Baskets are very useful devices that help to facilitate the moving of items. Making a bark basket is a fairly simple thing.
One of the best barks for basket making is tulip poplar, although many other barks are quite effective as well. The tree should be harvested in the early spring, preferably from the edge of a forest where the tree grew straight, tall, and quickly. This also means that the bark will be thinner and easier to work with. This is not required, and any tulip popular will do. It is just preferable this way.
Once the tree is chopped down and the branches stripped the bark must be used immediately. Select a section of bark relatively free of knots that will be large enough to make a basket for your purposes. Using a knife, cut around the trunk, through the bark on both sides of the selected region. Then cut straight along the trunk from one side of the section to the other, making sure to be away from any knots.
The next step is stripping the bark from the trunk. For this you must take care not to do several things. First, you have to be careful not to break the bark. Second, you have to be careful not to break your hand. The inner bark of tulip popular has sharp spines on it that are more than capable of cutting through human flesh. Some people recommend using a tool to assist you in this step. Generally a good technique is to remove half the bark from one direction, and then to turn around and start from the other side.
Now that the bark is removed you have to flatten it out. This must be done carefully as it is quite easy to break the bark at this stage. It takes pressure, care, and time to do this properly. As you do it more and more often you will become increasingly adept at this. If you accidentally make a minor break in the bark, which you are sure to do at first, a decent basket can still be made from it. However, if there are too many breaks the bark is wasted.
Once the bark is sufficiently flat (it does not and will not be completely flat) it is time to form our basket. From the middle of the bark, on the outside, draw a football shape from one edge to the other. This will be the bottom of the basket. There will be two lines in the middle of the piece of bark that meet on either edge of the bark but separate in a gentle curve in the middle. The place marked should be on the outer bark. Once you have lines, take your knife and score through the first few layers of bark, but do not go all the way through. If you did this right you should now be able to fold the pieces and form your basket.
Now, to finish your basket, you have to bind the pieces together using string. The easiest way to do this is to use a leather hole punch along the edges of the basket and to lace up your basket like you would your shoes. You can also add a strip of bark around the top of your basket for added strength, or along the seams to act like a handle. If you broke the basket before now you can remedy the situation by punching holes on either side of the break and lacing those up as well. If you want to be more authentic and use a awl, you can. But it is more difficult to make the holes that way.
If you needed to fix a break in the basket, put a plastic bag in the finished product and fill it with packed wet sand. The sand will keep the broken edges (which will tend to want to curve on their own) in line with the basket, improving the end product.
Once your basket dries it will remarkably hard and strong. The drying process takes a few days to finish, after which your basket could serve you for years. Enjoy.