How to make 'Ayahuasca' amulets using Banisteriopsis vines

How to Make ‘Ayahuasca’ Amulets with Banisteriopsis Vines

Ever wondered how to make ‘Ayahuasca’ vine amulets? If so, you’re in luck – read this helpful tutorial guide if you want to learn more…

A few years ago now, we were given a couple of beautiful varnished pieces of Banisteriopsis vine by a very close friend. Since then, we’ve been meaning to have a go at making our own ‘Ayahuasca’ amulets, but have never seemed to find the time to do so… Luckily, our recent spell of poor luck caused us to catch up on a few of our (many) neglected meatspace projects, including obtaining some seriously weighty chunks of Banisteriopsis caapi ‘Cielo’ vine and some (comparatively slender) fantastic Banisteriopsis muricata vine for good measure!

This project is fairly simple in its execution, but we thought it might be useful to write this overview to inspire you if needed; essentially, get vine, cut vine, sand vine, varnish vine. Once you’ve prepared your amulets, the really fun part is getting creative with them! For example, we’ve seen Banisteriopsis vine chests, dreamcatchers, pendants and wall hangings… what will you make with yours?


A side-by-side comparison of both unfinished and finished Banisteriopsis muricata


How to Make ‘Ayahuasca’ Amulets

Materials:

  • Clamp(s)
  • Dried Banisteriopsis vine
  • Newspaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Saw (we use an electric jigsaw and safety goggles)
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge (or cloth)
  • Water
  • Wood varnish
  • Workbench (or similar sturdy table)

Method:

  1. Obtain some of your favourite Banisteriopsis vine (we prefer Banisteriopsis caapi and Banisteriopsis muricata) and select a suitable section from which to make your slice. Of course, you can also adapt the techniques described here for any species of vine (or tree, etc.) that you like. For instance, we’re aching to add a nice piece of Tynanthus panurensis (‘Clavohuasca’) to our collection!
  2. Carefully clamp the vine to your workbench – make sure it’s tightly attached! You may wish to use a few pieces of cloth or tissue to minimise the risk of damage to the vine’s outer bark too.
  3. Whether using a hand or powered saw to slice up the vine, you’ll first need to decide how thick you want the piece to be. Choose where you’re going to make your cut and then slice through the wood as smoothly and as evenly as possible.
  4. The next step is to attempt to even up any wonky angles, remove any marked scratches or other unwanted imperfections, etc. We find a fine sandpaper, between 180 and 220 Grit, to be perfect for this purpose.
  5. To get the piece ready to varnish, take a very fine sandpaper (between 320 and 400 Grit) and lightly sand the cross-sections to your desired finish.
  6. Lightly dampen your sponge and use it to clean away any dust or debris from the vine’s surface. You should start to see the amazing patterns much more clearly now!
  7. Once it’s completely clean, place the piece of vine somewhere warm and sunny for at least twenty-four hours. Make sure it’s completely dry before moving on to the sealing steps.
  8. Take the sanded, cleaned and dried vine and, holding it between clean fingers, evenly apply a thin layer of varnish around the outer edge (bark). Once you’ve done this, carefully place the bark on a piece of newspaper to dry – for at least the time stated on the packaging of your particular varnish.
  9. When a suitable time has elapsed and the vine’s bark is totally dry, pick it up by the outer (now varnished) bark and apply varnish to one of its faces. Once finished, set it aside to dry.
  10. Once the first vine surface has dried, varnish the remaining surface and then place it somewhere to dry. Apply further coats of varnish to taste.
  11. Congratulations, now you know how to make an ‘Ayahuasca’ amulet!
  12. (Optional:) If you’re intending to mount your amulet on a wall or stand, clamp it and then drill a small hole in the side where you wish to attach it. To avoid accidentally cracking the slice, we recommend never drilling deeper than half of the vine’s total thickness.
  13. (Optional:) If your project requires the stringing together of several slices of vine (for example, when making a dreamcatcher or mobile), you have two obvious options. The first – perhaps less intuitive – choice is to (carefully!) drill a narrow hole all the way through the diameter of the vine, through which a string, cord or wire can then be threaded. The second – faster and, in our opinion, much easier – solution is to drill a suitable hole a few millimetres deep into the wood, into which a small metal loop or ring can then be screwed, through which the cord, etc., can be threaded.

We hope you enjoy reading this guide and it inspires you to find a use (or three) for the methods we shared! Check out the rest of our website for further interesting information.