Birch-Bark Dishes

It will be easy for girls to make their birch-bark dinner plates,

vegetable dishes, baskets, dippers, etc. Soften the thick bark by

soaking it in water; when it is pliable cut one plate the size you wish,

lay it on a flat stone or other hard substance and scrape off the

outside bark around the edges, allowing the outer bark to remain on the

bottom of the plate to give greater strength; use this plate as a guide

in cutting each of the others.

With your fingers shape the edges of the plates in an upward turn while

the bark is wet, using the smoothest side for the inside of the plate.

A large bark cornucopia with bark strap-handle can be made and carried

on the arm in place of a basket when off berrying.

Variations of circular, oblong, and rectangular bark dishes may be

worked out from strips and rectangular pieces of birch bark, and all

dishes can be turned into baskets by adding handles. When necessary to

sew the edges of bark together, always have the bark wet and soft; then

lap the edges and use a very coarse darning-needle with twine of

inner-bark fibre or rootlets; have ready hot melted grease mixed with

spruce gum to coat over the stitching and edges of the article, or you

can use white-birch resin for the same purpose.

The bark utensils will wear longer if a slender rootlet or branchlet of

pliable wood is sewed, with the "over-and-over" stitch, to the edge of

the article.

For round and oblong dishes or baskets, sew together the two ends of

your strip of wet bark; then sew the round or oblong bottom on the lower

edge of the bark circle. In this case it is not easy to lap the edges,

simply bring them together and finish the seam with the addition of the

slender rootlet binding.

Rectangular dishes are made by folding the wet bark according to the

diagrams and fastening the folds near the top of both ends of the

receptacle. These will hold liquids.

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