Driftwood_plant and candleholders

Creating Expandable Driftwood Candleholders and Plant Holders

Creating Expandable Driftwood Candleholders and Plant Holders

driftwood planter

This is an easy way to make driftwood candleholders and plant holders that will stretch to accommodate different size jars.  Those pretty glass candle jars that you normally throw out after the candle burns down can now become a very pretty driftwood plant holder.  The secret is simply using “stretch” bead and jewelry cord purchased from Michaels or from Amazon BEADNOVA 1mm Clear Elastic Stretch Jewelry Roll.

 

Materials You Will Need:

  • 1mm Clear Stretch Beading or Jewelry Cording
  • Glue Gun
  • Glue Sticks
  • Drill
  • 1/8″ drill bit
  • Glass container
  • Driftwood Pieces preferably 1/2″ or more round, and straight. If you need driftwood pieces, we have driftwood in stock. 2-6″ pieces or 5-12″ pieces.
  • Pencil to mark drill holes
  • Ruler to measure and mark for drill holes

Creative driftwood candleholders

 

Creative driftwood candleholders

Creative driftwood candleholders

 

Creative driftwood candleholders
Place a driftwood piece against your glass container.  Measure 2″ up from the bottom and mark a hole for drilling.  Then measure up another 2-3″ from the first mark and drill a second hole.  You want the holes to line up as much as possible on each piece of driftwood.

Creative driftwood candleholders

Creative driftwood candleholders

Once your pieces are all drilled, just start threading the stretch cord through the holes.  I tied knots about every 4th piece to keep spacing a little more equal when the candleholder expanded but it’s not really necessary. Pull and tighten the driftwood row.

 

Creative driftwood candleholders

Make Your Circle

Occasionally place the driftwood row around the circumference of the glass shade to check the fit.  When you have the row the length you want – tie a final knot or two.  DO NOT CUT THE CORD.  Form a circle with the driftwood row and continue threading the cord through 3 or 4 driftwood pieces from the other end.   Knot the ends.  You can add a little bit of hot glue to the end knots or lightly melt the stretch thread with a match.

If you want to make your own driftwood for this project, check out our tutorial on How to Create your Own Driftwood – it really works.

The simple holders are also great for Using driftwood in a Party or Wedding Theme.

We actually used this same technique to create pendant light shades and they look awesome!  Making driftwood pendant light shades.

Driftwood Planter and candleholder
Driftwood Planter and candleholder

 

Driftwood Candleholder and plant holder

 

Make a Driftwood Ball

Make a Driftwood Ball

How to Make a Driftwood Ball

Very simple tutorial to Make a Driftwood Ball or Driftwood Orb.

Make a Driftwood Ball

 Materials Needed:

Pro Hot glue gun or Titebond HiPur Adhesive Applicator Glue sticks – professional glue such as:

  • Titebond Wood to Wood WW60 or WW30 (for use with Titebond HiPur Adhesive Applicator)
  • Ad-Tech Wood Glue Sticks
  • All Temperature Wood Stik
  • 100 or more 2″-6″ driftwood pieces.  If you need driftwood pieces, we have driftwood in stock. 2-6″ pieces or 5-12″ pieces.
  • Balloon or beachball.  (Use extra strong balloons)

How to Make a Driftwood BallI wanted my driftwood ball to be about 10-12″ in diameter so I had to use a balloon.  I found “Punch Ball” balloons at Walmart for about $3.00 for a package of 8 which were strong enough and allowed me to get the size I wanted.  Once a blew up the balloon to the size I wanted, I tied it off so that I would be able to untie it easily enough to let the air out slowly when I was done instead of just popping the balloon.  My driftwood ball is about 10″ in diameter and I used 100 pieces of driftwood for my project.

How to Make a Driftwood Ball

How to Make a Driftwood BallI started by actually gluing a driftwood piece directly to the balloon just to hold it in place.  Keep in mind that once you let the air out of the balloon, it will continue to stick to the glue so you want to use as little glue as possible to hold it in place on the balloon and as few times as possible gluing directly to the balloon.  I believe I glued directly to the balloon 5 times.  The less you can do it the better.  Ideally, you want to glue just on the driftwood pieces.

And it’s important to use a professional hot glue gun and professional grade glue sticks or the piece will not stay together.  If you don’t want to use a glue gun, you can use any glue that will give you a quick and permanent adhesion – “quick” being the operative word here.  You don’t want to be holding the pieces in place and waiting for them to dry.

