Living in the northwoods of Wisconsin, I have access to so many natural elements that I love to use for both indoor and outdoor decorations. (Don’t fret if you don’t have bark, branches, and trees at your disposal – I have easy access options for you!) Birch and pine are my go-to trees that I find particularly fun to use for every day AND holiday decorations. In addition to having unique decor, the other major benefit of decorating with nature is that it is 100% environmentally friendly. There is no plastic, ceramic, metal, or any other material that will take up space in a landfill once I want to swap it out for something new. Wood, branches, and boughs are all 100% biodegradable.
The white textural bark on birch trees makes these logs perfect for rustic decorating. Compared to other types of trees, birch tend to have a shorter lifespan, making them relatively accessible. Living in Wisconsin, I have easy access to birch trees as they are often found fallen in the woods. However, city trees need regular trimming…perfect time to snatch them for decorating purposes!
Let’s get to the pictorial ideas. These are meant to give you ideas. Be sure to add your personal touch based on the materials you have and your unique decorative style.
Bringing the Outdoors In
Welcome your guests with this easy-to-make birch log candle holder on your porch. This “yule tide” log has multiple uses and is completely unique. To create the candle holes, my husband used a hole saw to make the hole cut, and then chipped out the circular hole. Select a candle color that is appropriate for the season: orange for fall, red or green for Christmas, etc. I inserted a glass votive holder into the hole to hold the candle. Any size candle can be used, just be sure to have an appropriate candle holder to prevent accidental fires. These logs have many uses, such as:
- A table centerpiece: wow your guests with this table centerpiece. It can be stacked (as pictured) with two logs as a base, or placed solo on a low metal bowl or plate.
- Fireplace inset: Place in your log(s) on your fireplace grate. Light the candles for every day use, as well as when you have visitors and don’t want to tend to a fire.
- Porch decor: place them either on the ground or on something that gives height (such as a chair or crate). Light the candles before guests arrive so they have a warm welcome to your home.
Here’s a similar alternative that uses lights wrapped around the logs rather than candles:
Logs can also have candle holes cut on the vertical (round) end. Again, the hole saw can be used to ease the task of creating the hole. However, you may also simply place a candle in a candle holder on top of the log.
These birch vases were made by removing the birch bark, and simply hot gluing it to a recycled tin can. As an alternative, use twine or colorful raffia to hold the bark to the container. Place flowers, pine boughs or even twigs in the containers. A smaller container would make a decorative pencil holder. These birch bark containers are perfect for mantels, shelves, dinner table centerpieces or anywhere! Simple, attractive, and using a recycled container makes this project even more eco-friendly!
Cut birch bark and glue onto heavy paper or thin wood to create decorations such as trees, stars, or any shapes. Shapes can be added to enhance a holiday figurine collection (such as santas or snowmen), as hanging window decor, or as wedding table-top decorations.
This table centerpiece is an example to a few traditional holiday decorations added to pine bough to create a one-of-a-kind centerpiece:
This centerpiece uses scrap trim strips to create the rectangular box, with pine cones and birch log pieces as candle holders:
Porch & Outdoor Decorations Using Natural Elements
The possibilities are endless!
Purchase Natural Decorating Items
I use fallen trees for decoration purposes, giving the tree, branches, and bark a second life. You will harm a living tree by taking off its bark. Find trees that have died or knocked down from a storm. Other types of logs can be used, each will offer a different look and texture. Experiment, but please don’t harm a living tree!
More Ideas for Decorating with Nature
For more ideas, visit my Decorating with Nature board on Pinterest and discover the joy of decorating with nature! You may also enjoy reading my other “Home Sweet Home” articles. Please share your ideas and thoughts in a comment below.