We normally buy a real Christmas tree but I’ve been keen to make a driftwood tree for years, although I thought it would be too complicated. This is a really easy nature-inspired craft project. If you think a driftwood tree is difficult to make then read on. This took around 40 minutes and cost just 99p for the piece of dowling!

In my simple, family-friendly tutorial you will learn how to make a driftwood tree and be surprised at how easy it is. The hardest bit is remembering to collect the wood next time you’re at the beach! (My winter beachcombing post tells how we finally came to make ours)

You will need:

  • 20 to 30 pieces of smooth, bleached driftwood sticks (ours uses 25) without bark and bleached pale, though rougher, well-weathered pieces work well too
  • Stable chunk of drifwood for the base
  • Drill with large bit
  • Dowl rod the same width as your drill bit
  • (Glue/hot glue gun/washers – optional, we did not use)

Lay out the sticks in size order and select 25-30

What to do:

1. Collect driftwood sticks

2. Allow the driftwood to dry (a week or so in the shed or garage)

3. Buy a dowling rod

4. Drill a hole in the base piece and attach the dowling with a screw from underneath

5. Lay out the driftwood sticks in size order

6. Select the pieces for use, breaking or cutting any to size if required

7. Drill a hole through the centre of each stick (see photo)

8. Push the sticks down the dowling rod, largest first getting smaller towards the top

You can glue in between to secure each stick to the one below or use washers to secure them individually. We didn’t use either method as our dowling was too wide for the drill so the sticks fit tightly anyway.

Image close-up-of-drill-bit-making-hole-in-chunk-of-driftwood
Drill a hole in the base of your driftwood tree
Image close-up-of-hands-and-drill-on-work-bench-making-hole-in-driftwood-stick
Drill a hole in the centre of each stick
Push the sticks down the dowling rod, largest first

Wild Mummy gave the briefing, Wild Daddy drilled the sticks while Caroline headed up design (it’s better that way as Wild Daddy is more patient with Caroline than he would be with me..!)

Family time, teamwork and a top driftwood Christmas Tree!

Why not complete your tree with a driftwood star or starfish for the top? Here’s my family friendly driftwood star tutorial based on tips from The Wicker House.


I’d love to hear how you get on making a driftwood tree; let me know in the comments below – I reply to everyone.

Why not string some seashells together to make coastal tree decorations – ideal on a driftwood tree and very environmentally friendly on a normal Christmas tree. Or collect beach treasures and make a driftwood wall plaque or seashell mobile? Read the simple tutorial for more details.

For more beach activities check out Kids of the Wild’s things to do at the beach section.

And don’t forget the wildlife – another great and really simple make to try with the kids is our fabulous homemade hanging coconut birdfeeder.