Things to Do with Driftwood

Updated February 21, 2017

Driftwood can be found on almost any beach. This free wood is more than just debris. It can be collected and used in the home in a variety of ways, including displaying your artsy side, providing habitat for your fish tank or celebrating a holiday. Driftwood projects add a unique style to your home decor.


Get a large piece of driftwood, and position it so that it is stable. The piece will hold candles, and the less it rocks, the safer the piece. Drill holes into the wood to hold either tapered candles or tea lights in interesting areas along the length of the wood. Spray or paint it with fire retardant, which can be found at home or hobby supply shops. Put your candles into the holes. For safety, the tapered candles should have no wiggle room when set into the drilled holes.

Christmas Tree

A driftwood Christmas tree provides a down home feeling at Christmas. Cut a large round section of driftwood to create the base of the tree. Select pairs of driftwood sticks that are roughly the same length. The length of the pairs needs to get progressively shorter to mimic the shape of an evergreen tree. The longest pair of sticks is placed at the bottom; use nails or a hot glue gun to hold the pieces in place. The pairs should create an "X" shape. Stack the next shortest pair and create another "X" with the pieces, but not in the same orientation as the sticks below. Continue until the tree is as tall as you'd like. Decorate with simple ornaments to finish the tree.

Fish Habitat

Driftwood can be used to create natural looking habitats in a fish tank. The wood must be treated prior to placing the wood into the tank. To treat the wood, submerge the wood in fresh water for at least one month to remove salt and other chemicals that may have seeped into the wood. Change the water from the bath every few days. Once in the fish tank, no maintenance to the wood is required.


Large pieces of driftwood cut lengthwise can create canvases for paint. Once the driftwood is cut, sand the surface until it is smooth. The surface can then be primed and painted, or paint can be added directly to the wood. Painting directly onto the wood provides an outdoors element because the grain of the wood is visible in the painting itself. Unprimed wood provides a fantastic backdrop for outdoor and beach scenes. Smaller pieces also can be painted with single words, similar to magnetic poetry where words can be arranged to present a message. These work well on windowsills and fireplace mantels.

Handles and Hooks

The look of driftwood brings the outside indoors. Use driftwood in place of simple everyday items. Instead of using brass or other metal hooks and handles, replace them with shaped and aged driftwood for an outdoorsy look. Pieces of driftwood that are used should be sanded and sealed to avoid injuring hands with splinters. The wood attaches to cabinets and walls the same way other items would attach, and they can be removed just as easily when the time comes to replace them.

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About the Author

Michael Carpenter has been writing blogs since 2007. He is a mortgage specialist with over 12 years of experience as well as an expert in financing, credit, budgeting and real estate. Michael holds licenses in both real estate and life and health insurance.