If you’re like me then you’re already planning your summer decor..even if it’s only February. Flowers, gardens and nature are my absolute favorite themes for decorating! I wanted to incorporate some “honey bee theme” to go along with my floral decor in my house and porches, so what better than adding some jute hives and skeps to bring some unique flare.
I had bought some supplies to make my own bee skep back in the late summer but of course, didn’t get around to finally making my skeps until being cooped up for the winter. The skeps ended up being rather easy and so affordable to make! It was definitely a fun project to help beat some winter blues.
- Manila or Jute rope ( I used Everbilt Manila Rope from Home Depot. 3/8 in x 50 ft for the skep pictured) – $8.21 per spool. You will need 2.
- Glue Gun
- Glue Sticks (You will need roughly 10 for one big skep) – A bag of 30 at Walmart cost $3.97
- Black paint. Any kind will work.
- Foam Board (I bought a small piece at Walmart for $1.77)
- KitchenAid 4.5 Quart Mixing Bowl (If you do not have one of these bowls I would suggest borrowing one from someone. This project didn’t do any damage to mine so tell your friend or relative they can rest easy loaning it to you.)
Let’s get started!
Trace out a circle on your foam board for the bottom of your skep and cut it out.
Next, cut a whole in the center of your circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be big enough to fit your finger through. This will be the sturdy base for your skep. Set it aside until later.
Fire up that glue gun and start wrapping the rope around the bottom of the bowl.
Once your rope is all around add some glue to the top of the end of rope and attach your pieces together. Give the rope a good press and continue gluing around the bottom piece and pressing down your new rope tightly to help eliminate slight gaps from forming.
You might move a little slow at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll start moving faster as you get into a consistent groove of gluing, wrapping and pressing. Once you start getting closer to the top, make sure you are gluing more inward on the rope towards the bowl and tucking the rope in to follow tightly along the curvature of the bowl so you get a nice rounded shape.
Once you’re to the top of the bowl, follow your bowl shape and eventually gluing and spiraling the rope to form your flat top. Leave yourself a little hole and cut the rope to the desired loop size to finish the top. Stick the cut rope in the hole and give it some extra glue to hold it in place. Once you cut the rope you can use the little bit that’s left of the spool to start the bottom. Just glue and attach to the cut end that you started with. The jute blends in nicely and will not stand out. You will eventually need to start using your second pack of rope to complete the skep.
Disclaimer! These loops will NOT be strong enough to hang by themselves and hold the weight of the skep by glue alone. Save yourself a sad moment by not hanging them and risking your skep to tear.
Remove the bowl. Begin to pull the skep off gently to loosen any glue stuck between it and the bowl. You can give it a slight tug just don’t be too rough. With a few tugs and twists it should slide right off.
Time to make the bottom. Grab your piece of foam board and insert it into the bottom of your skep between the rope securely. You will probably have to cut in down a little on the edges to get it to go in. Sticking your finger into the whole to maneuver it in will help you a lot! Don’t cut too much off the edges though. It needs to fit in snug and tight. If its loose you will need to cut a new one.
Begin gluing and spiraling the rope to create a flat bottom like on top. As long as the foam finger hole is exposed you can still adjust the foam while you work your way inward. Once you start gluing the rope the foam may get pushed in a little so just keep pulling it out and adjusting it back into place as you go. I suggest gluing parts of the rope directly to the foam as you go to make sure your base stays in place better for the final product.
Keep gluing and spiraling until you’ve filled in your base.
Time to cut a piece of rope to your desired size to make your faux hole.
I glued the ends of the ring together first, let it harden and then glued the ring on directly to the skep. Once on, go ahead and paint in your “hole” with the black paint. you can also use a sharpie to do this part, which I didn’t try myself. I thought the paint would look darker and better.
You could cut out a real hole if you wanted but considering the jute is so tough to cut and I don’t want any actual bugs or bees inside of this, I decided to save myself a headache and paint it instead. Once displayed, you don’t even notice it’s not a real hole.
And there she is!! A big beautiful bee skep! I didn’t stop there of course. I went out the next day and began to experiment with other color and sizes of jute and ended up making a whole batch of skeps. The smaller ones I made without any bowl or base. Just free handed them and they turned out so cute just like the bigger ones.
Also, I do not recommend these being displayed outdoors and being exposed to the elements. Under a covered porch would be fine I’m sure but these are for decorative purposes only, so consider that while picking your spot for it.
I hope your skep turns out great and you enjoyed making it as much as I did. Now have fun with it and comment with any questions you may have about any part of the process. Happy crafting!