The Ultimate Natural Wallcovering: Reclaimed Paper Bark

Bark saved from felled trees at the University of California at Berkeley makes a beautiful natural wallcovering in one woman's home.


| November/December 2002


A few years ago, a number of mature trees were felled on the University of California at Berkeley campus because they were shading greenhouses used by the College of Natural Resources. The trees were truly magnificent—at least two feet in diameter with a beautiful bark that literally fell off in sheathes as the trees hit the ground.

As several students protested the demise of such beautiful trees, the bark blew around the sidewalk and streets, and I gathered as much as I could. One of my husband’s students also picked up a piece, thinking of me. So it seems this bark found me.

I am told these were a variety of “paperbark” tree (genus Melaleuca). The bark is supple and papery with beautiful color striations ranging from honey yellows to cinnamon tones. The texture ranges from a fine tissue-like paper, which peels off in layers similar to mica, to more calloused pieces that are stiffer and sport knots. I knew I would make use of this bark—but how?

The main floor of our house is one story above ground level, and we wanted to enhance the feeling of continuity between the interior and our small, well-planted garden. We had recently replaced a window with a sliding glass door and a Barcelona-style balcony. Putting this bark on that wall became an obvious choice.



To attach the bark, I generously trowelled wallpaper paste onto the wall. I then applied the bark, laid a piece of brown paper over it, and rubbed and pressed until the bark flattened and stuck to the wall. I had to keep a number of straight pins on hand to pin corners that resisted lying flat or heavier pieces that tended to slide a bit before the paste dried.

I believe this procedure would also work for more leathery or stiffer bark varieties, though you would have to experiment with pastes and drying times. You may want to soak thin but stiffer barks such as birch or eucalyptus in water overnight before applying.








mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265