Hi y'all, Bama Here! Most folks may not think much about a bag of sticks, but I take one look and see the possibilities. Driftwood is pretty trendy right now and a down right hot commodity! Buying a prefabbed piece of driftwood art or even a mirror trimmed in the stuff is pretty spendy these days. Don't worry, if you don't live near the coast or have the time to walk the sandy shore, you can buy it. (I know that sounds like cheating, but sometimes you just gotta!) The easiest place to score some driftwood is online from wholesalers; I've even found some great pieces on Etsy before.
What makes driftwood art pieces so gorgeous is driftwood's mix of smooth and textured surfaces. The washed out grays, white, and beige tones add nice depth to any piece. If you're really wanting that perfect coastal piece for your home or office, roll up your sleeves, do-it-youselfers, and save your pockets some heartache. You got this!
You can apply these 5 steps to any shape you desire, the concept remains the same. For Ryan and Chelsea, I decided to make a seahorse to not only fit in with their coastal theme, but because the seahorse is currently their two-year-old son Gage's favorite toy. What is it you would like to make? Have fun with it! Come up with yet another creative way to use driftwood.
Step 1: Create a foundation
First things first! You will need to create a good foundation for your piece. Start with a piece of quarter inch plywood (any scrap piece of wood will do as long as it's sturdy and won't bend) to create the back of your piece. Keep in mind: the thicker the piece of wood you use for your backing, the heavier your finished piece will be and may require more heavy duty hanging hardware. Freehand your shape onto your piece of wood; this will give guidelines to follow when you get ready to cut out your shape. If you're not much of a free-hander, you can make yourself a template using tracing paper and a charcoal pencil. Find yourself a few picture to use as references and inspiration to get the wheels turning.
Step 2: Cut your foundation
Now that you're done sketching, use a jig saw to cut out your shape. Knock off all the excess wood fragments left from the jigsaw with some 150 grit sandpaper, and then smooth out all the edges with some 250 sandpaper. Take a dry cloth and wipe off all the access saw dust before painting.
Step 3: Paint your foundation piece
You will want to paint both sides of your backing with a gray taupe color, in order to mask any plywood peeking through the pieces of driftwood. (Take a piece of driftwood with you to the paint store to help guide your decision.) You shouldn't need more than a quart of paint, unless you're making a massive piece. Once dry, turn your backing over and attach the hardware you will be using to hang your piece. It will be more difficult to install this hardware if you wait till the last minute.
Step 4: Piece together your driftwood
Sort through your driftwood and start out with the straightest pieces first. By sorting them now, life will be so much easier as your project progresses. I like to lay them out smallest to large, with all the curvy and personality-filled pieces in a separate pile. You will want to add the ones that have the most personality toward your top layers. Note: I've found that you need three layers to achieve good coverage. Think of it like a giant jigsaw puzzle! Be sure to keep all your pieces going parallel, or at least in the same direction. Start from the center and work your way out.
The thickness of your driftwood will determine how long your brad nails will need to be. For instance, if your driftwood is 1/2 inch and backing is quarter inch plywood, you will need at least 1 inch brad nails. Don't worry if they go all the way through and poke out the other side! You can always take a pair of wire snips and clip the ends off later.
Step 5: Secure the driftwood
Once you're happy with the placement of your first layer, pull out your nail gun and get to shooting! Keep in mind that layering the driftwood is very important, as this will give your project depth and personality. (You can use a hot glue gun instead if you want, or if you simply don't own a nail gun. I personally prefer to use a nail gun for these types of projects because it lasts longer and the project goes quicker.) Just make sure your fingers are out of the way before pulling that trigger. Once you've attached all your pieces, your project is ready for display!
Feeling inspired tweet me pics of your DYI driftwood creation @cheekybama, would love to see how it turned out!