The process of preserving the driftwood is the most time consuming. But it’s important to preserve it so you don’t get bugs or mold or anything else gross down the line.
I started by collecting driftwood on the beach. I tried to find smaller pieces so I wouldn’t have to do as much cutting, but that wasn’t always the case. I looked for good pieces without mold, or bugs, or anything else that might seem a little off. And I would recommend collecting a lot more than you think you will need, because you will lose some pieces in the preservation process and having more gives you more options when constructing your project.
I got my driftwood home and washed off all of the sand and ocean debris. Next, I let it sit in a bucket of room temperature water for two days. You will want to keep it in your garage or someplace sheltered from the outside. I warn you when you come back to this bucket it will be stinky so you may not want to keep it in your house.
Next, over the course of two days you want to pour a pot of boiling water over it. I keep the driftwood in my sink and use my spaghetti pot for it. Like I said initially the driftwood is stinky so I like to have my pot ready for the first pour when I take it out of the bucket. This helps to relieve the smell. Now it will be a little stinky but not too bad at all. Like I said I leave it in my sink for the next two days.
After I’m done with the boiling water I let my driftwood sit in the garage until it dries out. The best and quickest way I have found is to lay it out on a towel. You don’t want to keep it in a bucket because the pieces won’t dry evenly and you don’t want mold.
Once dry, you can spray some pesticides over the wood if you want, but I didn’t and so far have had no issues. I just went straight to varnishing. I found a spray varnish at Lowes that is perfect for this sort of thing. I spray one side and then a few hours later I spray the other. I usually let the driftwood sit for a day before working with it because it can be sticky after spraying the varnish if not fully dried.
And your driftwood is now good to go.