create a more authentic birch bark cracked appearance. Allow the paint to completely dry once you have painted the entire item.

Step 4

Dip the paint brush in brown acrylic paint and then wipe 95 percent of the paint off the paint brush with a paper towel. Lightly swipe the almost-dry paint brush back and forth over the entire item in a dusting motion. Allow the paint to dry once more.

Step 5

Highlight portions of the item with white acrylic gesso to create small areas of unblemished white birch bark. Let the item dry completely.

Step 6

Apply a coat of acrylic sealer to the entire item to protect the faux birch bark that you have created.

References & Resources