If you live in a hot, humid climate like Florida, you will find that regular glue sticks will not hold up and your driftwood orb will quickly fall apart so it is important to use professional glue for “all temperature”.  This will also allow you to use your driftwood ball outside without it disintergrating.

How to Make a Driftwood Ball

How to Make a Driftwood Ball Continue making your way around the balloon and filling in the spaces with driftwood pieces until you like what you see.

How to Make a Driftwood BallFind where you tied your balloon and untie it then slowly let the air out.  It should pull away from the glued sides but it will leave behind some pieces of balloon that will be difficult to remove unless you used as little as possible to hold it in place.

How to Make a Driftwood BallThere you have it – a beautiful driftwood ball that you made in about 2 hours.

Once you’ve created your driftwood ball, the possibilities are endless as far as what you can do with it. Certainly, it’s decorative and quite textural by itself but add a string of LED lights or even just one bulb and you’ve got a unique light source.  Attach dirt wrapped in moss using wire or fishing line and insert some succulent  plants and you’ve now got a unique planter.  Or just use it as a sculptural garden element.  Whatever you decide, you now have a clever and decorative driftwood element.

Make A Driftwood Sailboat

Make a Driftwood Sailboat

This simple tutorial will show you how to make a Driftwood Sailboat.  It’s actually pretty simple and they make really cute and beachy accents to any room where you want to add a beach or natural weathered wood theme.  They also look great as a juxtaposition to a sleek and modern room where you want to create some unexpected visual interest.

driftwood-sailboat-6b

What you Need to Make Your Driftwood Sailboat:

  • Driftwood piece that is linear shaped.  If you need driftwood pieces, we have driftwood in stock. 2-6″ pieces or 5-12″ pieces.
  • White Embroidery Thread
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Old Handkerchief
  • Singer’s “Fray No More”
  • Dowel or Stick of Driftwood
  • 2 Small Eye Screws
  • Drill
  • Scissors
  • Wood Glue

1.  Select your driftwood piece.

I glued together these two pieces as I thought the smaller looked great on the nose of the sailboat.  You can use a dowel purchased from the hardware store like I did or you can use a driftwood stick.  Since my dowel was too pale, I used Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish to get a weathered wood look on the dowel and I also used it to touch up any areas that may have broken off or where I drilled to keep the weathered wood look.

Driftwood Sailboat

2.  Create Your Driftwood Sailboat Mast.

Cut your dowel or driftwood stick to approximately 12″ although this will depend upon the length of your boat base.  Use your own discretion as to what looks best.  Then drill a hole deep enough in the center of your boat base to hold your mast.

Driftwood Sailboat

3.  Eye Screws.

Insert your eye screws in the boat base at the front and back.  These will be used to hold the sail in place.  On my first sailboat, I actually used glue instead and curled the sails before tacking them in place with glue but on the second sailboat I held the sails in place with the embroidery thread and eye screws.

Driftwood Sailboat

4.  Prepare Your Driftwood Sails.

Layout your sail and cut it to form two sails.  I had discovered an old box filled with and assortment of antique lacy and printed handkerchiefs in the attic which inspired me to do this project.  I just thought they would make such pretty sails and a great decorative focal point especially if I made three.  Here you can see my dowel piece is still a little bit too long for this handkerchief so I either need to cut it shorter or choose a different handkerchief for the sale.

Driftwood Sailboat

 5.  Create Your Sails.

Cut your handkerchief to form two sails.

Driftwood Sailboat

6.  Stop the Fray.

Once you cut your sail, you will want to use “Fray No More” by Singer to stop the edges from fraying.  Just run a bit along each cut edge.

Driftwood Sailboat

7.  Attaching the Mast and Sails

Glue your mast in place.

Use your embroidery thread to attach the sail sections to the mast – first the top and then the bottom.  Then attach the sail to the eye screws in the front and back if you want the sail to stay displayed.  I also starched the handkerchief so they would be nice and stiff.

Driftwood Sailboat

 

See how simple that was?  Now enjoy your sailboat – heck, make a fleet of them!

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

How to Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Simple tutorial will show you how to make a whimsical driftwood birdhouse for indoor or outdoor use.  Add charm and character to your garden with a whimsical driftwood birdhouse you make yourself.

