How To Make A Bee Skep

July 22, 2019

Dollar Tree rope bee skep faux flowers fern wreath

I've been in love with bee skeps for as long as I can remember. But store bought bee skeps are not cheap. So I did a little research on DIY bee skeps and came up with my own version that you can make for less.

The word skep derives from the old Norse term "skeppa" which means basket. Used for almost 2,000 years, skeps were created by man to house bees. They were, many times, some form of basket placed upside down. Most U.S. states outlawed skeps around 1998 since the bees can not be inspected for parasites and disease like they can in a modern-day man-made bee hive. But that's okay because DIY bee skeps make a wonderful addition to many types of home decor -- farmhouse being one of them. They're also used as garden accents as well as porch and patio decor.          

After reviewing many blog tutorials and Youtube videos, I've come up with my own version of what I believe is a simple and inexpensive way to create your own bee skep. The supplies are minimal and the star of the show is from -- you guessed it -- The Dollar Tree.


glue gun sticks scissors stainless bowl Dollar Tree rope



Supplies For Making Your Own Bee Skep

1. Decorative nautical rope from Dollar Tree (I used 2 full 13-foot packages plus another 8 1/2 feet from the third package)

2. glue gun and glue sticks (This project takes TONS of glue -- I used 4 glue sticks!)

3. skep mold -- optional (I used a Kitchen-Aid mixer stainless steel bowl)

4. scissors

5. black Sharpie marker OR black acrylic paint and paintbrush OR black paint pen 

6. masking tape (optional) -- use tape to create a practice skep so that you can figure out how much rope you'll need depending on your mold (or lack thereof); just wrap rope around the bowl and secure with masking tape on the outside of the rope as you go along to hold it all in place long enough to get an idea of what your finished product will look like, how much rope you'll need, etc.   




How To Make A Bee Skep



rope


1. Unless you're doing a practice run first (see #6 under Supplies), begin by placing the bowl (or whatever you're using as a mold) upside down. Then start wrapping your first package of rope around what is now the the bottom of your upside down mold, encircling the bowl and hot gluing it together as you go along. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GLUE THE ROPE TO THE MOLD. To be honest, I found it pretty difficult to steer clear of the bowl as far as the glue was concerned. I may have over-compensated out of fear and placed the glue so much toward the outside of the rope that it became more visible on the finished skep than I would have liked. Luckily the glue is clear so I'll get over it.

2. Once the first package of rope is used up you'll need to add the second package of rope into the mix. Just hot glue the beginning piece of the new rope flush up against the rope where you left off and continue your way around the mold as in step #1.


DIY bee skep Dollar Tree rope



3. Depending on the mold you're using, this part might vary, but generally it should go about the same no matter the mold design. Once you reach the top of the bowl you still need to continue wrapping the rope even higher to achieve the closed top of the bee skep. To do this you'll have to make each successive circle of rope slightly smaller than the one beneath it in order to ultimately end up with the somewhat conical shape of a natural bee skep.


(NOTE: While some skeps are completely rounded at the top, and others are more flat at the top, I've also come across vintage skeps like the ones above that are somewhat pointed at the top. That's how mine turned out. Honestly, I think it's more natural-looking. But really, it's all subjective, so don't worry if yours doesn't happen to turn out looking exactly like the ones you saw on Pinterest.) 


4. Stop gluing when the top is almost closed shut, leaving a small opening for a "handle" to be inserted. Measure out a few inches, or whatever length you think you need, for the handle and cut the rope at that point. 

bee skep rope loop

5. Cover the end of the rope in hot glue and fold it over and down into the top of the skep, gluing it inside. While it will look like it's a loop you can use as a handle for picking up the skep, its really for decorative purposes only.         

glue gun rope

6. Now all you need is a small piece of rope to use for the faux opening. 

circle rope glue gune


7. Make it into a closed circle with hot glue.




8. Test out where you'd like to place it.




9. Then glue it in place.



10. Lastly, you will need to fill in the opening with either Sharpie, acrylic paint or a paint pen -- your preference. Black is the color of choice so that that the opening will have dimension and depth and look realistic.  


black Sharpie bee skep opening

I chose to use a Sharpie pen but I felt like the look left something to be desired. If I did it again I might use acrylic paint instead. It was hard to get the Sharpie to fully cover the remnants of hot glue still lurking behind on the rope. At this point you can take your skep off of your mold. As long as they're not glued to each other it should not be a problem to wiggle the bowl out of the skep. Mine slid out, no problem.

rope bee skep flowers fern wreath mirrors

Then decorate your skep however you see fit. I chose faux flowers and a faux fern wreath to spruce things up. 

Dollar Tree rope bee skep faux flowers fern wreath

Vignettes are always fun to put together. I placed mine on a galvanized cake stand for display purposes. And I love how it looks.


I can see this DIY farmhouse decor creation hanging around my home for a good while. I might even decorate it for the seasons. So better stay tuned for "Bee Skep: Fall-Inspired."


So what do you think ? Considering it cost me all of $3.00 in rope, and supplies I already had, I'm pretty happy with it! You can decorate it with whatever you'd like and make it your own.

Well, that's it until next time, friends! 
I hope I've inspired you in some way
and that you've enjoyed reading about 
How To Make A Bee Skep.

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diy bee skep

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Leave a Comment!

My thrift store addiction said...

What a clever DIY, and I love how it turned out! As usual, we are on the same page--I have a bee-themed project in the works for an upcoming post. ;)

Debra@CommonGround said...

wow what a fun DIY! so creative, you did a great job!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I love this project! I just bought some of the rope, too...I wanted to try making one, too...thanks for the hints!

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