Creating a Humpback Whale With Driftwood

10 Materials
4 Hours

This project was a new challenge I set out for myself to create a whale from driftwood pieces. I've made so many things in the past for my home from driftwood and now I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and try something new.First things first, study and try to recreate the shape of these particular whales. I made a paper outline and then a styrofoam humpback years ago which I still have. Looking back, it was okay but the dorsal fin wasn't in the right place and his tail was too long.

Humpback Shape Study

I embellished it with paint and things and it was part of my gallery wall until I got this idea to make one with Driftwood!

Styrofoam Humpback

It served its purpose and again I'll say I'm hoping to improve my skills as I try to create this new one. So for this new pattern I moved the fin back and changed his tail when I made the paper template. This outline was then traced onto thin, 1/8" thick MDF board that locally here we call ranger board. I was able to carefully cut it with just my utility knife, scuff the edges with a sanding block or leave rough because afterall it will be covered over with Driftwood!

Whale Paper Pattern

As with all driftwood crafts the wood gets collected, sterilized and dried first. I used wood glue as a permanent glue and hot glue as a temporary hold until the wood glue got set up. The pieces are placed much as like you would do a puzzle following the shape of your outline. I sometime would shave off slivers and ends of the wood pieces with my utility knife to make a more snug fit.Here's where my inexperience came through...I was so eager to make the whale I failed to notice I had his jawline all wrong! I was making a sockeye salmon!! Do you see that in the top portion of the photo below? I should have been working with those pieces flipped over as the bottom portion shows! Ohhh no!No use in crying, I set out to cut out another base template from recycled cardboard this time. The poor whale....I had to remove pieces , chop off fins and rearrange the poor guy to get him back in shape! I can do this....sure I can!

Jawline Comparison

So without confusing you too much on my blunder, I did get him back in shape. Onto the smaller details, his eye was going to be a unique feature so I set out to fill in the eye socket with black marker since the whales eyes are mostly dark. I remembered I had little googly eyes for crafting but they were too white. Solution, cut the white backing off, this gave me the shape and sheen I wanted against the black to create the perfect eye! Just a little trace of E6000 along the edge secured it in place.

Creating the Whale Eye

To conceal the carboard I had used for the backing, I normally use mod podge and brown paper to cover the backs. Apply a layer of mod podge then spread and smooth the brown paper onto the back, trim the excess off with an exacto cutter after it has dried.

Applying Brown Paper backing

Heres the whale with the back covered and prepaing to add the hanging hardware. I measured the length of the whale to find the center placement for the hardware. It's just a regular picture frame hook that I adhered to the cardboard with E6000, I left it to dry overnight. Sea-more the Humpback! He's looks pretty good after all that he's been through don't you agree?

Driftwood Humpback Whale

He may not be huge, he may not be perfect but he's my first whale! I am so pleased that I was able to create him and now I know that I can do it I have a Beluga Whale in my future plans!Sea-more has now replaced Styro Whale 😄 as part of the update to my gallery wall. I need to add a few more items to complete the new look, I just haven't gotten to that yet!

Gallery Wall with Driftwood Whale

If you'd like to view more details on making items with driftwood, here's the link to another one of my previous posts. Below" target="_blank">" target="_blank"> *Cost based on completing this one item, you will only use a small amount of each product listed in materials.

On Display

Here's Seamore the Humpback on display in my craft room amongst other ocean life and beach combed art I have created. I really hope this has motivated you to try creating with Driftwood! Enjoy!

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4 of 35 comments
  • Wendy Wendy on Feb 29, 2020

    You say he’s not perfect! Looks pretty darn perfect to me!!!! Great art, thank you for sharing with us.

    • I somehow missed your comment, notificstions didnt come through?? I'm so sorry but at least I see it now, thank you for your positivity and support...always! Miss you lots!😘

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Apr 25, 2020

    This is fantastic! I am so glad I hopped over to check out all of your fun coastal pieces!! This is a great to do it on cardboard!

    • I'm so honored to have you visit, thanks and yes it makes it super easy and lightweight to hang. I've been using cardboard for years and if there's a need to conceal it on the side I've rope. Thanks Chloe!