Supplies

  • Driftwood pieces – 5-12″ round and flat plus assortment of other pieces. If you need driftwood pieces, we have driftwood in stock. 2-6″ pieces or 5-12″ pieces.
  • 18 oz. oatmeal carton or similar cardboard carton
  • Titebond WW30 or WW60 (for use with HiPur Adhesive Applicator) or Ad-Tech Wood Glue Sticks or All Temperature Wood Stik (look for glue sticks that will hold up in all temperatures)
  • Heat Gun such as HiPur Adhesive Applicator by Stienel or Professional Glue Gun
  • wooden stand (optional)
  • wooden round 5″ – 8″ (optional)

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

 

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

I used an 18 oz. oatmeal box but pretty much any similar cardboard box, round or square, will work.  Remove the advertising so you just have the brown cardboard.

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Cut out a hole for the door and any additional “windows” you might want.

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Then just fit and glue your pieces around your form.  You can use flat or round, long or short – just cover your form.

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

 

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Once the form is covered on the sides, you can start on the top.  I wanted mine to be off-centered and longer on one side which would give it a more whimsical look so you can see I started with a long piece on one side propped up by a shorter piece on the other.  From there I just started filling in areas.  It’s like a puzzle where you find the best pieces to fit and pieces that will add some character here and there.

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

Here is a view from the back.  Once again, I just started layering smaller, flatter pieces on the roof until I had it completely covered.

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

In the front top I added a post that protruded out so the birds would have a perch and other little unique pieces that just fit well on the top.  I then added a “front porch” so to speak and a piece on the right that ended up looking almost like a handle.  I found a unique driftwood piece that was like a curly little pig’s tail and added that coming down from the top and one more piece to balance the left side and I was finished with my whimsical little birdhouse.  It was hard not to keep going by adding more little pieces here and there. 

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

The final thing I did was use the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish on the base so it would look more weathered.  You can see the difference in the very top picture where it blends in very well with the regular driftwood.

And there you have it.  So cute in a garden or just on display.  Since I used Titebond WW30 HiPur Hot Melt Adhesive, I can use my birdhouse outside. 

Make a Whimsical Driftwood Birdhouse

 

Ideas for Landscaping with Driftwood

Landscaping with Driftwood Archway

Landscaping with Driftwood

Landscaping with driftwood starts with a good plan and a some imagination. Since driftwood is already a work of nature, it’s not difficult to cohesively work it in somewhere as either a focal point or complimentary element with your existing natural environment.

Driftwood can easily be carved, sanded and finished to get the shape, texture and look you’re after or just leave it as is. Whether using smaller-sized pieces for projects like birdhouses or larger pieces to make sculptures or lawn and garden furniture, you’re guaranteed to end up with items that are completely unique since no two pieces of driftwood will ever be alike in shape, texture and color.

For instance, if you want to give visual height to an area, create planters from a combination of driftwood and airplants, orchids, succulents or bromeliads then attach them to a wall or tree and watch your new plants happily make themselves at home in the cracks and crevices of the driftwood. Your wall will soon be teaming with carefree greenery, shoots and flowers and become a focal point.  The same idea can be used to create a horizontal focal point.

driftwood fencingLandscaping with driftwood can add visual interest and a focal point to areas that are frequently overlooked or otherwise seem to lack purpose and have no existing appeal. Imagine a large piece of driftwood where others might plant a tree or embed a large boulder – then surround your new sculpture with sea grass or wild flowers.

Think about adding a large driftwood pieces to a pond or other water feature you may have for a natural look. Driftwood on its own could make a unique and beautiful water fountain with the right tools and a little imagination.

Bind together long pieces of driftwood and attach a box to the top for a one-of-a-kind mailbox or create a driftwood Landscaping with Driftwood Benchchandelier for outdoor hanging in a special garden nook. Use it with candles or drape it with pretty flowers or vines.

How about creating driftwood retaining walls for flower beds or around trees by using 8″ linear pieces and sinking them into the ground. You can also create a heavier retainer wall with larger driftwood logs set end to end.

Thick, solid pieces of driftwood make wonderful benches or quaint chairs for sitting in unexpected places. Add a handcrafted driftwood table and you have yourself the perfect place to read a book and enjoy your garden while sipping an ice tea. Insert logs into the ground for natural fence posting.

