Decorating and Craft Ideas | DIY Decorating Projects | Foyer | Trash to Treasure

Driftwood Sculpture Table Top Stand DIY

How to make your own version of modern art using a piece of reclaimed wood. Capture the organic beauty of nature and mount it to make a driftwood sculpture table top stand or petrified wood slab or slice. When mounted on a stand it will blend seamlessly with any modern or traditional space.


Over the weekend, I made something new for my foyer. Even though my house is small, there is a large 2-story foyer that needs big items that will fit the scale of the space.

I am always looking for ways to decorate it using more minimal decor that will make a decorative impact.

4 examples of driftwood or petrified wood sculptures on stands.
photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I find that I am being drawn to natural and organic decor like the wood sculptures on stands I have been seeing in decorating books and magazines similar to the ones in the above image.

I decided that was just what the sideboard in my foyer needed – a piece of modern art… but without the price tag or any wood carving skills. More to the cost of free!

Wood sculptures on stands like these can be made with reclaimed wood, petrified wood, driftwood, or any interesting piece of wood you may come upon when you are out in nature or even your yard.

I have an endless supply of interesting looking driftwood that washes up from the lake to my yard, so I have been keeping watch for a big piece.

When out kayaking a week ago, I came upon a floating section of a tree trunk that had the shape I was looking for. It was way too big, but I knew I, or shall I say, Ed could cut it to the size I envisioned with a chain saw.

kayaking and towing a driftwood log behind.

So we went home, got a rope, went back out on the lake to find the section of floating tree trunk again. We tied it up to a kayak and paddled home with it in tow. It kind of looks like an alligator, but no gators in the lake. :-)

I had to let it dry out for a week, and then got to work to create what I imagined in my head.

Make your own modern art using driftwood to make a table top display stand for it.  DIY Wood Artifact Stand accent decor.

Here is what I made with a section of the large piece of driftwood I found.

I love it! The driftwood now looks like a sculpture and gives a modern touch to the foyer. Just the look I was after.

Wood Tree cut on stand

One fun thing that happened when we went to cut a section of the log. On one end it looked like a fish, so we went with it and used that end of the log to make the a decorative piece for the foyer. :-)

Close up of a diy wood log modern art.

The other end, we cut in the overall shape of the fish face side to keep the piece of wood somewhat symmetrical.

How to make wood log modern art

The only item I had to buy to make the project was a dowel.

How to Make a Driftwood Sculpture Table Top Stand

You can make a wood stand sculpture any size you want, large or small. For this how-to tutorial, I list the sizes of the wood and dowels I used so you have a point of reference.

supplies needed:

  • Piece of driftwood or any interesting looking piece of wood. My piece measures: 36″ long x 9″ high.
  • 14 x 4 post or section of a wood pallet or a piece of wood cut to 24″ long x 2″ wide x 2-1/2″ tall.
  • 2 – 5/8″ diameter dowels. Each cut to approx. 7-1/2″ in length.
  • Black satin paint
  • Saw
  • Drill and 5/8” drill bit or to fit size of dowel
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood glue
Cutting a driftwood log to size to make diy home decor out of it.
  1. Cut the wood to the size needed using a chain saw. The size of the section I used is: 36″ long x 9″ high. We will use the rest of the wood for our lakeside fire pit.
piece of wood and dowels to make a stand to make driftwood art.

2. The bottom piece of the wood for the stand is a piece from a wood pallet that I found in the trash at Home Depot. It was the perfect size and shape. I asked if I could have it and they said yes. With wood prices so high, I was very excited to have come across it.

how to arrange wood to make a tabletop modern art stand

3. Lay out the driftwood, dowels and wood for the stand on floor or work table to envision where you want the dowels to go.

find center in wood to drill holes. Making a wood log art

3. Paint stand wood and dowels using black satin craft paint or any color you want. Let dry.

4. Mark the center part of the driftwood and stand wood to align with each other. Then mark on each were the dowel holes should be drilled.

paint and drill holes in wood

5. Using a 5/8″ drill bit, drill two holes in the driftwood and stand wood. Drill down about an inch for each.

Drill holes in driftwood

6. Drill two holes where your chalk marks are on the driftwood. Go about an inch deep.

assemble wood stand to hold petrified wood slab

7. Brush a coat of wood glue on the end of the dowels and then place in the stand. Touch up with paint if needed.

Attaching dowels to piece of driftwood and a black painted stand.

