Here in the Pacific Northwest, you encounter a lot of driftwood along the beaches. I always seem to come home with a bunch of little (sometimes huge) pieces. I wanted to use some of them in a terrarium that I started, but first I needed to remove any pests that may have hitched a ride and remove all of the built up salt so that I didn't kill my plants.
cook sheet, optional
Soaking is a time consuming process. I recommend spending days on this important step to ensure that all of the salt has been removed. Start by brushing as much sand off of the wood as possible. You can use a toothbrush and fresh water to clean it. Place the wood into a sink or bucket and fill it with water. Initially your pieces of wood may float. You can weight them down, although they will eventually sink as they become water logged.
Pour off the water and refill the pot (or sink) with fresh water and allow the wood to soak for a few days. I changed the water daily, for about 5 days. I wanted to be extra sure that all of the salt had been removed. You can change the water as often as you think about it. You don't need to use a ton of extra water, just use enough to completely cover the wood. NOTE: If you get a lot of rain like we do and aren't in a hurry, you can leave the wood outside for a few weeks and let nature do some of the work. :)
An additional safety measure to sterilize the wood is to boil the pieces in water a couple of times. Put the wood into a pot and fill it with water. Boil the wood for 1-2 hours, checking the water level occasionally. After you have boiled the wood, drain the water and refill the pot with fresh water. Return the water to boiling, for another 1-2 hours. NOTE: I chose to do this with some of mine, to protect the delicate balance of my terrarium. This step is optional, based on your intentions.
Once you feel that the wood has been sufficiently desalinized it is time to dry it out and get rid of any potential pests. There are two options for that. If you live somewhere that is hot and sunny you can put the wood outside in a black trash bag for a few days. Otherwise you can use your oven. Start by laying the wood on a cookie sheet or directly onto the oven rack.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the wood into the oven and bake for 2-4 hours. Remove the wood and allow to cool completely before trying to handle it. Now your wood is safe to incorporate into a terrarium or planter. Have fun!
Get back to nature with this very inexpensive gift. I make them with seashells, rocks, gemstones, anything I can get my hands on.
Approximate Time: 1 hour
drill with small bit
chain or 18 gauge wire
small rock, marbles, etc.
6" hanging wire
clear varnish spray
Clean your driftwood with a soft brush, spray with clear finish.
Decide how many and where you want your holes for your hanging chain or curled wire. Drill your holes at least 1/4 inch from the edge of your driftwood, be careful driftwood is soft and will break easily. Plan your holes carefully.
After you have your holes drilled, decide on the length you want for the chains or wire and add an inch to wire to make curls after you go through the holes you drilled. They will hold the wire sturdily and be decorative from the back also. With chain you can open one of the links and put it through the drilled hole if the links are large enough; if not, use wire to make a loop or purchase rings or swivels used in fishing gear. You can also use tiny screws on the back to secure the chain by attaching them on the back higher up on the thicker part of your driftwood. As you see there are many ways to go; just use your imagination, you probably have the items you could use on hand.
When I use wire I wrap it around a pencil one way then reverse directions for interest. Wrap the wire around marbles, small rocks sprayed with your varnish, seashells, or whatever you like that is pretty light weight.
I try to theme my decorations such as this one, is nature. I happened to have the copper letters and used silver and gold leaves, keeping to the metal and nature theme. I have home jewelry parties and give these as my hostess gifts.
If you enjoy recycling and can operate a cordless drill, you will enjoy this craft. By making use of reclaimed fishing line and pretty beach treasures, your craft will be capable of displaying the magical energy of wind.