There are a myriad of possibilities for landscaping with driftwood to create interest in your outdoor space. How will landscaping with driftwood inspire you?

Beach Style Decorating Ideas

Beach style decorating isn’t just for coastal beach houses and cottages by the seashore. It can be incorporated absolutely anywhere to soothe the nerves, provide positive energy and lighten the mood. Some simple beach style decorating tips can bring the therapeutic benefits of a vacation at the beach right into your home.Driftwood chair

Start by installing an interior louvre door and painting it a vibrant Caribbean blue or a deep aquamarine. Louvered doors automatically stir thoughts of old casual beach cottages. Next, install some horizontal planking across one wall of the living room or a whole ceiling and whitewash it for an overall beach house ambiance. Continue the aqua colors in accent pillows, comfy throws and an area rug. Toss in the bright orange of a warm beach sunset.

Go boldly into beach style decorating with unusual and unexpected color in the kitchen. Paint the kitchen island an eye-catching sea green and repeat the color in the window treatments. White or shell cabinets and a sea glass backsplash provide just the right amount of contrast while giving you that sand swept beachy feel.

If you’re not that daring, go to the opposite end of the spectrum and make nearly everything stark white. Then paint the wooden floor and the

cabinet doors a subtle sandy color. Easily add some sophistication with the texture of stainless steel appliances and accents. Purchase or create your own accessories with a nautical or coastal theme with using driftwood, shells and sea glass to create the feeling of being near the sea. Hang some artwork depicting the seaside and fill some shelves with picture frames and treasure boxes bordered in delicate shells. Translucent blue glass accents bring the sea inside.

Wall decor made of woven sea grass and random room accents made of wicker strengthen the aura of a retreat by the beach. Driftwood, when adapted as a home decorating accessory, is extremely versatile and lends itself to endless creative ideas. Weathered driftwood can be hung on a wall as is or insert a simple airplant and use as a planter. Equip it with some small hooks and dangle some souvenirs from the beach. Pick up an inexpensive wood-framed mirror and attach small pieces of driftwood around the border.

Gathering several pieces of driftwood that are all near the same length, tie them together with sea grass or nautical rope and stand them on their ends. Use this as the base for holding dried wild flowers. If you have a large section of driftwood, secure it to a wall, attach some hooks and use it as an unusual hat rack. Try making one of our suggested driftwood candleholders or driftwood lamps. Refinish a great flea market find with a driftwood finish by using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish or one of our alternative homemade techniques.

If you have a pool, construct a backyard open-air cabana. Basically, this consists of nothing but a simplistic frame and a roof-like covering. Add floor to ceiling canvas curtains tied back to each post and create a look that’s as soft as a sea breeze. Add some more lush plants. Fill it with accent pieces that have seaside motifs like palm fronds, shells or marine life.

Outdoors, landscape with solar lighting as a reminder of the sun’s subtle energy. Indoors, adorn a few side tables with a grouping of sand candles.

Lighten up your mood and your atmosphere with beach style decorating. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Creating a Driftwood Finish

If you’re anything like me, you love the look of driftwood furniture. The aged and worn look just appeals to me although most of the pieces I see for sale in the major stores are not actual driftwood but wood that’s made to look weathered, usually with painting techniques.  So I began a quest to find out how I could get that same look at home.  After all, I was experienced at refinishing furniture, painting, staining and distressing – why not try my hand at this driftwood finish look.

And there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a beautiful piece of furniture in a thrift store that someone else has discarded – no longer useful to them.  I’m one of those that can see its possibilities and I’m quick to snap it up, take it home and give it a whole new life.

I found myself a gem of a side table at one local thrift store.  It was perfect.  I stripped off the old stain and finish and had initially decided that I wanted a distressed white look.  After about four months of this distressed white table, I decided I wanted it to look more like a driftwood finish.  I was seeing driftwood tables, beds and lamps, etc. everywhere and I wanted it.

An indepth search on the Internet revealed some very interesting processes that others were using to achieve that driftwood finish.  Some with paint (which I also did and it came out great and you can read that post – Creating a Driftwood Finish With Paint), others with concoctions of vinegar and steel wood and still others using baking soda, tea and coffee.

Along the way, I discovered my own mixture, which I call Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish, and to my surprise, it worked beautifully on that little white table once I had stripped and sanded it again.  But I still wanted to test the other methods I came across so below you will see a video of the five different methods I used on 3 different types of wood – oak, pine and birch.  I will show the initial application and the outcome 24 hours later.