8. Repeat glue step for attaching the driftwood to the top of the dowels.

Natural wood cut on stand for tabletop modern decor.

9. Place on sideboard or console.

Make your own modern art using driftwood to make a table top display stand for it. Wood Artifact Stand. Home decor accent.

Here it is on the sideboard with nothing in front of it.

driftwood sculpture on stand on a foyer sideboard

And with a white tray of candles in front of it.

I like having options as I don’t have too many surfaces around my house to display my favorite decorative accessories.

DIY modern wood slab art on sideboard

Since the driftwood looks like a fish, I will have to name him or her. :-) Do you have any good name ideas?

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64 Comments

  1. I just love this as sculptural art!!! And I love the story behind it as well. I mean who drags a piece of wood out of the water and makes it a gorgeous work of art? You!
    Thanks for sharing the process:)

  2. Diane, what a clever and creative project. You come up with the best ideas.
    I would have to name my fish “Drift”. 😊
    Now, I would like to see more of that window that you made.

  3. That is what we at Home Depot call a sticker. When a bundle is strapped to a pallet the strapping goes in that Grove so the strapping doesn’t cut into whatever material is being palletized. Great use for it. I love how your driftwood resembles a fish. So appropriate for a home on a lake.

    1. Hi Susan – Thanks for taking the time to tell me what the piece of wood is named. I knew it had to do something with a pallet. So cool that it has an actual name and a function. I like the shape. I got two, so you may see me come up with another project using one. :-)

  4. You do have a very good eye for the possibilities of so many found items!Your project turned out beautifully!

    1. Hi Margo – I really enjoy making decor using stuff that gets discarded and for free. :-) Thanks for the fish name idea – I have been receiving so many good name ideas. It is going to be hard to choose just one.

  5. I LOVE this! Your creativity always amazes me. Several years ago I was in Hilton Head with my parents and my dad and I found a beautiful piece of driftwood. It was a tall as me but my dad HAD to have it. It was a perfect addition to their beachy casual family room!

    1. Hi Christine – I love hearing this. Using the driftwood in a decorative way is the best kind of decor as it has a story behind it and I am sure brings back fond memories of your vacation.

  6. Beautiful, looks high end! How about naming it Wanda. I can imagine from a distance it could have looked like a low key Nessie following Ed on the lake. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Michelle – I like that… a Fish named Wanda, just like the movie :-) Nessie is fun too as the currents on the water sometimes look like Nessie coming to the surface.

    1. Me too! I thought the base was iron and thought “I could never make that”. Now I can!

    1. Hi Karen – Cute name. When I first met Ed, he had a dog named Woody and when he was acting up, which he rarely ever did, we would call him Woodrow. It would be a good family name. :-)

  7. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t appreciate this more being that driftwood came straight from our lake. He did a fabulous job on cutting it and your simple stand is fabulous! I bet y’all were a sight to see pulling that big old piece with your kayaks. I would have enjoyed that! Now I’m going to have to make one of these. Hubs isn’t going to be happy because our projects are piling up around here. In fact we’ve been so busy prepping for a family 4th of July party we’ve had very little time to get on the lake. Well I think the name of your fishwood should be very easy to name, looks just like a Murray to me!

