How To Preserve Tree Branches With Bark For Decoration
Trimming extra twigs after collecting the branch, sanitizing with bleach-mixing water, drying for several months to prevent shrinking, sanding for a smooth texture, and applying stains are the best practices to preserve it for decorations.
Though that’s not the only process to preserve a tree branch with bark for decoration. But, still the most efficient, effective, and simple technique for novice wood crafters to DIYers.
However, A wood branch crafting piece in your ballroom gives a rustic vibe even in a gorgeous city apartment. However, doing the entire job in your hand makes a memorable, enjoyable, and shareable experience to delight your guests. ☺️
This post is dedicated to letting you know the detailed procedure for preserving your preferred tree branches, including barks, to use them whenever you need. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- How To Preserve Tree Branches With Bark For Decoration
How To Preserve Tree Branches With Bark For Decoration
Reading the intro, you can predict that preserving wishy-washy tree branches isn’t a 2 to 3 steps job. Moreover, all tree woods aren’t suitable for decoration due to their quality, thickness, and shape.
In that case, it’s better to know some of the tree’s names, whose woods are hard enough to justify your works to preserve them through sustaining longer.
Best Tree Branches To Preserve For Decoration
Some of the best hardwood trees are Japanese Maple, Hickory, Red Oak, White oak, Blue spruce, Elm, Birch & Walnut. Mostly, branches or logs from any of these trees are blissful for indoor or outdoor decoration.
In addition, there are a few reasons to choose them. Such as
- These tree branch shapes are not too thin, which makes them easily breakable, nor too thick, which makes them difficult to preserve.
They are generally 3 feet long and 2 inches in diameter, which helps you to easily cut the branches into your crafting required pieces with no extra hassle.
- The fiber of these woods is 100% optic and never comes out with a little force. That means no fiber breakdown during the pruning of extra twigs.
Whatever, if you are unlucky to collect these branches, choose anyone that is available besides you.
If you want to treat these tree barks, or logs to make crafts or outdoor use, besides using branches. There are more worthwhile processes to follow. Check out two separate articles, on treating tree logs and tree barks.
How To Preserve Branches With Bark
Many people strive to give a captivating outlook to their indoor decorative tree branch’s lack of proper preservation. But if you can efficiently preserve the branch, that’d be awesome.
Some basic wood tools and equipment are required to do the task. Before jumping start, arrange them.
The Things You’ll Need
- Tree branch
- Hand saw
- A pair of Wood Loppers/Pruner
- Paint Scraper (Optional)
- Multiple grit sandpaper
- Wood sealer
- Wood paint brush
Step 1: Collect A Good Tree Branch
As your motive is to preserve your tree branch for decoration, that’s impossible without a tree branch. So, first, you need to collect the perfect tree branch.
Do you have to collect that from green (live) trees?
No, absolutely not.
When we all are concerned about global warming, climate change, and facing new challenges for the lack of trees. As cutting branches from green trees will injure them.
Yet, finding a branch from your backyard garden which has already fallen out is a great idea to serve your purpose.
Even if you collect the green tree branch, it’ll take longer to dry. Sometimes that can be more than a year.
On the other hand, the fallen branch is dried due to heavy sun heat exposure. So you won’t need to wait many months to proceed to the next steps.
Step 2: Toss Extra Twigs
Yes, it’s done to manage a suitable branch. But, in most cases, that isn’t as good shape as you need.
Maybe that is long, with many limbs and twigs.
You should cut the branch with a hand saw according to your requirements.
After that, cut the limbs and twigs from at least 1 inch away from the main branch with the Loppers/Pruners.
- Keep the branch 4 feet to even 1 foot long how you need.
- When pruning twigs, maintain a 45-degree angle to help the branch heal properly, and fastly.
Step 3: Sanitize The Tree Branch
Since you want to keep the bark with the branch, there is no way to skip sanitization. Because there may be many invisible bacteria, bugs, and viruses below the bark.
When you use the branch for decoration, fungus and mold may grow into it, reducing its longevity. The worried fact is, fungus infection can be one of the reasons for your or your beloved person’s health risk.
There are many ways of sanitizing your tree branch. If the branch is smaller and fits in pots, boiling is best. But, if that is longer, soaking it with a bleaching solution is effective. On the other hand, if you want quick sanitization, using glycerin can be great.
- Manage an aluminum large tub that won’t damage due to excessive heat.
- Place it on a stove made of brick.
- Fill the tub ½ with water and soak the branch in water. If needed, add more water until the branch is submerged.
- Fire the stove and boil the branch for 20-30 minutes.
- Put out fire, and leave the branch into the tub until cooling down.
- Take the branch in your bathroom and place it into your bathtub.
- Pour 1 part bleach and 9 parts water into the tub until submerging the branch.
- Rest it there for 8-9 hours or overnight.
- In time, the bugs or germs will die due to bleach chemicals.
- Mix ½ glycerin and ½ tap water into a spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle until the ingredients mix properly.
- Spray the disinfectant solution thoroughly into the branch surface.
- Don’t leave an inch left than spraying the solution.
- Boiling sanitization is the most risky job, avoid this process.
- Soaking sanitization needs a good time to dry the branch, if you don’t have that much time, use glycerin to sanitize.
Step 4: Shedding Bark (Optional)
Many people won’t want to keep the bark attached to the branch. If you are aligned into this group, shedding bark is the next step for you. Otherwise, go to step 5, and skip it.
Since, the bark of the branch becomes soft for boiling, or soaking for a long time. Scraping bark isn’t that much of a hard job for you.
You can easily do it with a paint scraper. Just hold the butt of the scraper, and pull it, attaching its sharp blade with the bark. It takes a few minutes to shed the entire branch bark.