The five methods I use to achieve a weathered wood driftwood finish are:

#1 – Tea – Steeped green tea in 1/2 water for several hours.

#2 – Coffee – Steeped coffee grounds in 1/2 cup water for several hours.

#3 – Vinegar & Steel Wool (3 Cups White Vinegar and 1 steel wool pad – soaked for 45 days, although you really only need to soak it for 24 hours – I just happen to still have a mixture still around from another project);

#4 – Baking Soda & Water (1/4 Cup water to 1/8 Cup baking soda); and

#5 – Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish – which you can now buy here on our website or through Amazon

Watch Video

How to Clean Driftwood

You’ve been lucky enough to find a unique piece of driftwood that you want to use for a project but now how do you clean it?  The forces of nature may have already removed much of the debris and hopefully,  left you a nicely weathered and smooth finish to start with but you still need to be able to remove the dirt, mold, parasites and other critters that may be lingering in your driftwood.

If you’re using your driftwood for an aquarium, you will need to use a natural process to clean driftwood without any chemicals.  If your pieces are small enough, you can boil them but you may split and crack the wood.  A better way to clean driftwood, and one that you can use regardless of whether you use the driftwood in an aquarium or not, is the slow soaking method using distilled water.Clean driftwood

Clean Driftwood Using the Distilled Water Soaking Method

Scrub your wood with a sturdy scrub brush to remove loose debris and surface dirt.  Fill a large container with enough distilled water to cover your wood.  I suppose one could use a bathtub if you don’t have a large container but I’m not sure what may be left behind in your tub once the process is finished.  

The driftwood needs to soak, fully covered, in the distilled water for at least two weeks, and you will need to change the water several times when it becomes dark with the leached tannins.  The tannin is what gives the wood its color and we want to get rid of as much color as possible in this process, along with any other critters.  You can place a large rock or something heavy to hold down your driftwood while it soaks.

After two weeks, remove the wood and place it somewhere where it will be able to dry undisturbed in an environment with low humidity.

Once it is dry, you can use it for whatever driftwood project you wish.

Clean Driftwood Using the Disinfecting Method 

Mix a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water and fill a large container so that there is enough solution to completely submerge your driftwood.  Place your driftwood in the solution.  Soak your driftwood for 3 or 4 days, changing out the disinfecting solution each day.  

Remove your driftwood and let it dry undisturbed in an environment with low humidity.  

You should not use clean driftwood that has been chemically bleached in an aquarium with live plants or animals.

Also see Refinish Driftwood

How to Create a Driftwood Candleholder

Three Simple Driftwood Candleholders You Can Make Yourself

Driftwood Candleholder Style #1Driftwood Candleholder

You will need:

  • enough cleaned driftwood pieces to fit around your glass candle container
  • multi-purpose epoxy glue
  • glass contained candle
  • raffia or twine (optional)

Directions:

For this style driftwood candleholder, you will want to have enough clean driftwood pieces to go around your glass container candle – 10-20 pieces to chose from depending on the size of your glass container . It’s best to use 1″ thick linear pieces rather than awkward shaped driftwood pieces.

Determine how tall you want the height to be. Some prefer the height to be just to the top of the glass while I’ve seen others extend it 2-3

inches taller than your glass container. Either way looks great.

  1. Saw off the ends of each piece so they will line up evenly at the bottom around the your glass container while still giving you the height you want.
  2. Now one by one, line up a piece with the bottom of the glass container and begin gluing. Continue until you have completed the circumference.

Wait until the glue dries according to the package before using.

You may wish to dress up your container with raffia or twine.

A great decorating tip is to create three of these candleholders of various heights for use in displaying.

 

Driftwood Candleholder Style #2Driftwood candleholder

You will need:

  • Driftwood
  • candles in glass votive holders or tea lights in tin holders
  • drill
  • 1  3/4″ (44 mm)  hole saw – which is a type of bit that will fit on a drill and create the holes (available at Lowe’s and Home Depot)

Directions:

Suppose you have a wonderfully unique piece that is too big to use for the first style candle holder but you really want a driftwood candleholder. If you have a piece that will sit solidly on a flat surface without being “tippy”, then this is a good option for making your unique driftwood candle holder.

