By Ande Waggener
The question of how to use decorative driftwood branches is a popular one these days. Driftwood home accessories are trending on the interior design scene. Given the overall design shift toward organic elements in room styling and a smart focus on environmentally friendly design elements and repurposing materials, it makes sense to incorporate the natural world into your home.
Because driftwood sacrifices no trees and because it makes for one-of-a-kind design pieces, it can be a great addition to your home décor. If you’d like to add some driftwood branches to your rooms, here are three driftwood decorating ideas to help you do that.
Prop it Up
One of the easiest ways to get driftwood branch décor in your space is to simply put it there. You don’t need anything fancy to do this. All you have to do is find it, pick it up, and decorate with it.
When you find a nice piece of driftwood or other branch or piece of wood, all you have to do is clean it up and put it on a shelf or table surface.
If you want to use it to create a vertical design element, “plant” it among rocks, dirt, or decorative moss in whatever type of container fits your décor.
Light it Up
A driftwood branch can make a fine “lamp base.” If you’re handy, you can wire driftwood to actually transform it into a lamp. But if such a project is beyond your skill set, that’s okay. All you really have to do is hang a single bulb from a branch and voila … an instant light fixture that’s unique and functional.
Hang it Up
A little higher on the complexity scale, tree branch wall décor is another way to incorporate driftwood into your room design. Adding some unexpected interest and texture to the usual artwork hanging on your walls, a driftwood branch wall sculpture can be eye-catching.
Do you think hanging driftwood art like this might be too big of a project? Think again. Here’s how to create your own decorative driftwood branch wall hanging:
Find a decorative driftwood branch you love. I found this one lying on the beach one day, just at the tide line. It hung out in my yard for a while, but it just begged to be on my wall.
Either find or create a base to mount the branch on. I think it’s more fun to find the base. I’m always on the lookout for chunks of wood that can make driftwood sculpture bases.
Clean the branch and the base. They’re either going to have dirt or sand imbedded in the cracks. You need to get all of that washed off. A light scrub with some warm water is generally all you need to clean driftwood. Once you’ve cleaned it, set it aside indoors for several days to dry.
Once your driftwood is dry, sand it. Although this step isn’t essential, it does make a much more polished art piece. You can either use sand paper squares to hand sand it, or you can use a small electric sander. You’re not after a perfect sanding job here. Just smooth out the rough edges. If you sand it too much, you’ll lose the branch’s natural character.
When you sand the base, you can use a larger sander if you have one.
Apply a coat of polycrylic sealer to the driftwood. Thin the polycrylic with water (a ratio of three parts polycrylic to one part water) and apply it with a small foam brush. Use a very small amount at time to avoid bubbles and dripping. On the branch itself, you probably only need one coat unless you want a very shiny finish. The goal here is to protect and seal the wood.
On the base, two to three coats will create a more finished look.
Once your pieces are dry, it’s time to connect them. We used two 2” wood screws to attach the branch to the base; screw them in from the underside of the base so they’ll be hidden from view.
After your driftwood branch is securely mounted to the base, it’s time to hang it on the wall. If you can find a stud (using a stud finder or the old fashioned tap and listen method), anchoring the driftwood to a stud is best. If you can’t, use a wall anchor.
If you want to center your piece over a piece of furniture, like a headboard, for example, you’ll need to do a little measuring. The process is a little tricky if your branch to base mounting is off-center (which, because of the nature of branches, it probably will be). (Covering whatever furniture you’re working above is a good idea so you don’t have to clean up bits of sawdust after drilling holes.)
Measure the width of the furniture and mark the midpoint with a small pencil mark on the wall.
Measure your branch from tip to tip lengthwise and make a mark at the midpoint on the back of the branch.
Now that you have the two midpoints, you can hold the branch on the wall so that its midpoint lines up with the midpoint of your furniture. Then make a mark above the base, where you want to attach it to the wall.
Affix your branch to the wall using two 2-inch or 3-inch wood screws. We used brown screws so they would blend into the base.
And that’s all there is to it. The process is relatively quick and inexpensive. And the result is a one and only piece of artwork you can be proud of.
And as a bonus, around the holidays, you can even hang ornaments on your branch.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Ande Waggener and www.shutterstock.com