Update and breathe fresh life into an old mirror, using only sea-washed wood and a glue gun. Words: Juliet Bawden.

I am a great lover of beachcomber finds. Particularly when, after a storm, the sea tosses up all its flotsam and jetsam onto the shoreline. It wasn’t really until I started regularly beachcombing for shells, sea-washed glass, seaweed, and pieces of wood that I began to see that there is a pattern to where they end up on a beach. For example, if you walk in a line parallel to the sea, you will find that pieces of glass will end up a certain distance from the sea, shells at a different place and driftwood at yet another one.

This is probably all connected to the weight, size and material from which the item is formed. Driftwood is enormously popular for use in crafting. Much of the wood –when you first find it – will most likely be almost black in colour and sodden.
You will need to allow several days for the wood to dry out well before using it for anything. As it dries out, it will become lighter and often look quite bleached. Collect your wood in a variety of shapes and sizes so that you can fit them together on your frame just like an asymmetric jigsaw. And once the wood is dry, make sure to peel off any loose bits of bark. Then it’s ready to use.

What you need:

  • A mirror, preferably one with a wide frame
  • A glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Sand paper
  • Beachcombed wood from the seashore


1. When you go to the beach, look for driftwood in different shades, lengths and thicknesses to make up your mirror frame.

2. Leave it to dry thoroughly and bleach out, so that it looks like the wood on the right of the image above. Peel off any loose bark.

3. Sand the frame to create a key for sticking the driftwood in place. Arrange the driftwood around the frame and stick down. Start with one layer, covering as much of the frame as possible.

4. Add pieces of wood to fit between the pieces you have stuck down. You may end up with pieces sticking out, but that all adds to the charm of the final piece.

Trained in textile design, Juliet has a great passion for all things fabric –particularly dyeing, colour and the way it affects our lives. Having grown up in Deal on the Kent coast, her other great love is the sea. Juliet has written a number of craft, style and design books, covering a wide range of disciplines.
For more information, visit creativecolour.org.

Photographs Antonia Attwood