  1. Lay your driftwood piece on a flat surface and determine where you might want to put one or more candles. Space them out so they won’t cause a fire hazard when lit.
  2. Once you have identified where you want the candles, mark the center.
  3. Now secure your driftwood and drill your holes using the hole saw drill bit to match the size of your votive or tin candle holders. Drill no more than 1/2″ for tin tea lights. You can drill deeper for votive holders. You want to make sure that the hole is not so deep that a lit candle will catch the surrounding edges of the driftwood on fire.

I’ve seen this style used with elaborate pieces and many candles, as well as with one hole and one simple candle – and they are all beautiful.

Driftwood Candleholder Style #3Driftwood candleholder

You will need:

  • thick cut of driftwood (4″ or more circumference)
  • drill
  • 1  3/4″ (44 mm)  hole saw – which is a type of bit that will fit on a drill and create the holes (available at Lowe’s and Home Depot)
  • glass votive holder or tea light tins

Directions:

  1. Cut both ends of your driftwood so both the top and bottom are flat.
  2. Using the hole saw drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the top deep enough to fit your tin or votive holder.
  3. Insert your votive or tin.

This style looks best when the votive or tin sits almost level with the driftwood surface.

A great tip is to make three of this style in various heights for a great display.

There you have it – a driftwood candle holder style for everyone!

Other projects to try: Driftwood Lamp; Driftwood Sailboat; Driftwood Christmas Tree, Driftwood Windchime, Driftwood Clock

Driftwood Bergere Chair Project

Driftwood Bergere Chair Refinishing Projectcat on Bergere chair

This is one of those projects I started over a year ago – yes over a year ago.  It took me that long to remove all the staples (if you’ve ever done a re-upholstery job then you know what I’m talking about); decide on a fabric; make my own piping and then summon up the courage to actually attempt the re-upholstering and applying piping.  And, in between there was a move to a new house so yes, this was a long time in the making.  Amazingly enough, this is one of those projects that came out so beautiful when it was finally finished that it was well worth the time it took and I now have a beautiful driftwood Bergere chair.

Driftwood Berege Chair

This is the chair I started with – picked up at a thrift store for a mere $25.  Pretty ugly but the style is exactly what I was looking for.  I knew I wanted a Bergere style chair to use the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish to create a driftwood finish on the wood and recover it with some fresh new updated fabric most likely in gray tones.  When the time came to choose a fabric, it took forever to decide and I actually purchased three different fabrics.  I ultimately decided it was time to just pick one and move forward – anything was better than this hideous blue and pink fabric.

Driftwood Berege Chair

The first step is removing all the trillions of staples.  I used a pair of needle nose pliers.  You want to save all your pieces of fabric, including the lining pieces as you will use them as templates for cutting your own fabric so don’t get impatient and start tearing and ripping.  You’ll also want to take good closeup pictures of every angle of the chair to show how the fabric folds and the piping flows.  This really becomes helpful as does using the old fabric as a template to cut your new pieces.  Pay attention to the layers and sequence of batting, webbing, canvas and any other pieces that make up the underlying structure of your chair as you will want to duplicate it as much as possible and use the same pieces when possible.  Take pictures and make notes – you’ll be very glad you did.

 Driftwood Berege Chair

 Since I was going to use a paint stripping solution, I needed to tape off the areas I wanted to protect.

Driftwood Berege Chair

Then I started the very messy project of stripping this bad boy before applying the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish that would give me the driftwood finish I was looking for.  Once the old paint was removed, I mixed a packet of the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish powder with a cup of water and started applying with a brush.  Driftwood Weathered Wood FinishAnd of course, because I’m so impatient, I don’t test it first and I get a very dark color – darker than I really want. But I keep going anyway because it still looks good even though it’s darker than I want.  What I should have done was test it first and I would have known to dilute the solution.  This would have resulted in the lighter finish I really wanted.

 

 

 

Driftwood Berege Chair

Now starts the hard part of re-upholstering.  But this poor little chair sat like this for over a year before I picked up this project again.  Now, a smart person would have applied the Driftwood Liming Wax at this point certainly before recovering the chair with fabric but not me.  I was still okay with how dark the wood was so I began the re-upholstery.  Here’s where researching the internet came in very handy.  I researched many videos and websites on re-upholstering chairs and gleaned a lot of good information.  I am a fairly good seamstress so sewing the cushion didn’t scare me.  Cutting and making my own piping was just time consuming but ended up not being that bad at all.  Even applying the piping was pretty easy using Magna Tac glue. 

