Pruning Projects

Pruning Projects

If you are lucky enough to either have a garden with lots of trees, or live near a wooded area then you know that at certain times of the year branches lie strewn around the ground like discarded trash.  And unless you have a wood chipper or wood burning stove, then that is exactly where they normally end up.  In case you have always wondered what you could do with those strangely shaped pieces of twisted wood, then here are some ideas:

Make wooden discs
These are easy to make and easy to use up very quickly, as once you get started with ideas on how to use them you'll find inspirations comes tumbling out in a cascade.  I love these wooden baskets made by gluing wooden discs onto a cheap plywood base.  Discs made from larger branches can be anything from seat bottoms to drinks coasters, while even the smallest of branches can be sliced up to make decorative craft components.  Sand the surfaces and treat with an oil, wax or varnish to preserve them.

Make beads
Beads don't have to be perfect spheres.  As long as you have a drill, or Dremel tool,  you can sand, polish and put a hole in any small piece of wood to create an interesting and irregular shaped bead.  Great for chunky, natural jewelry.

Lamps
There are many ways to do this.  You can form a tripod lamp stand with three equal sized branches, or clump a group of branches together to form a base.  Or drill a hole horizontally through some nice, sanded branches and thread them onto a metal pole to create an elegant lamp.  Lamp hardware kits are pretty cheap, so this is a great way to use up branches while creating a beautiful, designer piece of lighting.

Wood Chip Frames
I loved this idea when I first saw it.  So easy, so stylish, so organic and so beautiful.  So expensive! (In the designer stores.)  Making your own is as easy as hacking rough chunks off of larger branches and hot gluing them onto a basic (cheap) frame.  The effect looks particularly striking on large mirrors.  

Furniture
From stools to tables to beds, branches can be used to make any kind of furniture, providing that they are sturdy enough for the purpose and yourcarpentry skills are up to the job.  Spend a bit of time planning out your idea before you start carving up branches, for a higher rate of success.

A few tips on using pruned branches for any of these craft projects:
  • Make sure the branches are not diseased, rotten or infested with any kind of mites.  This is where using branches from your own garden can be a better options than ones you find.
  • Ensure that all of the wood is thoroughly dried out before using it.
  • Take care to sand all pieces to remove any sharp edges or splinters which might cause an injury.
  • Don't cut branches off of a healthy tree just because you have a great craft project.  Especially if the tree does not belong to you!