While kayaking with my family in British Columbia, I found a piece of treasure driftwood that I knew would be taking the flight back with us.
It was speckled with tiny abandoned crustacean shells, and a bit of stringy sea-moss. My family advised that I leave the hunk of slimy wood in Canada and just take the “memories.” I didn’t protest, but when they were not looking, I snuck the wood into the tip of my kayak.
It took less than 5 minutes for me to realize that the wood was actually home to an army of tiny crabs. I panicked because I thought an attack was imminent. The next 2 hours of kayaking involved me wriggling in my seat to avoid the tiny guys, and trying to coax them out with my paddle. Worth it.
After drying the wood out on our balcony, I packed it in our checked luggage. At this point, the family had accepted that I was not returning to America without it. Pictured below is the wood, I promise it was prettier before it dried out!
When I got home, the DIY project began!
– For splinter removal, I used a high-grit sandpaper. I didn’t want to sand too much, because the natural texture was neat.
– I stained the wood using Minwax, Dark Walnut Stain. I put gloves on, then put my hand in an old sock and massaged the stain into the wood. I used q-tips to get into the tiny crevices.
– I sprayed the wood with semi-gloss spray varnish. 3-4 coats is perfect, just be sure to let it dry between coats.
– I cut the top off of a metal baking tin until it was the perfect hight to be a planter. I squeezed the planter into shape, I wanted mine to follow the curve of the wood, then trimmed any areas that looked too tall.
– Using hot glue, I applied strips of moss to the outside of the tin, and just over the top edge to hide the metal. Then I glued the mossy planters to the stained wood.
– I filled with succulent potting soil, and planted my favorite tiny succulents. Tip: I bought mini succulents for the majority of the planter, but I bought one large container of ground cover because I wanted some of the plants to hang over the side.
Photo credit for little crab: http://www.trekearth.com/members/henrye/