Arts & Crafts Magazine

How to Make Your Own Driftwood

By Diydriftwood

Wondering how you can make your own driftwood?  Well, we’ve got a tutorial to who you how you can make your own driftwood at home.  It takes a little time (give yourself a week), but the pay off is that you can create the size you want and it won’t cost you anything but a box of Washing Soda, a bottle of bleach.

Make your own driftwood

What you will need:

  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – can be difficult to find – if have a Publix in your area, they carry it.
  • bleach
  • water
  • container to hold your driftwood pieces
  • sandpaper

I happened upon a pile of branches when someone had trimmed their trees and I knew these would be a good size for projects.  I couldn’t tell you what type of wood or tree it is but it was very pale in color initially so the end result was a beautiful, almost white color, which is quite nice by itself but I wanted to get a more grayish tone to the wood so I used the Driftwood Weathered Wood Product.

Make your own driftwood step 1
I used a big plastic storage container that you should be able to purchase from Wal-mart or similar stores for about $8.00.  You could also use a large plastic trash bucket or recycle bin as long as your pieces all fit.  Before adding your wood, add about 1-2 Cups of Super Washing Soda to the container and dissolve it with hot water.  Add your wood pieces and cover the wood completely with water.  I needed about 7 gallons of water and then I filled two water containers and used them as anchors to hold the wood under the water.


Make your own driftwood step 2


You want to soak the wood for about 48 hours or long enough so that the bark softens and can be removed using a wire brush.

make your own driftwood step 3

I used one I had on hand for stripping furniture but you could probably try steel wool or any very firm bristle brush to remove the soggy bark from the wood which should already be peeling away and fairly easy to remove.  For stubborn pieces, soak longer.

make your own driftwood step 4


make your own driftwood step 5
Once I had removed all the bark, the next step was to make sure I killed any bacteria and removed as much odd discoloration as possible so I filled the container back up with about 7 gallons of water, added 1 Cup of bleach, and once again immersed the wood for 48 hours.


make your own driftwood step 6


The next step was to lay the wood out in a sunny spot for another 2-3 days.  If your pieces are small enough, you could conceivably put them in the oven at very low heat and dry them out but using the sun is a lot cheaper and works just fine.

After 3 days of sun, you can see I have quite a nice selection of pieces but they are still a little rough.  All the ends, pointy edges and texture should be sanded off to give you the appearance of wood that has been washed and weathered by months at sea.

make your own driftwood


Now these pieces are pretty nice the way they are and would look super if I used them as is but I wanted to get a little more of a grayish tone to the wood so I applied the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish just to give me more of the driftwood look I was going for.


make your own driftwood step 9


Here you can see a picture of how pale the wood came out, where I applied the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish to half to give me the grayish tone I was looking for and then I put the piece up against an actual piece of driftwood.

Now I’ve got quite a nice stash of driftwood pieces for projects like candleholders, lamps, windchimes, mirrors, etc. – perfect!

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