Ideas for Driftwood Projects

Updated February 21, 2017

Driftwood is the natural result of water wear and the weather of salt and sand. This wood is naturally dry, soft and dense, making it beautiful on its own, but also a fine wood for carving work. For this reason, it's a favoured component in a variety of natural crafts. Choose your driftwood project based on your decorative needs, your crafting ability, and the shape and size of the wood you have.

Picture Frame

Transform four long, relatively straight pieces of driftwood into a frame for a picture or painting. Alternately, use wood glue to piece together many tiny shards of wood into thicker pieces. Glue the driftwood pieces to an existing, unadorned picture frame, or attach the frame directly to the picture. Attach a rectangle of thick, non-corrugated cardboard to the back of the frame and picture in order to strengthen it and for hanging.


If you have a particularly large piece of driftwood with a wide diameter, cut a cross-section for use as a plaque. Use either a band saw or a hand saw to make the cuts. Finish the plaque by staining and varnishing, if desired, then attach a metal hanging finding (available at hardware stores). Since any piece of wood big enough for a plaque will probably produce many plaques, this is a good project if you have a large collection of objects that you want to mount in a similar style.

Candle Holder

Carve a short, thick piece of driftwood into a holder for a votive candle using an oscillating power tool with a grinding attachment. Place the base of the candle against the wood, trace with pencil, then carve away the wood inside the tracing until you can fit the candle inside. Always use your votive candle with its foil wrapper in tact to lower the risk of accidental fire, or spray the carved holder with flame-retardant craft treatment before use.


Driftwood has a softness and density that makes it an excellent carving wood, though it's common to choose carving designs that are cut into only a portion of the wood. This way, the natural beauty of the driftwood is preserved and showcased along with the artist's work. If you're new to carving, use an oscillating power tool, but practice first on some other scraps of wood. To choose a subject for your carving, look at the piece of driftwood and see if it seems to resemble any particular shape or set of images to you.

Sculpture Mount

While pieces of knotty, gnarled wood are not something you want for most woodworking projects, these interesting-looking samples of driftwood make attractive mounts for sculptures and are commonly used for items like animal figurines or taxidermy. Use driftwood mounts by building your sculptures to fit the piece of wood (this works especially well with clay sculptures) or drill and mount with thick wire. With many sculptures, you might like the look of stained or varnished wood, or perhaps a hand-rubbed finish done with tung oil.

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About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.