Whether it’s a small but interesting piece that was found lying on a beach or leftover bits from a larger project, small pieces of driftwood can be used to make wonderful projects too. In fact, many small pieces can be combined by using wood glue and can once again become a larger piece, sometimes blending so perfectly that it’s hard to distinguish it as several pieces.
Preparing and Crafting Driftwood
Regardless of size, before beginning any wood project that incorporates driftwood, it is very important to make sure that all wood is properly sanitized and thoroughly dried. You need to clean and cure driftwood. The boiling or soaking method may be the best choice for small pieces. Small pieces can be dried in an oven on a low heat or even in a food dehydrator overnight.
Useful tools for working with driftwood include carving chisels, carving knives, jeweler’s pliers, sandpaper or dremel, wood stain, wood preservative and wood glue. Hot glue may also be used for some projects but tends to remain visible and is not suitable for most jewelry. Additionally, a drill with a small bit is great for creating beads or holes for hanging.
Easy Projects for Wood Piecework
You can start your woodworking project with a very basic sculpture. To do this, you simply need to outline the design on the driftwood and use a carving knife to get the shape and fine details of your design.
Beads are also fairly simple to create. Using jeweler’s pliers to hold the wood, begin shaping it to desired shape with sandpaper or the dremel tool. Some people may find it easier to drill a hole first and then trim or sand the wood down to size especially when working with round beads. After the bead is shaped, use wood stain or preservative to seal in the color. Just hang the bead from a wire, dip it into the solution and then hang it up to dry.
Another easy project is assembling pieces together to outline a picture frame, vase, or bowl. These pieces can be trimmed, sanded, stained and then glued onto the surface to be used. Frames can even be made using just the driftwood. Cut the pieces to the length and width of the frame and then use wood glue to secure it together. Create a single level frame or sandwich a piece of glass between two frame sets to give it added dimension.
For terrarium or shelf décor glue two or three “branches” at different angle onto a larger piece that will serve as the base. Alternatively, one may want to glue a “trunk” with branches onto a flat base and use it as a jewelry stand for necklaces and bracelets. Imagination is the only limitation in working with driftwood. Pick up some driftwood and start a project today.