Lockdown Crafts: Driftwood Candle Shades

K is always beach combing on daily dog walks and comes home with sea glass, pottery fragments, shells, interesting looking stones and pieces of driftwood. I’ve had a pile of driftwood sitting around waiting for a purpose since last year so today I’ve been using some of the smaller pieces to make these shades to sit over candle jars (I’m always wary of putting something combustible like wood near a naked flame, but it’s safer when there’s glass in between).

First a word about treating the driftwood. I submerged the newly collected pieces in a tub of bleach solution and left it to soak for a couple of weeks, to kill any worms, insects or fungus, then rinsed them with clean water and put them in mesh bags in the airing cupboard to dry out thoroughly.

I used a plastic jar as a mould, but needed to find a way to release it from the hot glue, so I began by putting a paper sleeve round it, secured with tape. I put put some strips of folded paper inside the sleeve – the idea was that if I pulled these out first, then the jar would slide out more easily. I found that the hot glue didn’t stick too firmly to the low tack tape so I taped all over the paper sleeve.

Using the glue gun, I stuck the first layer of driftwood pieces directly on to the mould. I kept the mould on a flat surface and made sure the sticks were touching the table all the way round so the shade would stand up without rocking when complete.

The next layer was stuck on to the sticks in the first layer, ensuring it was glued in at least two places. The second layer pieces were placed at an angle to the first to ensure that all the pieces were locked together. I found the easiest way to apply the glue was to hold the glue gun nozzle over the joint and allow the hot glue to dribble into the gap, then hold the piece in place until the glue hardened.

I continued until the whole mould was covered, then I pulled out the strips of paper to release the sleeve and the jar slid out quite easily. I was then able to gently pull the tape- covered paper away from the glue on the first layer.

I continued to add more driftwood pieces, including some to the inside, until I was happy with the result.

I’ve made two of the shades. I prefer the taller one, where I kept the sticks closer to vertical – the other one was more random. I really must take more care with the glue gun though. Much as I love using it, I have sustained a couple of blisters in the process!