Hello, hello! Last Wednesday I read this post from these two uber-talented (and funny) gals, Katie B and Sherry P and REALLY wanted to participate. This time around they are co-hosting the challenge with Ana White and Erin from House of Earnest.
stalked followed the summer challenge and just loved the idea and the projects that were submitted. But at that point I hadn’t taken the plunge into Pinterest OR blogging. But, I had just gone beach combing to gather driftwood to make something like this pic I had pinned. (Pic source here.)
And, since I live on the island of Curaçao and am literally surrounded by driftwood AND fancy myself a DIYer I figured I’d give it a go. First, I made this one:
then I made a couple more…
As you can see, I played around with decorating them with a combination of coral, sea glass and more traditional Christmas tree décor. And from there I was unstoppable. Well, except when Ellen came on. Seriously, Justin Timberlake and Cold Play for the whole hour?!?! Yes please!
When we got the wood home it ended up in a pile on our patio and I started organizing it by size and separating the odd-shaped pieces that might make good “tree trunks”. (Yes, we clearly over-gathered, but there are other projects in sight.) I basically ended up with two long lines of wood in the shape of a VERY tall tree.
This made it easier to select pieces for the individual trees I was going to make since the end shape I wanted was, well, a tree. Brilliant! With the pieces all laid out I sprayed them with an anti-bacterial cleaner and let them dry thoroughly over the course of a few days. Then just brush off any loose sand, etc as you select pieces to use. (Please excuse the black dog leg and tail in the photo, you can formally meet her here.)
Buy dowels – I got ¼ inch diameter in 48 inch long segments and ½ and ¾ inch diameter in 36 inch lengths. I can give pricing, but being that I live on a Caribbean island everything is inflated. Let’s just say they’re cheap. 🙂
Make sure you have the right size drill bits – One that is the exact size of the dowel and then one slightly bigger (the wood goes on the dowel MUCH easier if the hole is slightly larger, but the snug fits are good for stability). I used a 5/16 inch drill bit as my “slightly bigger” of the ¼ inch and a 9/16 inch drill bit for the ½ inch dowel.
Gather your tools – I used a hand saw, electric drill, tape measure, pen and vice grips. From my experience the vice grips will only be necessary if you insist on man handling a piece of wood onto the dowel and then the dowel breaks while stuck in the wood.
TIP!!! I learned, after a few vice grip usages (I am nothing if not a slow learner) that if the dowel starts to stick in the driftwood make the hole slightly larger by maneuvering the drill in a circular motion with the drill in the existing hole and DON’T try to show it who is boss, you will lose.
DIY it! I started by selecting the longest piece of driftwood I wanted for each specific tree and then selected increasingly smaller pieces until I had the height I wanted. The possibilities really are limitless. Do you prefer a short, stout tree? Or maybe a tall, slender tree that would fit nicely into a corner? Or maybe a petite little one for a side or coffee table?
I like the “diversity” of the wood. So I would try to pick a round piece after a flat piece or maybe one that had some paint or texture after a flat, smooth piece. But again, make it to your own style. Maybe a more streamlined look of all the same color and shape is more your style?
Once I had the wood for the tree selected I picked a “trunk”. The biggest determining factor in your options is going to be what you were able to find at the beach. (I can picture you saying “Why thank you Captain Obvious!” right now.) Anyway, it is what it is so pick from what you’ve got, or distress a small block of 2×4 or something that could work.
Then I laid my selections out to 1) make sure it seemed like it was going to look good and 2) measure the length of dowel I would need. I didn’t actually use the tape measure for this part, I just eye balled it and cut the dowel with my handsaw. I kept mine plenty long figuring it would be easier to cut more at the end than to end up needing a longer piece. (And, there are some really cute tall tree toppers that could be used if the dowel is left 6 or so inches taller than the actual tree.)
Now, just drill it – I used the drill bit the exact same size as the dowel in the “trunk” so it fits nice and snug.
As you can clearly see from the pics a real work space is not needed. 😉 I stacked a couple unused patio bricks to create a work surface (with a small separation in the middle for drilling and sawing) and sat in a beach chair because it was just the right height. Measure half the length of the piece of wood and then I just eye balled half the width.
I actually kept the tape measure in the locked position and right there on my work surface because you will repeat this step for each piece of wood. (Remembering to switch between your two drill bits as you see fit.) I chose to drill one piece at a time and then add it to the tree as I went, then I could see how each piece looked and determine which drill bit I should use next.
I found this tree pic here.