Step 1: Choose Your Design

    The way that you process your initial design is optional and can vary. You can use existing images on the web for inspiration or you can eyeball the design/shape manually from scratch.

    A quick Google search for “driftwood horse sculpture” will yield all kinds of designs and animal figures that you can use for reference.

    Driftwood Horse Sculpture - Step 1: Choose Your Design

    An image search for “driftwood horse sculpture”. You can search for any type of animal.

    In this case, I decided that I liked the rearing horse stance the best. For a simplified silhouette of the desired stance, I did a Google image search for “rearing horse coloring”. This search yielded image results that were black and white and meant for coloring in.

    Driftwood Horse Sculpture - Step 1: Choose Your Outline

    A quick Google image search for “rearing horse coloring”.

    When I found an image with proportions that I liked, I converted the image to a vector and modified it for cutting out on the CNC machine.

    Driftwood Horse Sculpture - Step 1: Create Your Vectors

    Here’s an example of some vectors that were created from the original sketch.

    You can download these above vectors in the links below. There is both an Adobe PDF version and an Illustrator version depending on what programs you use:

    On the left you see a simulated CNC cut, and on the right the actual pattern is shown cut into the sacrificial wood.

    The next step will detail assembling all of these wood cut outs into a “skeleton” frame of the horse.

    Step 2: Build Your Frame

    Keep in a mind that a CNC machine is not required to build your frame or “skeleton”. You can manually build a rough frame out of scrap wood, branches, coat hangers, twine, and wires. The appearance of the frame isn’t really important as it will either be covered up or disposed of as you add your pieces of reclaimed wood.

    I started by removing my skeleton pieces from the tabs holding them together in the wood.

    Once I had all of my skeleton/frame pieces cut out, I started assembling the frame with the help of some scrap wood lying around.

    I printed out an “assembly guide” to help visualize the positioning of the limbs as they relate to the torso in the drawing that I chose earlier.

    The initial frame was put together with various sizes of construction screws and deck screws.

    If this is an outdoor sculpture, it’s recommended to not use cheaper ‘indoor’ screws like drywall screws or floor screws because they will rust over time and lose their integrity.

    Once you have your approximate shape of the frame, it’s time to start adding your reclaimed wood!

    Step 3: Building Your Core

    For a stronger and longer-lasting sculpture, it is important that the core (foundation) of your sculpture is well established and can stand on its own. In this case I used the thickest stumps first as structural elements.

    It may help to hang your frame/skeleton/spine from the ceiling if your frame cannot initially support itself to stand up.

    Following from the center of gravity of the sculpture, I kept adding pieces that followed into the legs/feet of the horse to eventually complete a solid free-standing base.

    The longer 7-inch screws really help to create stability by interconnecting the legs to the core.

    Once the base is well enough established, the next step is is to decide which pieces of wood to use for the main appendages (limbs, head, tail).

    Step 4: Picking and Placing Wood

    This step is the more artistic/creative part of the process. There are no clear rules as far as which pieces of wood go where – but there are some general guidelines you can follow so the process of adding wood evolves more gracefully.

    I started by adding the pieces of wood that anatomically resembled a horse. For example, a long curved piece was added as the horse’s belly.

    Pieces that resembled posed arms were placed as the horse’s arms and shoulders.

    As pieces of wood are added and the structure is reinforced, I removed parts of the skeleton that were no longer needed.

    Luckily I found the perfect stump for the horse’s head that had a knot that looked like the horse’s eye.

    To get specific shapes to fit, I sometimes split pieces to get the desired proportions.

    Watch out for colonies of fire ants inside the wood!

    When the best pieces of wood were used up, I used the remaining bits to “fill in” the gaps of the body.

    I did my best to the orient the remaining wood in positions that resembled the direction of the animal’s muscle fibers.

    Now the all of the main body pieces are added, the next step is to hide and cover up any imperfections left by splintered wood or screw holes.

    Step 5: Hiding the Crimes

    We’re almost done…all that’s left to do is mask the imperfections left by splintered wood and screw holes.

    I went back out into the forest one more time and gathered various pieces of bark and moss.

    I also managed to find some preserved green moss at the local dollar store.

    I used hot glue to cover any exposed holes and screws with bark and moss.

    The hot glue (used sparingly) binds really nicely to the dry wood.

    Here a connecting screw was exposed. I added a glob of hot glue and stuck some moss in there.

    Also the fragments of moss and bark get embedded into the glue, so if the moss or bark falls off from weathering, little embedded bits of dirt and moss will hide the sheen of the glue if it ever gets exposed.

    Another user from Instructables (@LeslieGeee) suggested using brown-colored silicone or DAP instead of hot glue as a more permanent solution – Thanks Leslie!


    Step 6: A Coat of Stain

    I really like the natural look of the wood and some of you may decide to keep it all natural looking. I wanted this sculpture to last a little bit longer so I decided to give it a coat of stain.

    In this case I chose a semi-transparent walnut stain but any wood stain should work depending on the look you’re going for.

    The result is a bit different-looking darker sculpture, but I think I’m happy with it! I did my best to avoid staining the larger bunches of moss that would hide its green color. Of course you can always add moss after staining.

    Step 7: The Final Product!

    Now that you’ve got a coat of stain on your sculpture, the final step is finding a place for it in the garden. For a free copy of all the related images and artwork files used in this project, check out the downloads below.


    You can download these vectors used in this project in the links below. There is both an Adobe PDF version and an Illustrator version depending on what programs you use:
 Forums DIY Driftwood Horse Sculpture How-To Build (Reclaimed Wood)

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    hi guys :). I am looking for help for me and my girl. i am from France

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