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Easy DIY Driftwood Napkin Rings

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The other week I coerced my husband into going to an area near a beach (there isn’t really sand at this particulate spot, so I hesitate to call it a beach) so I could bring home lots of driftwood after a storm. There aren’t many places on Oahu that collect driftwood, so I make a mental note whenever I come across one! This particular spot is also the only place I can remember finding sea glass on Oahu and, unfortunately, other random trash tends to collect there, too. I always want to bring a bag just to pick up detritus whenever I visit the area because seeing all the trash really bothers me! But anyway, I found lots of great driftwood and have a zillion different driftwood crafts in mind.

Today I’m sharing the simplest of them, easy DIY driftwood napkin rings. Although I made them with driftwood, this project would work just as well with “normal” twigs to make some really cute fall napkin rings!

Easy DIY Driftwood Napkin Rings

If you’re concerned about your driftwood’s cleanliness, you can sanitize your driftwood before using by mixing a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water in a large container and and letting the wood soak for 3-4 days. Then, of course, you’ll need to wait for it to dry out fully before using it! You can also sanitize sticks (people do it before introducing found sticks to pet lizards), but I’ve never done it and don’t know how it might affect the sticks’ color. If anyone knows or has stick sanitizing suggestions, please leave a comment!

To keep these driftwood napkin rings extra simple, I used a couple of toilet paper tubes. You can also use a paper towel roll or PVC pipe. The PVC pipe is obviously more durable, but also more expensive and annoying to cut. If you use PVC, I recommend using a pipe that’s about 2″.

You can learn how to sanitize toilet paper rolls right here! It’s easy and chemical free.

Materials needed for DIY driftwood napkin rings

  • Paper towel or toilet paper tubes or PVC pipe, as discussed above. One tp roll will generally make 3 napkin rings, so a set of four requires either 2 small rolls or one larger, paper towel roll
  • Craft paint – optional, but nice. I used metallic gold craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Hot glue
  • Sticks or driftwood
  • Additional embellishments, optional (shells, starfish, acorns, etc.)
  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Driftwood, twigs, or something like these bleached sticks (not an affiliate link – just something that looked useful!)

cardboard tubes

How to make easy driftwood napkin rings

1. Measure and mark your tube or PVC pipe.


I recommend marking the tube ever 1.5″. It’s a nice width for a napkin ring and three fit just about perfectly on one toilet paper tube!


2. Cut your tube along the marked points, trying to make your cuts as straight as possible. Don’t fret about making the sections perfectly level, though, because they’ll be somewhat concealed by the wood.


3. If you’re painting, go ahead and paint! A quick coat of paint really helps the finished napkin rings look nice.


4. While the paint is drying, take a look at your driftwood. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you probably won’t have found the exact number of perfectly sized pieces you need! Instead of cutting the driftwood down to size, I recommend snapping and breaking thinner pieces, whenever possible. The more neutral edge fits better with the driftwood vibe than a clean cut.


5. Heat your glue gun and get gluing! As always, please be careful because hot glue guns really are hot and you can burn yourself. You can either try to make your napkin rings very uniform with all the pieces exactly the same, or you can intentionally vary them. I tried to make at least the length, width, or color of each piece different from the two pieces sandwiching it.


6. Keep on gluing until all your rings are covered!


7. If you’d like, add some embellishments, like these starfish and shells, or tie a ribbon around each napkin ring.

driftwood napkin rings with shells

8. Enjoy!

Driftwood napkin ring tutorial

Now wasn’t that easy?

I really look forward to sharing more driftwood crafts soon! I have a delightfully big tote bag full of pieces just waiting to be used. =) The fun thing about many driftwood crafts is that many of them really can be done with ‘normal’ sticks and twigs, instead, which make the basic projects very versatile for different seasons and climates.

Do you ever craft with found items? And do you have any tips for sanitizing ‘regular’ sticks?


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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Splendid Little Stars October 24, 2016, 18:40

    What a pretty project!
    I had to laugh about your collection of toilet paper rolls and your husband’s perplexity. I saved toilet paper rolls this year to fill with soil and plant seeds into. They worked great! (cut into thirds)

    • Natashalh October 25, 2016, 06:45

      That’s a good idea! I really wish we had space for any type of garden and look forward to when we’re able to have one again.

  • Pamela October 24, 2016, 13:13

    Gee I never really knew what to do with those empty toilet paper rolls – of course, now they are making it without the rolls!

    Isn’t it amazing how the simplest item can be created into something so imaginative! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Natashalh October 24, 2016, 20:33

      That is very true – there are the tubeless rolls now! I’ve mostly seen them for commercial applications so far, but maybe soon none of us will have tubes! And thank you – so glad you liked the projected and I appreciate your kind words. =)

  • Julie October 20, 2016, 21:55

    These turned out so cute! And I love how you’re making uses of toilet paper rolls! Great idea!

    • Natashalh October 21, 2016, 08:44

      It drove my husband crazy that I was saving them! He’s like “this is trash! Why is it in the laundry closet?!” =p

  • Duni October 19, 2016, 21:37

    These turned out so cute! I live so far from the beach and really miss collecting driftwood, shells etc. like I used to as a kid 🙂 I found it quite therapeutic.

    • Natashalh October 21, 2016, 08:44

      I love picking things up on the beach! Even if I just end up leaving them at the end of the day, it’s so much fun to find neat shells.

  • Marieken October 18, 2016, 23:05

    I love seeing what kind of projects you come up with! I haven’t made anything fun in ages.

    • Natashalh October 19, 2016, 09:28

      Thank you! Hopefully you find time for some personal projects soon. =) I start to get really unhappy if I haven’t made anything for myself in a while!

  • Rose October 18, 2016, 04:17

    Super cute! I love the beachy take but agree they would be perfect for fall decor, too.

    • Natashalh October 19, 2016, 08:49

      I wish I could find nice “normal” hardwood sticks around here! They’d be really fun for projects.

  • Linda Pruitt October 17, 2016, 14:04

    Yes, mine would have to be done with normal twigs, since we don’t get to the beach often enough! But then, this is the Pacific Northwest, and we have plenty of trees! Gotta try this with the grands!

    • Natashalh October 17, 2016, 15:23

      These would be so cute with acorns or small pinecones on them! If you have the chance to try to project with the grandkids, I hope you enjoy it. =)

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