How to make horses out of driftwood

Written by jonah morrissey | 13/05/2017
How to make horses out of driftwood
Work with the natural curves in driftwood to make a whimsical horse sculpture. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The dramatic twists and curves in driftwood are ideal for creating wooden sculptures. Artists can find endless inspiration in the lines of the driftwood. You can make a horse out of driftwood by using many smaller pieces and combining them to form a horse. While some professional artists make large full size realistic looking horse sculptures from driftwood, your first attempt should be aimed at achieving a whimsical folk interpretation of a horse. Over time, your skills at working with driftwood will expand.

Sort through the driftwood and find four long pieces to use as legs. Cut off any branches that extend from the main piece using branch cutters. Trim the legs to roughly the same length with a bow saw.

Look for a piece of driftwood that would work well for the main body and neck of the horse. It should be a fairly thick piece with a curve at one end for the neck. Trim off excess branches that stick out from it with branch cutters. Leave as much of the driftwood intact as possible to create a whimsical shape to the horse.

Fit the legs 3/4 of the way up from the bottom of the body piece at each corner. Drive three to four evenly spaced stainless steel screws through the leg pieces into the body section with a screw gun. Sink the screws just below the surface of the wood.

Select a piece of driftwood for the head. Use your creativity to identify features in the driftwood that would work well for the horse's facial features and mane. Cut off pieces from the selected piece to bring out these features using branch cutters.

Align the head on top of the neck and secure it with four evenly spaced stainless steel screws. Sink the screws just below the surface of the wood.

Choose narrow branches with a graceful curve for the tail. Drive one screw through each branch into the back end of the body piece to secure the tail pieces to the body. Sink the screws just below the surface of the wood.

Fill the screw holes with wood putty using the blade of a putty knife to smooth it over the holes. Allow the putty to dry for 24 hours. Sand the filler flush with the surface of the driftwood using a fine-grit sanding pad.


Leave the driftwood horse sculpture unfinished to accentuate its natural beauty. The silver grey of the wood will enhance the rustic features of the sculpture.


Wear eye protection when working with driftwood.

Things you need

  • Driftwood
  • Branch cutters
  • Bow saw
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Screw gun
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Fine-grit sanding pad

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