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Minnesota Crafts: Slicing Black Walnuts for Creative Uses


Black Walnut Slices

Invariable, when I go out of my driveway, I usually have a couple slices tucked in my purse, or in my pocket. The going joke around my family is that it doesn't take mom long to start showing people her nuts.

Kids. God love them, right?

Yes. I do start conversations in dark, lonely alleys with perfect strangers about my nut slices.

Variations of Same

As I recall, my parents sliced walnuts for crafts as well. In one period of time, we had a different sort of tree in our yard, a butternut tree, and that produced a nice pattern as well.

Sticky, however. The butternuts are very, very sticky. In comparison to black walnuts that stain your hands as you pick them up and deal with them, butternuts have a glue-like outside that makes them hard to deal with, but the inside shell is pretty interesting.


My latest venture has been fine tuning what pattern I see when I slice the black walnut. The normal, so to speak, pattern is the cross shape. This is the one most commonly seen and is used for creating baskets. The cross shape makes it easier to attach the walnut to the pine needle coils. Like a button.

Like watching clouds, the walnuts have unusual patterns, different every time you slice them randomly. There is a bird shape, almost like an eagle when it is sliced one direction. A spatter of random circles when sliced from yet another direction. A long, thin pattern from another.

I don't get my nuts sliced very fast, since I stop and examine what the pattern looks like after every cut. Nope. It's not a fast process.


I have started listing my nut slices on ebay, under the name firstcookbooklady. It's nice when everything I do somewhat matches and correlates.

Ebay decides what my price should be, so my prices seem somewhat high at the moment, but, at some point, my method should level out.


As of today, I have the capacity to slice walnuts 3/8 inch thick, 1/4 inch thick, 1/8 inch thick and the thickness of a copper penny.

My slicing ventures are not always successful. Sometimes you get a nut that perhaps got hit by the lawnmower, so when you try to slice it, it splits into smaller pieces. I have a building that I affectionately refer to as the Nuthouse, me being the nut, that I use to slice the nuts. Sometimes, my slices go airborne and sometimes I have problems locating the finished slices.

I also seem to have a small, red squirrel that breaks in and has a free for all with my nuts that are in storage. The most current issue was the plastic bucket that seemed okay from one direction, but when I picked it up, was suspiciously lightweight. Well, as I picked it up, I became aware that the little monster had chewed a long hole down the side and had helped himself to the contents.

miscellaneous patterns

miscellaneous patterns

multiple cuts

multiple cuts

cool conversation starter

cool conversation starter

glued together to make flower

glued together to make flower

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black walnut nut meats

black walnut nut meats


Char Milbrett (author) from Minnesota on May 31, 2018:

Peachy, thanks for your comment. I'm fortunate to have many black walnut trees growing in my yard. Every year, there is yet another tree that escapes the lawn mower, especially in the fence line. Walnuts are so versatile. From the first collection of small nuts for nocino, to the making of walnut stain, to the slicing of nuts for use in crafts...

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 30, 2018:

I love walnuts but those sold here are already open, shelled and dried up. Cannot see the real raw walnuts

Char Milbrett (author) from Minnesota on May 04, 2018:

Shasta Matova, thanks for your comment. My daughter glued walnut slices onto a vase and alternated with tiny, purple pebbles. I glued mine into a round ball for hanging on a tree or year round.

Char Milbrett (author) from Minnesota on May 04, 2018:

Thanks for your comment, Larry Rankin!

Char Milbrett (author) from Minnesota on May 04, 2018:

Galleryofgrace, thank you for your comment. You have given me food for thought. You've mentioned a tabletop filled with slices, like the bar tops that are covered with pennies, right? That would be quite beautiful, since once you put clear on them, they darken up a bit and take on certain rusty tones. Maybe someday, you and I will work together on a few projects. Have a wonderful day!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on May 03, 2018:

Very cool ideas:-)

Gracie L Sprouse from Virginia on May 03, 2018:

Beautiful work. Stunning idea. I can only imagine what a table top would look like completely filled with these pieces. I have a tabletop that I created with the left over pieces from a friend who was doing scroll work.

Very entertaining writing also.

Shasta Matova from USA on May 03, 2018:

This is really interesting. Can you share some tools and techniques you have learned about how you sliced them? Also what do you do with them after you slice them?

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