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The Potential Of Driftwood As A Product


Being a mostly city dweller type of a person, I was only able to see the inside of jungles and woodlands a couple of times in my life, and rivers and streams much less. But I am always enthralled at how nature seems to have made works of art the dried woods which have fallen off trees.

You might dismiss me and say that I’m romanticizing something as simple as small pieces of dried wood. One thing you can’t deny however is that all kinds of wood in their natural unsculptured form are being sold online mostly as decorative products.

If you for example Google the search keyword: “natural wood furniture” and go to Google Images, you would see several wood furnitures that still retain the shape of the tree or branches they were cut from.

The only reason why I’m discussing the previously mentioned wood furnitures is because they are arguably the most known or seen unsculptured woods displaying many homes globally. But there are still many kinds of unsculptured wood that are being sold as decorative products like driftwood.


WHAT IS DRIFTWOOD?

According to Wikipedia, driftwood is defined as wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach of a sea, lake, or river by the action of winds, tides or waves. In some waterfront areas, driftwood is a major nuisance.

However, the driftwood provides shelter and food for birds, fish and other aquatic species as it floats in the ocean. Of course, you could find other more technical definitions of driftwood online, but I think its more important to define what separates driftwood from ordinary wood as a decoration material.

As the definition of driftwood has stated, it is wood that has drifted to the ocean, sea and other bodies of water. When wood is immersed in water and exposed to sun at the same time, the resulting wood is much more different from ordinary dried wood we find in forest and jungles.

It seems that nature has prepared driftwood as a ready made decorative material. Or could it just be a matter of supply and demand as many articles online about driftwood like to point out?

Many online articles like to point out that since driftwood is much more rarer than ordinary dried wood, they naturally command a much higher price. In this instance, I leave it to you to decide if driftwood can stand on its own merits.


SELL THEM AS THEY ARE

The most easiest way to earn money from driftwood is to sell it as it is. Many buyers of driftwood in their original form buy them so they can fashion the driftwoods that they buy according to their own terms.

They can be fashioned into furnitures, household decorations, toys, collectibles, building materials and so on. These uses would be discussed more in the succeeding paragraphs, suffice to say, driftwood is a decorative material which can be fashioned with relative ease.

But let’s go first to the easiest or most simplest use of driftwood: As an “as is” decorative natural material. That’s why you see driftwood being used to decorate nature based settings such as aquariums, terrariums, woodland style houses and so on.

A natural approach for sellers of driftwood in their original form would be to approach pet shops, and arts and craft shops whose client base could definitely appreciate the natural look of driftwood.

And this strategy seems to be old already. I have seen for example many driftwood sellers in the online arts and crafts e-commerce site, Etsy. Many of them sell driftwood in bulk like in bundles.


SELL THEM AS ART

All you have to do is Google the search keywords: “driftwood art” and go to Google images to know what driftwood art is. You can also go to YouTube and type the same search keywords to find similar videos.

The most prevalent art form for driftwood seems to be combining separate driftwoods until they form a sculpture or a piece of decorative art. For a decorative material that nature gives us for free, it’s almost a gift from nature.

It is highly advisable to study what artists and art & crafters have done creatively with driftwood to have a good idea of the income potential of driftwood as a piece of art. I found for example expensive driftwood art being sold by the reputed art dealer Saatchi Art:

Online Site: Driftwood Art - Snail Sculpture

If reputable art companies stock up on driftwood works of art, then it must mean that driftwood art is quite popular and could be profitable for the artist who makes them. You can even see driftwood art and sculpture being sold in such e-commerce sites such as Alibaba, IndiaMart, Amazon and so on.


THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING A DRIFTWOOD SCULPTURE OVER AN ORDINARY SCULPTURE

Unlike an artist who sculpts wood with sculpting tools like chisels, a driftwood sculpture combines driftwood to make a sculpture. Between the two, the wood sculpture needs more skills and training to be one.

A driftwood sculpture only needs to ensure that the form they make or “sculpt” in the lightest sense of the word is shaped like the object they are trying to form. The “object” can be anything. It can be an animal like a horse or a bird or something else.