Driftwood Berege Chair
Following the advice of one website – I actually used a spray glue to fuse and apply the webbing and batting to the chair.  This eliminated the need for using too many staples in the areas where the wood was already worn out. Using the old fabric pieces as my templates, I cut all my new pieces in my nice new fabric.

Driftwood-Berege-Chair

Once I applied the batting to the front, back, arms and seat with the spray glue, I started stapling the fabric in place using an electric staple gun.  This is where I learned a very important lesson that helped me a lot and made a world of difference so I want to pass it on.  I initially started by pulling the fabric taught on all sides and stapling as shown on the left below – then I saw a video of someone who suggested folding the fabric under before stapling and I literally pulled out all my staples and started over with rolling under the hem before stapling.  You can see how much neater and cleaner it looks and I can tell you it will save you time as you will not have to go back and cut away the excess and you will not have hanging threads.  And it’s so much neater and easier to cover with either a single or double row of piping. 

 

Driftwood Berege Chair

Using Magna-tac glue I applied my single row piping.  Here is another big tip I’d like to share.  Measure and sew your pieces of piping together to create more than enough length to cover the area you are working on.  Trying to piece together two pieces of piping because you come up short just makes it very difficult and usually ends up looking sloppy.  Plus it usually ends up with trying to piece it together in an awkward place like smack in the front where it will be quite noticeable.  It’s so much easier if you have the right length to fully cover the area right from the start. Here you can see I’ve glued on the piping on the arm and tucked and glued the ends.  Start and end in the most inconspicuous area possible. Start with small sections first until you get comfortable with it though it’s not that hard. Just make sure to cover your staples.

  Driftwood Berege Chair

Weeks after the chair was completed, I decided to attempt applying the Driftwood Liming Wax to lighten the finish.  Not an easy task and not one I recommend.  Trying to avoid getting the wax on the fabric was difficult at best but with a lot of effort, I managed.  I do like the finish so much better.  You can see the difference below.  This is the driftwood shade I was looking for and if I had just taken the time to test the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish I would have known to dilute it and would have gotten this color without having to add the Driftwood Liming Wax.  But I will say it again – this is one of my favorite projects and it came out so well.  I finally have my driftwood Bergere chair.  This chair would sell for an easy $600-$700 in the stores and it’s going to look amazing in my sunroom as soon as I can get that room finished.

Driftwood Berege Chair

Driftwood-Berege-Chair

Driftwood-Berege-Chair

 

 

Driftwood Aquascapes

I recently came upon a a beautiful piece of driftwood that a gentlemen was advertising for sale for use in an aquascape.  Now I had no real idea what he meant by an aquascape but the driftwood piece was very interesting and had me intrigued.  So much so, that I decided to do an internet search on the term “aquascape” to get a better understanding of an aquascape and how driftwood was being used in driftwood aquascapes.  It seemed obvious enough – a scene featuring water instead of land and using driftwood, but there seemed to be something more to it.  One look at the images I was finding and I was totally hooked and wanted to know even more.

whisper-of-the-pines
2013 Planted Aquarium Design Winner, Serkan Cetinkol of Istanbul Turkey with his Whisper of the Pines

Wikipedia describes Aquascaping as:

  “the craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in

bonsai-driftwood2

an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium—in effect, gardening under water. Aquascape designs include a number of distinct styles, including the garden-like Dutch style and the Japanese-inspired nature style.[1] Typically, an aquascape houses fish as well as plants, although it is possible to create an aquascape with plants only, or with rockwork or other hardscape and no plants.”

Here is a picture of the initial piece of driftwood that caught my interest.  Pretty cool right?

Apparently, there is a whole group of devoted and very talented Aquascapers who spend painstaking hours creating absolutely stunning aquascapes that are nothing short of “unworldly” in their presentation.  If you can imagine fish swimming through a forest or passing you by on a rolling grassy hill, then you have a pretty good idea of what some of the scenes can look like.  Some are very fairytale like while others capture and imitate their counterpart landmarks.  All are made using driftwood, sand and natural elements and take 6 months or more just to establish.

Morning-Forest
Planted Aquarium Design entitled “Morning Forest” by Pavel Bautin of Saint Petersburg, Russia – exquisite – an underwater forest.

