One of the highlights of my Michaels Makers Santa’s Cabin in the Woods Christmas Dream Tree were the faux birch logs. Real birch logs are so beautiful and bring a bit of the great outdoors into your cozy home. However, they can be hard to find or expensive. I also wanted to place some birch logs in the tree. And of course, the real logs would have been too heavy. This tutorial is a great alternative to keep your budget in tact and get creative in how you can repurpose items from around your house. Who knew you could make faux birch logs using pool noodles?! Some of our birch logs are made out of foam pipe insulation – much easier to get year round.
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Birch Log Supplies
- pool noodle or plumbing insulation foam tube
- roll of brown kraft wrapping paper or brown paper bag
- white tissue paper
- white, brown, grey, and black craft paint
- tacky glue
- foam paint brush and thin paint brush
- Buffalo Snow iridescent flakes
- optional: spray snow from Michaels
Step 1: This first step depends on how long you want your birch logs. Since I’m using mine for Christmas decor and put them both into bundles and on my Christmas tree, I wanted mine to be about 2 feet tall. To get my birch logs to be about 2 feet each, I used scissors to cut the pool noodle in half equally. For the plumbing insulation foam tube, I cut it into thirds.
Step 2: This picture shows the foam plumbing insulation. We used both the pool noodles and this. First, wrap the craft paper around the pool noodle to measure how much paper you will need. Cut at the proper width, making sure that the whole noodle is covered. Rip the paper into strips horizontally. Crumple the strips into wads so that the paper will be wrinkled. Then, paint the pool noodle with the tacky glue. Arrange the paper on the noodle, covering the whole thing. It is okay to have lumps and wrinkles, they make it look more realistic!
This is what the birch logs should look like once the paper is all glued on and dried.
Tip: In order to finish the edges, cover with paper and outline a circle. Cut the circle out and glue it on the same way that you glued on the rest of the paper.
Step 3: Take a sheet of tissue paper and rip it into strips. Crumple the strips up and make them into little wads. Glue the wads on, place them spread out on the log.
This is what the wads of tissue paper look like up close.
Step 4: Paint the entire birch log with white craft paint, including the tissue paper wads. It is okay if the tissue paper wads do not get covered completely. Let it dry.
Step 5: Once the white paint has dried, make a grey wash by mixing grey craft paint and water. I used about a tablespoon of paint at a ratio of 1 part paint to 4 parts water. This combination may vary, just make sure that it isn’t too dark. Paint the entire log, including the tissue paper wads. *Save the remaining grey wash! You will use the rest later.
Step 6: Once the grey wash has dried, make a beige wash with the same ratio. Make sure that it is also not too dark. Add water if it seems too dark. Paint the entire log.
Step 7: After the beige wash has dried, use the remaining grey wash and add a few drops of black craft paint. You don’t want it to be too dark, but you do want it to be dark enough to show contrast. I added about 5 or 6 drops of paint. Paint stripes along the log to give it the birch wood effect.
Step 8: Using the dark wash, paint the tissue paper wads. They will absorb the moisture and crumple up, to create the knotted birch bark effect. You may have to do a few coats of this wash to get it dark enough.
Step 9: Once your birch logs are completely dry, paint glue on random spots on the log. Press buffalo snow onto these spots to give the logs more texture. If you are going to use spray snow to add more texture, do this before you put the buffalo snow on.
The great thing about this faux birch log technique is that it is very versatile! I did it on wooden dowels, as pictured above. I also made it on an 8 inch concrete tube form to put over my Christmas tree stand to look like the trunk of a tree, as shown in the first picture of this post.
I wanted to add extra height to my Christmas tree, so I attached a metal rod to the Christmas tree pole to extend it, and then put the faux birch log tube over the extension. However, because this was not the most sturdy extension, I also have a hook in my wall and wrapped wire around my Christmas tree to anchor it. I love how this turned out!
I am so excited to try this faux birch log look in many different ways!
This faux birch log look is so easy to achieve and a cheaper and more functional alternative to buying the real deal. I hope this fabulous tutorial will complete your holiday decor!
Make sure to check out…
The actual Santa’s Cabin In The Woods Tree
How to create Designer Ribbon Using a Glue Gun
And for those who want to make Elf Spaghetti