Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bee Skep Tutorial

Okay, I'm feeling a little less stress today. I've gotten a couple more outside projects done today, so I'm confident that they'll all be done by this weekend! Yeah!!

I mentioned before that I made a primitive bee skep this past Sunday. I think it turned out pretty well and I'd like to share it with you. I came across this "craft recipe" on Primitive Blessings' website. There weren't any pictures, so I have nothing to compare it with. I was a little nervous at first, but my hubby has his own concrete business and has worked with concrete for a little over 30 years, so having him by my side to help, lessened the fear.

The recipe called for concrete mix, but my husband said that mortar mix would work better. I didn't ask why, I just trusted his judgement.

Okay, so here we go. . . .

Materials needed:
rubber/plastic gloves
quickrete mortar mix
peat moss
straw or hay, cut up
Molds - flower pots, sand pails, plastic cups, road cones

This is a little messy so you'll probably want to do this outside or in a garage. I laid a plastic table cloth over a 2' x 4' piece of plywood; that way I could move it if I had to.

Decide what you want to use as a mold. I listed some examples above. I used a 10" plastic flower pot. If you want to reuse your mold, coat it with vegetable oil or spray with Pam. My hubby suggested covering the pot with a plastic shopping bag which worked out great. It peeled right off. If you don't care about saving the mold, don't use anything and leave the bee skep on the mold.

How much mortar mix and water you'll need depends on how big and how many bee skeps you want to make. For my 10" flower pot, I used 1/2 bag of the mortar mix and 3/4 of a gallon milk jug of water. You'll want the mortar to be "tight", as my hubby calls it. In other words, thick like cookie dough. If the mortar's loose, it'll be harder to shape and take longer to dry.

Once the mortar is mixed, add some peat moss and straw pieces. Use these sparingly. Hubby says if too much foreign additives are mixed in, the strength of the mortar will weaken, causing it to crumble :( I only used a cup or two of the peat moss and a couple of handfuls of straw.

Once all that's mixed in, start taking handfuls of mortar and press onto your mold; blending the seams together.

When the mold is completely covered, smooth out any bumps and form the rings. I started at the top and worked my way down. Use a stick or spoon (I used my fingers) to scoop out a hole for the opening.

After I was done with that, I took peat moss and rubbed all over it. Leave it set for a day or two, depending on weather conditions, before taking it off the mold. Cooler weather slows the drying time. I made mine on Sunday when the weather was cold and rainy and was able to remove the mold on Tuesday.

Most of the peat moss stayed on, but I had a couple of bare spots. After it was off the mold, I brushed on some exterior wood glue and then patted on some peat moss. I don't know how it'll hold up in the rain. I think I'm going to spray it with concrete sealer and see if that seals in the peat moss. If not, I'll be gluing and patting after each rainfall!!

Overall, I think it looks kind of neat. It's different, which i like, and it was easier to make than I thought it would be. So if anyone wants to make one, I say "Go for it! You can do it!" LOL

I hope my directions are easy to follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

For my next post, I'll have a tutorial to make a bench.


  1. Oh Kris that came out great...I so want to try one of these and your directions are clear and
    it doesn't look that hard to do...thank you and your DH...thanks for sharing...
    Prim Blessings...

  2. VERY NEAT and yours looks GREAT! How about if I come to your house, bring lunch and we make one together : )

    I will definitely have to try this... Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Great that your hubby helped too! Sounds like a nice guy. Gotta love husbands that kinda take an interest in what ya do.

    Have a great sunny Friday!!


  3. Oh...I am definately going to try this!
    I have admired these for years...but have never been able to find any!
    Now I can make by own!
    Yeah! Thank you...Thank you!
    Have a great weekend!

  4. This is really NEAT! I tried some hypertufa last year... but this looks so much better!! :)

  5. This is great!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  6. that looks great I will try that for sure thank you for a great tut it was well done *Ü*

  7. I love your beeskep! It looks great and I love the color yours looks darker than most of the ones I have seen done this way. I need to try this because I can not find any of these or the pumpkins in any local shops.

  8. Hi! This is my first time on your website and its great! You did a great job on the bee skep! It looks really neat! I had such a HARD TIME finding bee skeps for YEARS & YEARS BUT.... I recently found some and am selling them on my auctiva and vendio stores and on ebay. I'm selling them for much cheaper than the normal cost and I only have a limited amount so if any one is interested you can contact me at and I can send you pictures and prices. I even have a really neat 3 piece set! They are made of a different type of branch than I've seen used before, it looks like it may be some kind of willow branch. I know the aggravation of trying to find bee skep so that is why I am offering these while I'm here! Thanks again for the GREAT tutorial! Blessings to you and yours! sincerely, jennifer

  9. Love it...thanks for sharing !!!
    Hugs, Ang

  10. Thanks!!!!! Going to Home Depot now and make me some.......your look GREAT!

  11. What a great project! I just love them, I hope to be able to make a couple for the yard this year. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!! :)


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