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!

10 Observations After 100 Days of Lockdown

  1. I miss hugs. Shortly before lockdown (when things were just starting to get a bit scary) we met up with friends who were staying nearby. As they arrived at the pub we all just sat down (normally it would be hugs all round). It felt weird. It’s hard on huggers!

2. The contents of my handbag have changed. Not that I go out much, but essential items now include mask, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser.

3. I’d have no social life at all if it wasn’t for Zoom. Regular quiz nights, coffee mornings, choir and ukelele sessions and even a hen party have all been made possible thanks to the joys of video conferencing. Can’t get it to work for me to initiate meetings though – annoying!

4. Our language has changed. Words like lockdown, furlough and social distancing are now part of our everyday conversation. We even sign off e-mails differently …..stay safe.

5. I’ve rediscovered baking (like everyone else) – mainly scones and banana loaf. I have had to add baking powder to plain flour as there was no self-raising available, but that works fine.

6. I miss my hairdresser. I have made a messy attempt to trim my fringe as it was annoyingly in my eyes and out of sheer boredom I dyed my hair pink. Daughter said I was having a mid-life crisis. It was only a temporary colour but I thought it would at least cover my grey roots. Alas no! I’m still having to cover them up with a hairband. The pink is washing out now.

7. I’m drinking more (like everyone else). Not excessively, it’s just that if I go out I’m usually driving. Now all the social activities on Zoom are accompanied by a large gin and tonic!

8. I seem to have fallen out with some of my hobbies – I’ve not picked up knitting needles or crochet hook for weeks and am only blogging occasionally. I’ve done some crafty odds and ends, but struggle to settle to anything.

9. The diary is empty. The number of things that have been cancelled is crazy. Our holiday in North West Scotland, various concerts and shows I had tickets for, and a craft course – all off. Holidays and 2 of the gigs are rearranged for next year. It’s a long wait but at least there’s something to look forward to.

10. I’m ok. I’ve had bad days (like everyone else) but that’s fine. They haven’t been very often. I suppose that after a period of readjustment lockdown became a new normal. I’m pretty lucky, with a supportive family, living in a place I love. Coming out of lockdown will be another readjustment that maybe I’m not quite ready for yet.

How has your life changed under lockdown?