SELL THEM AS FURNITURE

If you are not targeting the art market and think that driftwood should have a more functional use and market, you can try to create and sell driftwood furniture. Simply using the search keywords: “driftwood furniture” in both Google and YouTube would yield you results.

Since furniture lovers could also be very subjective and not just functional in their way of thinking, it is best to target buyers who are more nature or “green minded.” These are the kinds of people who want to blend nature in their lifestyle.


TARGETING THE “GREEN” FURNITURE BUYERS

It is safe to say that no driftwood furniture is the same. They make look similar, but unlike mass produced wood furniture with definite shapes and sizes, driftwood furniture largely depends on the shape and size of the driftwood itself.

As such, driftwood furnitures are usually one-off pieces of furniture with higher prices than conventional wood furniture. This makes them suitable as custom built products for buyers who want a more nature based or looking furniture.

Driftwood furniture has a major advantage over conventional wooden furniture or even any kind of furniture. They look like pieces of sculpture or art as well as something which came from nature itself.

All that one needs to do then is to find groups of people who both love art and nature. And more than likely, these kinds people would more than likely have the money to spend on such kinds of furniture.

Pinterest for example might not give you direct buyers for your driftwood furniture, but at least it can connect you to other sellers who might become your distributors, sellers and even partners in your driftwood furniture business.


SELLING THEM AS STRUCTURAL DECORATIONS

I didn’t see many images of entire walls being covered with driftwood, but they do exist. This is an extreme use for driftwood. Apparently, these kinds of driftwood products are being sold by the panel.

I saw for example a driftwood panel being sold by the Homes Direct 365 online shop. This is a sample of the product:

Online Product: Driftwood Wall Cladding Panel

As can be seen, driftwood seems to come with readymade decorative properties from nature and even home building companies are marketing them as building materials like in this instance as wall claddings.

I will not be surprised if I find doors for example to be made entirely or partially with driftwood. I have also found stair railings being composed of a group or a singular driftwood. As can be seen, driftwood has a good place in architecture.


SELLING THEM AS TOYS

A long time ago, before the age of steel and plastic, toys used to be made from wood. This just means that driftwood can be made into toys. I found a good example of how driftwood can be made into toys which are almost works of art:

Pinterest: Driftwood Automata

As can be seen, driftwood could also be marketed to children and for those who are young at heart or just plain mechanically curious. But driftwood toys don’t have to be complex automata toys, they can just be plain wooden dolls.

Since adult toy collectors rather than children would appreciate these kinds of toys more, it is advisable that you market them more to these adult toy collectors. Let’s use for example the previous toy automata, you can market these toys to adults who are fascinated with automata.


SELLING THEM AS JEWELRY

If you think the driftwood you have collected are very small and may even be in pieces, take heart. You can still find a marketable use for them.You can sell them as pieces of jewelry. You only need to search Google or YouTube using the search keyword: “driftwood jewelry.”

Driftwood jewelry can be as simple as painting driftwood with color or adding natural looking strings and rocks on them. Or you can just sell them as they are. The best move would be to try to make a few inexpensive styles of these jewelry so you can see which ones are selling.


HOW ABOUT THIS FOR A VALENTINES GIFT?

There is nothing more symbolic than a man carving out the name of himself and the girl he loves in the trunk of a tree together with a heart symbol. Driftwood sellers could try to sell this symbolic token of affection to lovers during Valentine Day.

Men and even women could have their names etched in a piece of driftwood emulating a lover carving their name and their lover in a tree trunk. Not many people get to carve trees for their loved ones, this could be a substitute.


CONCLUSION

Driftwood seems to come as a readymade decorative object from nature. It is distinct from ordinary dried wood. This distinction is a result of it being immersed in water and exposed to the sun.

There are many decorative uses for driftwood. It can be used in its original form, turned to art, furniture, architectural object, toy, jewelry and so on. It is advisable that you don’t pass the opportunity to make money from driftwood as they come free from nature.




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