Driftwood Anchor- Whale and Initial

My daughter and I recently took a girls trip to Vancouver Island. We gathered up some small driftwood pieces and shells on our travels along the way. I decided to use them to make a special souvenir of the trip for both of us. I really love how they turned out.
My DIY West Coast souvenir
I started by gathering small pieces of every shape and color driftwood. When I got home I soaked them in vinegar overnight. I then laid the pieces on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and dried long and slow in the oven. I would have dried them in the sun, but it was pouring rain outside.
Cut out using 1/8" Hardboard from Home Depot.
Next I went to Home Depot and bought a sheet of 24" X 48" X 1/8" Hardboard. The sheet I bought was big enough for 2 - 20" tall Anchors and cost $3.00.
I made an anchor template on paper that was 20" tall, then traced it onto the Hardboard.
Then had my hubby cut them out with a jigsaw, this material (Hardboard) is easy to cut. You don't need a perfect cut or shape as it all gets covered.
There will be rough papery edges that come right off with a quick run over with a sanding block.
Next I did a quick paint job using grey. Craft paint or anything you have on hand is fine. Once that dried, I then went over it with a watered down brown craft paint. To be honest the grey probably wasn't needed, I could have gone straight to the brown. After painting, any bald spots you may have won't be noticeable. See the next picture for the brown.
For hanging, I tied a long piece of burlap twine right under the round piece on the top. If you look close you can see it, but it blends right in. I wrapped it around a few times and tied it in the back. Do this before you start gluing anything. It could also be hung using those 3M things that you stick on the wall without needing a nail. It is light enough for that too.
Now start laying out the pieces working in small sections. When you're happy with the layout in your first small section, it's time to start gluing. Continue like that until you're done.
I added each piece by first using a bead of Carpenters glue topped with a bead of hot glue. Don't add too much as you don't want it oozing out and showing.
When I was done gluing the wood, I then added a few shells using only hot glue. This can be tricky and you may get a burn or two :-)
Now we both have a souvenir of our trip that is truly special.
Total cost for each anchor was about $2.50 including materials. They are 20" tall, so they are quite large.
My daughter hung hers in a bathroom and mine is in my beach themed spare room. I think I covered everything, any questions feel free to ask.
I did this whale last night, it just needs a few more pieces added. I will be hanging this outside on a shed wall. The wood for the whale was gathered off the banks of a river in my town. You can find small pieces of driftwood like this anywhere. You don't need to be near an ocean. :-)
East coast driftwood
We went to Newfoundland this summer to my husband's birthplace. I grabbed little pieces everywhere we went and made this for our east coast souvenir.

Suggested materials:

  • Driftwood and Shells
  • 1/8" Hardboard  (Home Depot)

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Annie Grace
    on May 30, 2016

    Why did you soak the driftwood in vinegar?

    • Cheryl Richards
      on Jun 1, 2016

      It's actually the same in Canada but not generally enforced unless you are in a park area. :)

  • Sue
    on May 30, 2016

    Why did you soak in the vinegar? Thanks.

    • Tracy Jo
      on May 30, 2016

      To kill any little critters that may have been living inside.

  • Darrell
    on May 30, 2016

    What does the vinegar do?

    • Tracy Jo
      on May 30, 2016

      @Darrell Kills any little spiders or other insects that may be living in it.

Join the conversation

4 of 67 comments
  • Sam Bo
    on Aug 23, 2017

    Great job on all your Driftwood projects I followed you from the Mad Hatter Hats I wanted to see if you had other projects I liked and I am glad I did!
    • Tracy Jo
      on Aug 23, 2017

      Thanks very much Sam, glad you like them. I still smile when I notice these things on the wall. I gathered up more driftwood over the summer, I'll make a few more in the winter months for gifts. Pretty easy stuff to do, give it a go. Any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks again :-)

  • Sea Trace Creations
    on Sep 4, 2019

    Very nicely done, I work with East Coast driftwood since I live in Newfoundland. I just finished my first Humpback whale, lots of room for improvement but it's a start. Its wonderful to see other driftwood creations here like yours on Hometalk!

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