Make a driftwood Christmas tree

Christmas Tree Made From Driftwood | scooms

We’ve been feeling festive and getting Christmas crafty here at scooms! We picked up some lovely sun blanched and sea smoothed driftwood while we were in Cornwall this summer and Jonathan has turned it into a wonderfully festive ornamental Christmas tree.

Here is Jonathan’s quick and easy guide to making your own festive driftwood Christmas tree. It took him a couple of hours to put together. You can scavenge most of the things you need, there’s no DIY expertise required, and you only need one power tool, a drill!


What do I need to make my driftwood Christmas tree?

Here are the essentials you’ll need to make your driftwood tree. Don't worry if you haven't got exactly the same materials, just use what you can find!

  • Driftwood in various sizes.
  • Wooden dowel rod - we used a 9mm diameter x 900mm long rod. You can find these in most DIY shops.
  • Wood glue – to hold your branches in place. (Optional).
  • Base – we used a piece of slate but a large piece of driftwood will also work, it just needs to be heavy enough to support your tree.
  • Decorations – we used shells, small pieces of slate, some scooms wool dryer balls and a string of battery powered lights. Be creative!
  • String, cotton thread or fishing line - to tie your accessories onto the tree.
  • A drill and a 9mm drill bit - or the same size drill bit as your dowel rod.


Driftwood Parts For Xmas Tree | scooms


Beachcombing for driftwood

A great reason to head to the beach for the day and go for a walk. We picked up our driftwood when were we on a summer trip to Cornwall, but you can of course find it at any time of the year.

You will need an idea of how big you want to make your tree so that you know how much driftwood to collect. Our driftwood Christmas tree is 70cm tall with around 20 branches.


Tips for scavenging for driftwood

  • Get a few more pieces than you think you will need as you may get a few breakages.
  • You will need different sized pieces, larger driftwood for the bottom of the tree and smaller pieces for the top.
  • The smaller pieces will need to be wide enough for your drill – we found that 1cm diameter was about the smallest sized piece that we could use.
  • Check to see if the driftwood has any creatures or live barnacles on them. If they do, leave them where they belong, on the beach.
  • Look for driftwood that looks aged and worn – it will definitely add character to your tree.
  • Don’t forget to grab a few shells or other bits and bobs that will make great beach themed decorations.

    Driftwood Parts Sorted For Xmas Tree | scooms

    Getting your driftwood ready to use

    When you get home, rinse your driftwood in fresh water and then leave it to dry naturally.

    Once it’s dry, you can sort out your pieces. Arrange the pieces by size with the widest and longest ready to use for the bottom layers of the tree. Ideally you won’t cut the ends of your driftwood as the uncut ends will have a lovely worn effect from being in the sea.

    Remember, your tree doesn’t have to be perfect. Odd shapes and sizes will add character!


    Driftwood Drilled | scooms



    • Measure the approximate centre of each price of driftwood and drill a hole in the centre.
    • Drill a hole in the base that you are using.
    Remember to wear safety goggles!



    Driftwood Christmas Tree Before Decoration | scooms


    • Push the dowel rod through the hole in each of the pieces of driftwood branches.
    • Adjust the spacing and layout so that it looks right for your tree.
    • You might need to use a little glue to hold the branches in place if your branches slide down your tree instead of staying put.
    • If you have used glue, leave to your tree to dry until the glue has set.


    Driftwood Christmas Tree Slate Base | scooms



    This is your chance to get creative! We decorated our driftwood Christmas tree with:

    • Shells – drill a small hole in a shell, attach it to a piece of fishing line or string and tie to a branch.
    • Slate – we found some lovely small pieces of slate on the beach. Just drill a hole in each piece and attach.
    • Wool balls – we used one of our wool dryer balls for the top of our tree.
    • Lights – for the finishing touch, we used a string of battery powered LED lights.


    Driftwood Christmas Tree Shell Decorations | scooms


    That’s it!

    Your tree is now ready to take centre stage at Christmas. And it will be an impressive festive backdrop on zoom this year with the rest of the family!

    You might even want to make more driftwood trees as Christmas presents!


    Driftwood Christmas Tree with Lights | scooms

    Author: Jonathan AttwoodPublished: 4 December 2020Last modified: 25 December 2022

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