And there are worldwide contests featuring the best aquascapes with quite a large following of aquascapers.  It seems to me that it would be a very calming hobby and that one would like to sit back and enjoy these beautiful aquascapes once they are fully established but, from what I’ve read, these professional aquascapers usually finish one and then dismantle it and on to the next one.

Aquascapers look to include stones, sand and driftwood to create the most natural looking aquascape and finding just the right piece or pieces of driftwood is crucial.  You want to make the scene look as natural as possible.  Consider varying sizes, height and width of your driftwood and the type of scene you are looking to create.  Manzanita and Malaysian oak are two good choices in driftwood for aquascapes. 

country-of-soul
“Country of Soul” aquascape by Tatiana Timirbulatova of Samara, Russia that just looks like more like a sunset at the beach – amazing.

 

Form the size you want by breaking the ends of branches – not sawing or using any tool.  Breaking will create a more natural look.  Soak your driftwood pieces for at least 2 weeks or more in plain water to remove the tannins which will otherwise discolor your aquascape.  Change out your water every few days until you no longer have any change of color after soaking for a few days.  Only then will your driftwood pieces be ready for your aquascape.

I can appreciate this creative hobby for it’s use of driftwood and it’s obvious skill level.  Personally, I would want to enjoy one of the established underwater gardens once I had it created.  It just seems like it would be so calming and mesmerizing.  To me, they are absolutely beautiful.

 

Lost-beach
“Lost Beach” by Mustafa Sezgen of Kocaeli, Turkey – can you believe this is an underwater landscape? Amazing. Notice the driftwood trees?

 

  If you would like to learn more about Aquascaping in general and driftwood aquascapes, here is a good link. AquaScaping World Magazine.

 

Driftwood Highboy Refinishing Project

Over the past 2 months, I’ve been slowly working on my driftwood highboy refinishing project which meant stripping and refinishing an antique highboy piece and then refinishing it with the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.  Well, I’m happy to say it’s finally done and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

driftwood highway
Finished Highboy using Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish

I purchased this highboy piece over 30 years ago at an antique store.  At the time I purchased the highboy, it was a hideous orange toned stained wood but it was a bargain at $375.00.  I distinctly remember that once I had stripped the orange stain, I had made a mental note that the bare wood had a beautiful distressed look to it and even back then I was tempted to leave it that way.  I also remember that I had done a major faux pas at the time I stripped it by using a steel wool pad to remove the finish and it had left little black specks everywhere.  But this had actually contributed to the weathered look in a good way.  I ended up staining the highboy in a dark mahogany color to match the other furniture in my room at the time.  I also remember that the stain did not take very well and I literally had to apply the stain and leave it on the piece without wiping off the excess.  This was the only way I could get the stain dark enough over the maple wood.

Original antique highboy
Original piece

Above is the piece before stripping and sanding.  It has always been a beautiful piece.  Below, I have started to strip and sand and needed to remove some of the more intricate pieces in order to get the finished removed.  I did this work outside in the Florida summer heat – not exactly the best conditions to be doing this type of work and that is why it took me 6 weeks to fully complete this project.  Some days it was just too hot!
Driftwood Highboy

Driftwood Finish Highboy

 

Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish applied to top drawer but still drying
Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish applied to top drawer but still drying
Antique driftwood highboy
Stripped and sanded; application of Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish.

The original hardware was brass and my original intention was to create a “rusted” finish.  I thought driftwood finish would be a nice backdrop to rusted hardware.  I attempted many solutions to create a rusted finish including soaking the hardware overnight in baths of vinegar and baking soda; vinegar and salt; and ammonia.  While I didn’t get a rust finish, I did get a somewhat verdigris finish.  After soaking the hardware pieces overnight and letting them air dry, I then applied a product by Modern Options called Verdigris with a paintbrush and dried it using my heat gun.  This seemed to increase the verdigris finish somewhat although I did not use the product according to their directions.  I did not apply their base product.  I have since found that the hardware’s verdigris finish has continued to turn quite a bit.

distressed hardward
Distressing the hardware
finished driftwood highboy
Finished driftwood highboy

 Driftwood highboy

So there you have the final driftwood highboy refinishing project.  It came out even better than I had expected and I’m in love with this piece but now my bed no longer matches.  Just when I thought I was done with refinishing projects for awhile…