DIY Driftwood Sailboats

diy, Driftwood Sailboats

I’ve been wanting to make driftwood sailboats for quite some time and finally I did it this week …  three of them. This craft project has been formulating in my mind for awhile.  I’ve combined bits and pieces of ideas from other driftwood sailboats I’ve seen in magazines, Pinterest, and at some retail stores to make these.  The two steps during the process that took the most time and tested my patience were working with tiny eyelets and eyelet screws.  Do not skip these steps because they gave the sailboats a clean finish.  Last thing, there will be no sewing involve in this project.


diy, Driftwood sailboats

The driftwood I used were collected during our recent family trip to the beach at Seabrook, Washington, click here to read more.


Driftwood sailboats

diy, Driftwood Sailboats



diy, Driftwood Sailboat supplies

1.    fabric pieces, slightly heavy weight fabric will hold its shape best for the sails
2.    twine
3.    wood glue
4.    stop fabric fraying liquid
5.    glue gun & glue sticks
6.    paper to make sail patterns
7.    eyelet screws, 15/32″
8.    eyelet tools & 1/8″ eyelets
9.    scissors
10.  two driftwood pieces for the boat and a mast



diy, Driftwood Sailboats

step 1.   Drill a hole in the center of the driftwood large enough to accommodate a long stick for the mast.  Squeeze wood glue into the hole and push the stick in it and let dry.

Step 2.   Use a pencil to draw the pattern on paper for the two sails (triangle shape with a right angle – see image below).  Pin the pattern onto the fabric and cut it out.  Apply fabric fraying liquid sparingly along the fabric edges to prevent it from fraying over time.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Step 3.   Add eyelets to the corners of the two fabric sails.  Cut a tiny slit close to the corner, push the back side of the eyelet through, turn the fabric over with the back of the eyelet facing up.  To secure the eyelet to the fabric, place the setter over the unfinished end of the eyelet and firmly strike the top of the setter with the hammer two to three times to spread it open.  Remove the setter and firmly strike the eyelet directly two to three times with the hammer to flatten the sides down around the fabric  {optional/not required: use an eyelet finisher on the back of the eyelet to give it a smooth professional finish}.

The instructions to apply eyelets will vary depending on the tools used.  The end result will be similar and it will also help to prevent the fabric from tearing and to keep it’s shape.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

The two finished sails with eyelets attached to the corners.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Step 4.   Attach sails to the mast.  Near the top of the wooden stick, leaving enough room to glue a flag on later, screw the eyelet screw into the wood {use a pair of pliers to screw it into the wood if needed} .  Cut a piece of twine about 3-4 inches long, string it through the eyelet on the large sail and the eyelet screw, tie a knot to secure them together.  Repeat the process for the second eyelet screw at the bottom of the wooden stick and the third eyelet screw on the large driftwood near the end.

Attach the other smaller sail to the opposite side of the wooden stick slightly lower down from the other sail {see image below}.  Snip off all the extra loose twine from the knots, leaving about a quarter of an inch, dab a little bit of fabric fraying liquid to the ends of twine to prevent unraveling.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

The finished sails should spread out nicely across the driftwood.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Step 5.   Add decorative flag banner.  Cut 5-7 little triangle flag pieces.  Cut twine long enough to go  from the top of the mast down to the eyelet screw at the end of the large driftwood piece.  Be sure to add about two to four inches of extra twine.

On a flat surface, lay a fabric triangle piece down and line twine along the top edge of the flag, apply hot glue, and roll the top edge of the fabric around twine and hot glue to secure together. Repeat the steps with the rest of the flag banner pieces.

Step 6.  Attach the flag banner to the sailboat.  Thread one end of the flag banner through the top eyelet screw on the mast and make a simple knot on the twine to keep it from slipping out of the eyelet screw hole.  Thread the other end through the eyelet screw on the driftwood and make a simple knot on the twine to secure it in place.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Driftwood sailboat #1
Step 7.  Cut a triangle piece of fabric for the flag and attach it to the top of the mast with hot glue.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Driftwood sailboat #2


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

Driftwood sailboat #3


diy Driftwood Sailboats

 I couldn’t  decide which one I like the most.


diy, Driftwood Sailboats

 Hannah was assisting me.


