Beekeepers and bee-lovers enjoy crafting projects that are related to our honey bees. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a mini beehive skep craft to decorate your home or garden. Lots of fun for a seasoned crafter or a beginner, your tiny beehive craft will bring a bit of bee magic to your living space. Of course, no real bees will move in – this is only a small replica of the larger hives used by a colony.
Use them inside for a long lasting display, or spray your mini skeps with acrylic sealer to last a season in your bee friendly garden. This is only one of many fun bee crafts you can enjoy during the off season.
Crafting Miniature Beehives – Mini Skeps
Let’s take just a moment to understand the term “bee skep“. This traditional shape was used for the earliest beehives that were managed by beekeepers.
In some regions of the world, skeps were made of mud or clay. However, coils of grass or straw was most commonly used in Europe.
Once bees arrived in the New World, beekeepers did not have the skilled craftsmen needed to create skeps of straw. Then, beekeeping in wooden hives became more popular.
However, they remain a beautiful reminder of mankind’s long relationship with the honey bee. By creating your own mini display skep, you are paying homage to the tradition of beekeeping dating back centuries.
These instructions outline the steps for one small beehive craft skep. But, the beauty of this project is that you can vary the size of the base pot and the diameter of the cord. This allows you to use the same process to create a large decorative skep if you wish.
- 1/4″ jute cord
- small plastic pots
- glue gun and sticks
- black pen
Choose a cord with a size diameter that meets the overall size of your pot or form. In general, use a smaller cord for a small size skep. If you are making a larger project, a larger diameter cord (medium size) will look better and be less tedious.
Plastic Pot or Planter Form
The size of the pot to form your base is not critical. There is no need to buy an expensive container – our jute and glue will hold everything together.
It is best to choose a pot that has a slightly flared rim and overall oval shape. This helps you achieve the rounded shape of the original straw skep hives used by beekeepers.
If you only want to make a few, pick up a couple at dollar store. There is no need to spend a lot for the pot that we are going to be covering up with cord.
Glue Gun and Sticks
Regular craft glue and a simple hot glue gun works well for this project. Do not try to use Elmer’s paper glue or similar. It might work but it will be a mess.
Hot glue is must easier to work with as it cools and begins to adhere quickly. Any size glue gun will work.
Adding details to your mini beehive can be as simple or complex as you wish. A black paint pen or marker can be used to add details if desired. Many folks use the marker to color in the “simulated” opening so it looks like a door.
You may also buy some tiny plastic bees to surround your mini beehive craft or make some tiny pipe cleaner bees.
1. Drill a small hole in the bottom of your pot. Insert the cord and form a knot so the cord is coming out of the pot with the knot inside. Glue in place. This is important because the anchor helps you are you move down the pot.
Remember, we are now working with the pot upside down. The cord starts at the bottom of the pot which will be the top of the skep.
2. Continue down the side of the container – gluing as you go and giving it time to cool and adhere. At the bottom, a slight overlap helps secure the end.
3. Cut a small piece of jute cord to simulate an entrance. A small circle of balanced size is good. Use your glue to adhere – add a loop at the top if you wish.
4. Using a black marker or pen, coloring in the entrance gives the impression of an opening. This adds realism to the project.
With just a bit of practice, this is a rather easy craft project. Here are a few tips that will help make it even easier.
Cord Size– Larger sized cord on bigger pots is a good idea. However, if you use cord that is very large, you will not be able to make many rounds on the pot and it will not look as nice. Cheap cord from the dollar tree works just fine.
Go Slow – Don’t rush the project. You can only go as fast as your glue gun allows. If you get in too big a hurry, the glue will not cool enough to hold the cord in place.
More than just a project for bored beekeepers (like me) during the off season, bee crafts are a lot of fun. They can provide an engaging way to talk to others about the importance of bees.
Some of my favorites are my holiday DIY bee gnomes. Make them in various sizes as part of a honey bee themed decoration.
For a great Fall project, involve the children in collecting colorful Fall leaves. You can preserve Fall leaves by dipping them in beeswax. They will last for weeks.
Your miniature beehive craft is more than just a craft project. It is a visual representation of our connection to nature and the tradition of beekeeping. Embrace the project, celebrate bees and let your mini bee skep shine as a representation of your appreciation for these tiny pollinators.
Beehive Craft Skep Tutorial
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- 1 roll Jute Cord 1/4″ 50 feet
- 2 pieces small plastic flower pots in oval shape
- 4 pieces hot glue sticks
- 1 piece Paint Pen Black
- Make a hole in bottom of pot:Punch a small hole in the bottom of one of your plastic pots. This can be done with a drill bit, scissors or exacto knife – depending on the thickness of the pot.The hole should be near the same size as the jute cord you plan to use for the project.
- Anchor cord:Insert one end of the jute cord (I’m using ¼” diameter) into the hole in the bottom of the pot. Have about 3” of excess inside the pot. .Use a hot glue glue to apply a generous amount of glue to around the hole with the jute. Let it cool for a few minutes.
- Wrap pot in jute:Continue winding the jute cord around the surface of the pot, adding glue as you go to attach the cord to the pot and the previous strand.
- Finish to the bottom (which in normal use would be the top of the pot) of the flower pot and glue the end down. Be sure to cut the cord and glue the end tightly against the previous row.
- Create bee skep door circle. Measure and cut a piece of jute 5 inches long. Shape it into a circle and glue in place to the front of the bee skep.
- Create handle at top of skep. Skeps often have a loop at the top to make the easy to move. Cut a 3” piece of jute and form a loop to serve as a handle. Glue this to the top of the bee skep craft.
- Color in door opening. Use a black paint marker to color the cord inside the circle black. This simulates the opening to the skep.
- Trim off frizzes. Use scissors to snip off any excess strands of jute that may be sticking out and you are done!