Even within a crafting category, such as candle making, there are always thousands of potential themes within one category. One example is a beach/coastal theme.
The beach or coastal theme is popular among those who own vacation, beach, or lake homes. Including coastal decor creates a lighthearted and tropical feel.
One material commonly used for coastal craft projects is driftwood. Though it can be hard to find just the right pieces, driftwood makes a great decorative material for candleholders, picture frames, lamps, and more.
So, where do you find driftwood for craft projects? To find driftwood for craft projects, the best place to look is a public riverbank, lake shore, or beach. If you live too far away from a body of water like this, you can purchase driftwood from online shops or craft stores.
If you’ve been trying to get your hands on that perfect collection of driftwood but just can’t seem to find it, then you’re in luck. We’ll review all the best places where you can find driftwood for your next craft project – whether free in nature or purchased in stores.
Where To Find Driftwood In Nature
Driftwood is wood that has been carried by the current of a large body of water and drifted to shore. You can easily find driftwood by searching the shores of a river, lake, or beach, but be cautious. Some of these waters are private property or have laws against collecting driftwood.
Before you head towards your nearest body of water, ensure that it’s public land and is okay to collect driftwood from. It’s also good to try and plan to search for driftwood at the right time. The ideal time to go is early in the morning or after a storm.
In the morning, you’ll be able to find any driftwood that was carried to shore overnight. After a storm, there’s been a lot of movement in the water, so more things than usual tend to wash ashore after the weather calms.
You can also go during low tide. This is when the water isn’t reaching as far up on the shore. If driftwood pieces made it to shore earlier, the water won’t reach high enough to bring them back into the current.
You won’t need to bring much with you to collect driftwood. Depending on the size you’re looking for, all you’ll really need is a bag to carry it in.
Protective gloves, such as gardening or work gloves, can be a good idea in case some of the driftwood pieces have sharp or rough edges. Gloves can help protect against splinters.
Gloves are also good if you plan to dig around underneath the dirt or sand to try and find driftwood that may be buried under sediment.
Driftwood can come in many sizes – from 1” to several feet long. Consider the size of driftwood you want to collect for your craft projects and plan accordingly.
For example, if you want to get large pieces to place on their own as decoration, you’ll need to bring something bigger than a bag to carry it home.
Note: Any driftwood you find in nature will need to be sanitized via boiling and possibly bleached for safety.
If you’d like an in-depth tutorial for how to find driftwood near a lake, take a look at this video from Greg Jones.
Where To Buy Driftwood
People who live in landlocked states won’t have the ability to travel to a beach easily, so rivers or lakes may be a better option.
However, if you’re too far away from a river or lake too, then you may have to resort to buying your driftwood rather than finding it in nature. You’ll also have to go through the process of boiling and possibly bleaching anything you find in nature for safety, so buying something that’s already been treated is much more convenient.
Buying driftwood can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Some people will charge a lot of money for shipping, but if you find the right retailer, you can get driftwood for a good bargain.
Below are some of the places we recommend you search to buy driftwood.
Amazon can be a great first place to look for driftwood.
You may have to be wary of product listings depending on the price. Some sellers on Amazon will try to sell manufactured wood that’s been altered to appear like driftwood.
The product we linked above has a lot of great reviews, though some people have complained that some of their driftwood pieces were manufactured rather than natural.
However, that isn’t always a bad thing! If it looks like real driftwood, then you can still use it in your craft project, even if it isn’t.
This is especially true if you’re trying to make a quick and temporary craft project that doesn’t need to be displayed long term, such as wedding centerpieces.
The good thing is that you get a decent amount of driftwood for a fair price, and on Amazon, it’s usually free shipping.
If you want more of a guarantee that your driftwood will be natural, then Etsy is a good place to look.
Etsy has several product listings of driftwood, ranging in price and variety. You can get a pack of small pieces, or purchase a large branch of driftwood, depending on your project.
The driftwood listed on Etsy is more likely to be genuine, since these products are provided by real people and not a large corporation. Many of the products are provided by people who live near a body of water and can easily collect driftwood anytime.
Etsy may seem a little higher in price compared to Amazon and some of the other retailers listed here, but it’s worth the investment when you know you’re getting the real deal.
If you use driftwood on a regular basis to make coastal crafts, you can even develop a relationship with a seller on Etsy and have a consistent and stable supplier for all your driftwood needs.
3. Hobby Lobby
The cheapest product listing by far comes from Hobby Lobby. At just under $5 for a pack of 7.05 ounces, you can get a small amount of natural looking driftwood.
This driftwood seems to be pre-cleaned and maybe a little sanded, so if you’re searching for a more rustic look, then this may not be the driftwood for you.
If you already planned to clean and sand your driftwood for a more polished look, then Hobby Lobby has already done some of the work for you!
The pieces vary in length, so you can still have a whimsical look to your craft, whether it’s a candleholder, wall decoration, birdhouse, or even just filler in a rustic bowl as a centerpiece.
Since the product listing is so cheap, you can purchase several at a time to get a large amount of driftwood at a fair price.
4. DIY Driftwood
DIY Driftwood is a small company in Sebastian, Florida that strives to help crafters across the country make their own coastal DIY projects with the best driftwood possible.
They offer free shipping, which helps cut down on costs. You can purchase their pack of 50 natural driftwood pieces that range from 5-12” in size.
We love their bundle because you get larger pieces in a wider variety for a very fair price. You know you’re getting a high-quality set of driftwood pieces and supporting a small business while doing so.
They even provide articles and guides for people looking to work with driftwood. Check out their tutorial on making your own driftwood.
They teach you how to take natural, rustic pieces of wood and properly clean and finish them to look like the driftwood you’re used to seeing on commercially made coastal décor.
5. Flea Markets
Another place you can search to buy driftwood is the flea market.
Most cities and towns have flea markets available on certain days, usually Saturdays and Sundays. It can be a good idea to look up “flea markets in my area” to see what they might have.
If you live in a landlocked state, you’re going to be less likely to have luck finding driftwood at a flea market.
But if you live somewhere near a beach, river, or lake and you’re unable to go find the driftwood yourself, a flea market could be a good place to check.
6. Souvenir Shops
Finally, souvenir shops are great places to find driftwood.
Maybe you don’t live near a body of water, but your family is planning a vacation to a beach or lake. Take the opportunity to search for some driftwood!
You can try to find your own while on the beach or lake, or you can check the souvenir shops in town to see what driftwood they have available.
Souvenir shops in a lakeshore or beach area will generally have small bundles of driftwood available for purchase. You may not have the best selection, but you’re sure to find a little bag of driftwood pieces.
Not all souvenir shops will carry driftwood, so you may have to shop around to find one that does. If you’ve tried a few and haven’t had any luck, just ask someone! They might know of a local shop that does carry driftwood.