.diy, Driftwood Sailboats

A great summer craft project!


posted by Kay

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26 Responses to DIY Driftwood Sailboats

  1. Botanic Bleu August 10, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    These turned out great, and your tutorial is excellent. Now the question is where to find driftwood around here. Hmmmm….

    I like the light blue and white striped sail the most.


    • Kay August 10, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      That was the first sailboat I made. The striped fabric I used for the sail came from a pair of pants 🙂

      Judith, contact me with a ship to address, I would love to send you some of the extra driftwood I have left.

  2. Lori @ A Bright and Beautiful Life August 11, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Kay, I adore your sailboats!!! They are cute and so clean and fresh looking and it’s such a fun idea to use driftwood. We have a sailboat and spend our summers sailing so I’m definitely going to make one {or more} of these. Thanks for the fun idea.

    • Kay August 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      I’m glad you like this craft project Lori. There will be lots of driftwood waiting for you here in the Puget Sound area if you decide to come back and to do a little more sailing this summer.

  3. April Bartlett January 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    I love these! I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and now that I’m landlocked in Chattanooga, TN and trying to pull off a costal living room, I really miss the ready availability of natural elements we had access to! Lovely work!

    • Kay January 27, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

      Nice to meet you April and glad you had a few minutes to visit and share with us. We try as a family to make a trip out to the Pacific coast once a year, Seabrook Wa. We drove to Forks WA once, that was a loooong drive. I hope your coastal living room is coming along nicely.

  4. Karen March 20, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Love your little sailboats. Am making my first one now from driftwood I collected at Ocean Shores and Ruby Beach … 🙂

    • Kay March 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      The Northwest beaches have such a nice supply of driftwood to choose from. I hope you had fun making the sailboat Karen.

  5. Laurie June 6, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    You have inspired me! Love these boats. I live by Lake Ontario in NY so driftwood is abundant. Off to the lake…..

  6. Carmen February 8, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Hi there! I
    I’m so in love of these sailboat what type of fabric did you used or any suggestions?
    Thank you!!

    • Kay February 8, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

      Hi Carmen
      The fabrics I used were made of cotton with a little bit of weight to them-cotton canvas. The soft blue ticking fabric came from a pair of pants I purchased at the Gap a few years ago in hopes that I might use the fabric to make something.

      I hope you have fun making these sailboats!

  7. Kasia August 14, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    It’s so beautiful!!! I featured these driftwood sailboats here

  8. Pamela Saunders April 17, 2017 at 3:16 am #

    Love these live in Littlehampton west Sussex united kingdom trying to make some little boats you have inspired me so more beautiful than shop ones

  9. jeanne March 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm #

    Love them, have not tried them yet but wanted to thank you for sharing instructions.

  10. Khizra September 27, 2018 at 1:15 pm #

    Hey I’m writing from Pakistan. I loved the whole tutorial and your work is amazing I was wondering if you can give another tutorial on how to make driftwood tiny houses! How do you shape drift wood into fine shapes I have always wondered I would really appreciate your response. Waiting for it!

  11. Kim Block October 27, 2018 at 9:24 pm #

    I love these! I was wondering if these would float? I live with a lake in my back yard. During the winter I thought it would be nice to see the sailboats floating next to our dock. I thought I would attach a sailboat to a fishing line attached to a large rock but thought it might flip over. Has anyone tried floating them?

  12. debbie nagle March 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

    Love these! Thank you for sharing!!

  13. Annie May 26, 2019 at 8:43 am #

    I love these sailboats! Would love it if you sold them

  14. Helene July 16, 2019 at 2:27 pm #

    Loved the sailboats am going to make some for my nieces babies first birthday. Where is the best place to purchase the driftwood

  15. Zbyszko August 17, 2019 at 12:17 pm #

    Piękne, piękne, piękne … 🙂 Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful … 🙂

  16. Kathryn Patterson January 14, 2020 at 10:19 pm #

    I love your sailboats. I live in the CA desert 6 months out of the year so the wood I collect for my sailboats is a bit more gnarled but still beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing.


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