Make Your Own Water Vase from Driftwood with This Guide
If that sounds of interest, follow this simple guide to making your very own.
Like any project of this nature, you will need some equipment and other materials to get you started.
Tools and equipment needed
- Piece of driftwood or scrap wood
- Colorless epoxy
- Powdered dyes
- Clear varnish
- Table saw
- Lathe sculpting tools
- Mini lathe
Step 1: Prepare the wood
The first step is to take your scrap wood or driftwood and prepare it.
To do this, use your table saw to cut off any irregular shapes like branch stems, etc, as needed.
Mix pots of epoxy and colored dyes (in this case blue and black) and pour over the offcuts in another container.
Pour the black and blue epoxies in alternating layers. Continue until the offcuts are completely submerged. Seal the container and allow the epoxy to cure.
Step 2: Machine the epoxy block
Next, trim off the excess at the top of the epoxy block with a grinder, and drill a hole through the center for mounting on your lathe.
With that complete, secure the epoxy block into your lathe. Fire it up and grab your sculpting tools.
Then, take your sculpting tools and begin to work the epoxy block to the shape you want.
This will get messy, so be prepared. Also make sure you wear gloves and some face protection, as needed.
Once you are happy, take the epoxy block out of the lathe, and fill any gaps with more resin (if any). Allow curing once again.
Step 3: Continue shaping the vase
Next, turn the vase block around in your lathe. Now begin to work the shape some more.
You can make the vase whatever shape you'd like, but try to add some ridges, a lip, and a well-defined base.
Now, add a coring tool to your lathe and begin to hollow out the vase. Start with a smaller bore, working up to larger ones as the hole gets bigger.
You can then finish the vase void using hand tools.
With that complete, you can use some other sculpting tools to add more details to the outside, or inside, of the vase, as desired.
Step 4: Sand down the vase
With the vase still in the lathe, begin to use different grades of sandpaper to sand down and smooth the surface of the vase inside and out.
Once complete, your vase should look something like this.
Next, cover the outside of the vase in varnish and work into the vase surface. Apply using a paintbrush.
Fire up the lathe, and work the varnish into the vase using a rag or cloth. Work it backward and forwards smoothly and evenly.
Do the same for the top of the vase and the interior. Keep working on it until you are left with a nice shiny luster.
Step 5: Finish the base
With the main vase body complete, it is now time to finish off the base. Turn the vase around in the lathe, and secure it into place accordingly.
Then begin to work the base as needed. You will want to make it as flat as possible so the vase will sit properly on a surface. Continue to whittle down as required.
Sand down as needed too. Once complete, add a layer of varnish to match the main vase.
Polish the base to match the main vase luster. Finally level off, if needed, any extra bits of material from the base using a grinder with polishing attachment -- notably, any attachment points to the lathe.
Varnish and polish once again, as needed.
With that, your DIY driftwood vase is now complete. Find somewhere prominent to display it and bask in the glory of your craftsmanship.
Now you can move on to another, more ambitious project, like a carpenter's hammer, for example.
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