    1. Hi Mary – Murray would be very fitting. :-) Ed had a hard time towing the section of the tree home since it was curved. It kept pulling to one side, but he did it. :-) We try to get out on the lake every week kayaking. We did get out on the boat last week when a friend came to visit. When it is just Ed and I, we tend, like you to work too much around the house and not get out every week. The 4th will be here before we know it. I hope your party is a lot of fun. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Alison – Thanks. I have gotten a few natural goodies from the lake to use as decor. I am still on the hunt for a big hunk of a tree stump to use in the front flower bed. There are a few around the edges of the Picnic Islands, but most are still attached under the water. One of these days one will break free and end up on the shoreline for me to find.

  8. Your driftwood fish is very cool. I thought I was the only one who created with lake trash. I live on Lake Norman and have gotten some beautiful driftwood from the lake. I made a very nice towel rack for my pool bath to hang wet towels on. I later found one in a catalog for over $350. Needless to say, that is one craft that I’m keeping for myself. I also have had the solar lights around my dock for about 10 years now. We must think alike.

    1. Hi Nancy – We pass Lake Norman every time we head up to see our daughters in Virginia. When we we lake house hunting 5 years ago, Lake Norman was one of the lakes we looked at homes. Your towel rack sounds perfect – personally made to fill a need, plus a fun story behind it. I recently got a few solar uplights to use around the exterior of the house. I haven’t put them up yet, but it is on my list. I hope the light they emit looks nice.

  9. Brilliant! I live by a beach that gets driftwood washed up in storms. Please, where you cut off the extra wood did it look a different color? Like raw wood? Did you have to add a bit of stain to blend with the rest of the piece?

    1. Thanks Dianne – To answer your question about the color of the cut side of the driftwood. It is the color of the wood. I didn’t do anything to it to change the color. Once thing that could cause a color change could be that the chain saw may have gotten held up in the cut when cutting and caused the darkening. Not sure though.

  10. This turned out beautiful. You have inspired me again Diane. You are very gifted in the DIY department. I love the work on your home.

    1. Thanks so much Katie. DIYing is just how my brain is wired. My mind is constantly turning over ideas. The other side of my brain – the analytical side – doesn’t work well at all. :-)

  11. What a cool piece of art!!! I would name her/him after your lake 🌊. Seems perfect for your fish 🐟.
    We have a large piece of driftwood that we found while camping on the OR coast many years ago. It lives in our front yard as a sculptural piece along our dry river bed. It’s one of my favorite memories!!

    1. Hi Lynn – Thanks for the name idea. :-) I will add it to the options. I love hearing that your found piece of driftwood in your front yard, not only adds interest to your home’s facade, but brings back fond memories. That is the best kind of decor to have. I would love to find a big piece of a driftwood or remnants of a tree to add to the flower bed in my front yard. It needs a sculptural piece to add some interest to all the lines of the house. I will keep searching for it.

  12. Diane, I love it! You and Ed did a great job. I like it all by itself on the chest- I think it gives it the presence it deserves. It really fits your white and woodsy theme too. I think a good name might be The Incredible Mr. Limpet!

  13. This looks so great – how about naming it Abe Vigoda.. you know, after that old tv show and he was called Fish if I remember correctly. I’m always doing this goofy naming thing [I’m so weird]. I have a crane sculpture I call, of course, Frasier Crane and I had helped to rescue a baby hawk a couple years ago I named Alan Alda, naturally [Hawkeye Pierce for those too young to remember]. So I couldn’t resist suggesting this name for your sculpture, haha. Is it any wonder I’m always getting the eye-rolls from my kids ;]. I love your posts and am always inspired by your creativity.

    1. Hi Pj – I had forgotten all about the show. Thanks for sharing the name idea. I love that you have a theme going for what you name your items. Not weird at all… it’s fun and gives our objects – personality.

  14. I love it!! It is so stylish, trendy, and beautiful! Certainly looks far more expensive than *free*!!
    As for his name……how about Woody Lakefish? 🤦‍♀️🤔

  15. What a great idea, Diane, and almost free! I saw a fish, too, before I read your comment.

    1. Hi Terry – It wasn’t until the wood had dried out over a week and we went to cut it that we noticed the one end looked like a fish. I didn’t choose the log for that reason when I first saw it. A nice bonus.