Driftwood Beach Tree





Introduction: Driftwood Beach Tree

Hi, this is my first instructable so please be gentle!
My wife and myself love the Northumberland coast and spend lots of time on the various beaches walking our dogs.
We have spotted lots of artwork in the region which we quite liked and my wife, true to form uttered the immortal words " You could make those".
So whilst walking, we started to gather driftwood and stones thought suitable for project and began to amass a reasonable amount to construct something.

Step 1: Take Care!

Since this project uses power tools, hot glue and sharp wire, please ensure you work safely and avoid harming yourself or others around you!

Step 2: Things You May Need.

For the base of my tree, I used a stone from the beach, this needed to be drilled to insert the wire that supports the "branches" so a masonry drill bit was needed. You may choose to mount your tree differently perhaps an off cut of a log or similar so you may not need this.

Suitable base. I used a stone as above.
Collection of driftwood.
Wire for the spine of the tree. Perhaps a wire clothes hanger could be recycled!
Hot melt glue gun.
Wire cutters
A vice is very useful
Cable ties
Drill and suitable bits to match your gauge of wire.
A set of lights should you choose to add lighting.

Optional - A ball for the dogs to play with to stop them from stealing your driftwood!

Step 3: Let's Get to It...

Firstly I drill a hole in my selected stone with a 6mm masonry bit, I do not drill all the way through to prevent the wire from passing right through the stone. Next thing to do is cut a piece of wire a bit longer than desired height of your beach tree. You can always trim the excess off if you do not need it.
You then need to straighten the wire using your hands and pliers or vice, it does not need to be perfect.
At this point I usually select a piece of driftwood around 30mm in diameter and cut a piece for the trunk of the tree around 80 - 100 mm long. This then needs a hole boring through the centre slightly larger than the diameter of your wire. This is where a vice is useful to hold the wood securely.
Since you have the drill to hand you may as well drill holes through your collected driftwood that you plan to use for your branches. A little time should be spent choosing where to drill with regard to where the branch will be located on the wire and how it will look on your tree. Then drill you hole approximately half way along its length.
I tend to drill all of my driftwood collection and select branches as I build my tree. Lastly I select a piece of driftwood for the top of the tree and bore a hole part way through the centre.

Step 4: Assembly

Ok, turn on your hot glue gun to allow it time to heat up. A useful tip here is to heat your stone up before you start too, otherwise it will cool the hot melt glue before you insert the wire spine. A warm oven or radiator would do, however I used a hot air gun to take the chill out of the stone. Please be careful when you handle your stone in case it's too hot to handle!
Now it time to assemble. Check the hole you drilled in the stone is clear of dust. Fill the hole in the hot stone with hot melt and then insert your wire spine, then apply more hot melt around the point where the wire enters the stone and thread your trunk onto the wire and into the glue.
Seat it firmly and allow to cool.
Sort your branches into lengths and when the trunk has set, starting with your longest branches, thread your branches onto your wire and add a spot of glue to stop it spinning before adding the next branch. Add the next branch and turn it until you are happy and secure with a dab of glue. Continue until you are at your desired height. At this point cut off the excess wire approximately 30mm above the last branch fitted. Then add a spot of glue and fit your tree top, trimming the wire if needed for a snug fit.
Hey presto! you have a beach tree!

By now the dog is totally bored and wants to go back to the beach!

Step 5: Light It Up!

If you wish to add lights to your tree, I used the 40 LED battery lights from this eBay seller.


However it's up to you. I started at the bottom of my tree and simply added a spot of hot melt glue to the tips of branches where I felt the lights looked good and worked my way up the tree ensuring the spacing worked for the amount of lights I had. I secured the battery box around the trunk with cable ties ensuring the switch was accessible. Just need to tidy everything up, hot glue threads etc fit batteries and your done.

I hope you have fun if you choose to make a tree, the grandchildren love to help make them!



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    10 Discussions

    I love driftwood and have mountains (well, small hills) of it. Thanks for sharing a great idea that I can use it for .

    1 reply

    Your very welcome.
    Please add a few pictures if you do make them.

    What a creative idea. I just love it and to give crafted gifts even better. I was curious if you treat the wood to a cleaning or does it just dry out and look that smooth & white? I have access to lake wood on Table Rock lake, the drift wood I notice is larger usually full of bark. I will start to pay attention to smaller stuff now.

    1 reply

    The driftwood I collect from the beach is just as it appears. The sea washes the driftwood onto the beach with sand and removes the bark and smooths the surface to what you see in the pictures. I often throw branches back into the sea for " further processing" if it's not ready to use. Not sure how long it's in the sea for though.

    I hope you make more things and post them soon!

    1 reply

    I do, I make the Owls you can see next to the very bored dog, hedgehogs,tea light holders and picture frames from driftwood too.

    Sadly no, it's just a case of starting collecting driftwood in ideal weather here.

    What a great looking tree! Wonderful addition to any home!

    1 reply

    Thank you, your very kind. They make great Christmas presents too.