How To Bleach Wood To Look Like Driftwood

Worn out by the harsh effects of water, driftwood is a popular choice to make decorative items. Learn how to bleach wood to look like driftwood!

How To Bleach Wood To Look Like Driftwood1

The river carries wood logs or branches with it over years and eventually, it gets carried to oceans. This wood then comes onshore after years of decay, such wood is called driftwood. The driftwood obtains a unique structure and a bleached effect with years of decay and wear. Moreover, the wood loses its bark and has a washed-off rustic appearance. Sometimes the wood sitting on the shore can also get weathered over time by the impact of the waves hitting the coast. Driftwood is a popular choice for home decor items as it emits a rustic and antique appearance.

However, natural driftwood decor can be a rare find and will be costly as a result. But the good news is that you can obtain a driftwood-like appearance to a normal wood log with some bleach and painting skills. Learn how to bleach wood to look like driftwood by following any one of the following tutorials.

How To Bleach Wood To Look Like Driftwood?

Method 1: For Logs

Materials Required

  1. Washing Soda
  2. Water
  3. Wire brush
  4. Hammer
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Protective equipment – Rubber gloves and eye protection


  1. Collect some wood logs or branched and twigs that you’d like to bleach.
  2. To replicate the wear and tear of a driftwood, distress the wood by hitting it with a hammer and scraping some wood using a chisel. Wear safety gears to protect yourself from any harm.
  3. Take some hot water in a container and slowly add washing soda to it. This solution is acidic in nature and should not come in contact with your eyes, hands, or other body parts.
  4. Use a wood piece to mix the mixture. Don’t use a spatula or other kitchen utensils as the solution is acidic in nature.
  5. Take the wood pieces that you have collected and submerge them completely in it.
  6. Leave the wood pieces in the solution for atleast a day. You can try scraping the bark off the wood using a wire brush without taking them out of the solution.
  7. Take the wood out and scrap it once again with the brush. Wash it with water and then leave it for drying under the sun.
  8. Once the logs or branches dry, scrape off any sharp edges using sandpaper.
  9. Your homemade driftwood is ready to be used!

Method 2: For Furniture

How To Bleach Wood To Look Like Driftwood2

Materials Required

  1. All-purpose cleaner
  2. Stripping agent
  3. Putty knife
  4. Protective equipment
  5. Household bleach
  6. Sponge
  7. Rag
  8. Brush


  1. Clean the furniture with an all-purpose cleaner and apply the stripping agent in a generous amount using a brush or sponge. This removes any wood stain that might be there.
  2. Let it stay for at least 2 hours. If it is dark stained, you can leave it for some more time.
  3. Now, use the putty knife to scrape off the stripper paint. This should take off any excess wood stain on the furniture.
  4. Apply bleach all over the furniture with a rag. Don’t use your hands for this step as bleach can be harmful for your skin.
  5. Once it dries, the wood will look a little lighter. Proceed to add a few more coats to customize the look as per your liking.
  6. Next, wipe with clean water and a sponge.
  7. Now, you can add a thin coat of wax as a protective measure. The wax will give a little shine to the furniture and save it from damage to some extent.

Points To Remember

  • Alwways wear protective gears while performing any DIY that includes the use of washing soda or bleach. The two ingredients can prove harmful for the skin.
  • Realize that each wood log will react differently to the procedure or bleach used. Therefore, it’s advised to be flexible with the number or coats or time to let the logs sit so that you get the desired look.
  • Make sure the wood is completely dry before bleaching.
  • Latly, apply even coats to get the same texture throughout.


Driftwood for décor is a fantastic idea because it is gorgeous, but it is environmentally responsible as well! Designers have created a variety of exciting driftwood tables, lamps, chairs, and coat racks. However, you can also manufacture your driftwood décor pieces—for example, a driftwood jewellery hanger, candle holder, wall shelf, or photo display. Driftwood is a great option for table centrepieces, placemats, and table garlands as well.

Instead of finding natural driftwood decor items that would be rare as well as costly, you can learn how to bleach wood to look like driftwood at home. This will not only save your time but money as well!


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