Note: You can alternate step 3 and 4, as there is no hard and fast rule to do that. It depends on your preference.
Step 5: Dry The Branch
Even if you collect the branch detached from the tree and it seems dry, and you just use glycerin to sanitize it. There is no way to determine as it is perfectly dried. So you should dry it, and follow the below process for drying.
- After glycerin sanitization
Keep the branch in a space where the sun heats directly from dawn to dusk. Since this is a natural process, drying takes a longer time.
Leave it for at least 2 months, and check its colour once a week. If you find the shade changes between the times, leave it for drying more, as it needs.
If the shade won’t change, maybe it doesn’t need any more drying.
- After boiling or soaking sanitization
If you follow the boiling or soaking process, it again needs to dry. In that case, you should leave it under sun heat for 5-6 months.
- Faster drying
On top, it’d be fortunate to have an electric baseboard heater in your workshop or anywhere else at your home. Because baseboard heating will reduce at least 50% of your tree branch drying process. That means you can dry the branch within 2-3 months even though boiling or soaking.
Step 6: Sand The Branch
Hey dude, you are done 70% and mostly the time-consuming, miserable, and challenging of your task. Now, you have to sand the branch to make its surface super smooth.
80,100, 120, and even 150 grit sandpaper will be good to sand from smooth to rough spots of the branch.
Grab 80 or 100-grit sandpaper and sand the branch back and forth until there is no harsh texture.
If there are more rough edges, like where you cut limbs, you should sand those spaces with 120 or 150-grit sandpaper.
Step 7: Applying A Preservative Coat
You’ll discover your workstation is messy due to sanding dust and debris, and must clean the space. Because when you open the Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane wood stain container, the dust may get into the stain by swirling with air, making your application harder.
After that, wipe the branch with a dry rug/paper towel to remove the excess sanding dust from the branch.
Open the stain container and stir the stain with a stick to even its consistency from top to bottom.
Dip your painting brush into the stain and apply a thin coat over the branch surface stroke by stroke.
It’s better to start from one side and thoroughly go to the next. So, there will be no chance of double or no coating on any specific space.
You don’t need to wipe out the excess stain; rather, leave the branch for 24 hours, and the stains will dry out within this time.
Step 8: Store The Preserved Branch
If you plan to use the branch for decoration, right now, there is no need for storage. But, if you don’t use the branch immediately after preserving it. You should store it in the right place, in the right manner, and the right way.
Otherwise, the branch may crack or chip, which is unexpected for all the wood-passionate guys who perform these heavy tasks to preserve it.
Find a space with around 60°F temperature, no sunlight, and water exposure. Maybe your garage and storeroom are a good fit for the purpose.
If you need to store a few pieces of branch, wrap them with newspaper and keep them organized in the room. If there are many branches, wrapping them with newspaper will be haphazard. Skip wrapping; just store.
Must Obey Hack While Preserving Tree Branch
Always wear and use safety gears like cut or heat proof hand gloves, respiratory mask when handling hot water for sanitization, hand saw, even sanding.
Why Should You Preserve Decorative Tree Branches
Don’t think people give their effort, time, and money to preserve decorative tree branches for silly reasons. Rather, unless you do that, you have to face some bad consequences.
- The branch may turn black due to mold and fungus. So it loses its shiny, eye-catchy, and rustic vibe.
- The branch starts to shed its bark within some months unless they are properly preserved.
- Your decorative pieces won’t last long as you desire. You may even need to repair them frequently.
Ideas Of Tree Branches For Indoor Decoration
There are so many creative ideas for using tree branches for home decor and incorporating the beauty of nature into your eyesight.
- Wall art with tree branches is one of the most popular decorative formats. People use lots of tree branches to decorate their walls.
- Using tree branches is also a good idea to create garment racks to hang garments. However, a thick tree branch is also excellent for hanging a curtain in front of the garment rack.
Invite Natural Beauty At Home
Preserving decorative tree branches and using them is another name for inviting natural beauty at home.
Though successful, busy, and urban lifestyle stuck us. But we love to drizzle and dance in an unsophisticated continental homely environment. Decorating your home with tree branches thrills you towards your inner wish.
However, follow our steps, preserve your tree branch, and decorate your home, how you want to look at it.
Why would I want to preserve tree branches with bark for decoration?
Preserving tree branches with bark for decoration is a great way to bring a touch of nature into your home or event space. The natural texture and color of the bark can add an earthy, rustic look to your decor.
How do I preserve tree branches with bark for decoration?
There are a few different methods you can use to preserve tree branches with bark for decoration. One method is to soak the branches in a solution of glycerin and water, which will replace the moisture in the bark and keep it from drying out and cracking. Another method is to spray the branches with a clear coat of polyurethane or a natural wax or oil.
What kind of tree branches are best for preserving with bark?
Any type of tree branch with intact bark can be preserved for decoration. However, some types of bark, such as birch bark or grapevine bark, may be more popular for their unique texture and color.
How long will preserved tree branches with bark last?
The longevity of preserved tree branches with bark will depend on the preservation method used and the environmental conditions in which they are displayed. With proper care, they can last for several months to a few years.
How should I display preserved tree branches with bark?
Preserved tree branches with bark can be displayed in a variety of ways. They can be placed in a vase or container and used as a centerpiece or accent piece, or they can be hung on a wall or used to create a wreath or other decorative arrangement.
Can I preserve tree branches with bark that have already fallen off the tree?
Yes, you can preserve tree branches with bark that have already fallen off the tree. Just make sure to remove any loose or damaged bark before applying the preservation method.