I have a big thing for using free stuff for art. I can’t help it. It’s FREE.
And since the beach is like the curb of the ocean’s awesomeness….it is always full of free treasures that are ready for the picking. It’s like dumpster diving…with the potential of getting crabs. I crack myself up. So over the July 4th holiday, we walked up and down the beach (I have to give you an update on that, huh?!) when the tide is out trying to find water-logged treasures of interesting shells, wood, and coral. Spoiler alert…we didn’t find any good stuff. But I did find a bag of old shells in my stash that warranted a little art display of their own using my trusty recipe of a shadowbox and a glue gun.
But before we get into the details – let’s revisit some of the free ocean junk I’ve crafted before…
There’s the oyster cloister…
putting a sea fan behind glass…
putting a little sand dollar in a shadow box…
making ornaments out of tiny shells…
And of course, the easiest one is just plopping shells down in a vase and calling it a day…
Today’s project doesn’t fall far from the tree… or should I say swim far from the anemone.
I just collected and cleaned all the shells. Then I sorted them by size until I had 25 that looked different and unique and great all together.
Here’s where it is gonna get complicated. And a whole lot of sarcasm. You are gonna need a shadowbox. With a piece of cardboard the same size as the back.
Then you cut out some fabric and apply the fabric to the cardboard with spray adhesive. Yes. This is practically brain surgery blindfolded while solving the world hunger/energy/body odor crisis.
Then comes the glue gun. Aka….weapon of choice for Tori Spelling.
My only piece of advice that I have on this project is that you lay out the shells on the fabric prior to gluing so that you know where they all go. Oh and I wish I had a teeny tiny little label on the bottom to say which beach they all came from….I think these were from Destin in 2012.
So what have you been doing with your seaside treasures lately? Anything fun? Anything glue gunny? Anything free from the woods or beach or the nearby Denny’s dumpster?
I Am Kilo Bravo says
I’m pretty sure there is a chance of crabs during traditional dumpster diving as well. Oh the jokes practically write themselves! Feel free to remove this in case your mother is reading 🙂
In any case, love these simple projects!!
Cute! Need to get on some of these shadow box projects. I love them! They look great and incorporate mementos from meaningful trips. Love that combination 🙂
Anne @ Planting Sequoias says
Super cute! We don’t have many shells on the shores of Lake Michigan so I think I’ll need to make a quick jaunt down to Destin to replicate this craft. A necessary sacrifice, I think.
Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms says
Your ocean crafts are always so adorable! I really love this one! I like how you go from big to small. It makes me want to do this in a gradient too, although that would take a lot of shell finding time!
Mary | Lemon Grove Blog says
Advantages of living close to the sea shore! 🙂 Love all the beachy (free!) art. We’re looking for decorations for our bath right now and these look perfect!
Bethany @ Dwellings By DeVore says
I love all things ocean inspired! 🙂 All your projects are great! I did a similar project in my powder room too, so easy and inexpensive.
Whitney Dupuis says
We live in Pensacola so having beach art is rarely appealing to me, but this shell grid is super cute. Even I would (and could!) do this. Great job! Can’t wait to see pictures from your trip down to the Gulf Coast!
Amanda Ruth says
So this is a very dumb question- I’ve thought about doing this before, but my hurdle was there wasn’t a whole lot to hot glue to with the shell. The small shells seemed to work out fine, but how did you go about gluing the larger ones on? Thanks!
Lauren @ The Highlands Life says
Love this! I have a bag of shells that I’ve been hanging onto just for a project like this. Excited to finally get something done with them.
Christina @ Homemade Ocean says
I always love anything seashell….duh!
So cute 🙂
Do you ever find that any of your beach stuff has a certain “funk” to it? I don’t know what it is! I’ve even tried bleach-water and drying COMPLETELY but man alive- the smell!!! Maybe it’s just the humidity around here- but ick.
caroline [the diy nurse] says
Um. Brilliant!!! I love beach goodies but am afraid of making it too coastal- I feel like the grid like shape keeps this really modern looking still. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I go to the beach this year!
Oh and not to be spammy but i just saw this this morning [and I think its the bomb] plus its super free and it made me think of you while reading your post!
I used my glue gun to glue a bunch of shells to an old mirror. It’s a beast though and we can’t find a place to hang it. Plus, hubby hates it. 🙁
pretty! I did something similar with all of the shells I’ve collected over the years. It is nice to get them out of the closet and somewhere I can see them!
Heather @ Southern State of Mind says
Love love this! And I too dumpster dive for shells. I even posted today about how I used some oyster shells in a vase to give it a little extra somethin’ somethin’! http://thesouthernstateofmind.blogspot.com/2013/07/oyster-hysteria-oyster-shell-flower.html
xo – kb
Cute idea! I wonder how you dust that?
xo – kb
xo – kb
“Replace My Parts!”
I need a hammer drill in my life. We have old plaster walls with solid brick behind them. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
oh crap. just posted to the wrong post.
you will see this duplicated elsewhere…
Love this! I just blew up a pic of footprints in the sand from my little boy and put the shells from that beach all around it! Love virtually free art!
Krystle @ Color Transformed Family says
This post was filled with all sorts of funny remarks. I loved it!
[email protected] says
That looks great! I love free art too!
I love that this is simple and still very meaningful. My girls collected about a million shells when we visited my uncle this summer, so maybe we’ll pick out our favorites and do this as a little memento. Thanks for the idea!
[email protected] says
so very creative! i may have to make one of these for my mom who loves shells!
This is beautiful! We have been vacationing in the same spot for 17 years and we still collect shells and we still store them in bags in our basement. I’m totally busting them out for a quick diy! Love this!
I’m usually not into shell art (or really any kind of beachy decor) but I have to say I think the shadowbox is something I could live with.
That looks great! I tried to use a hot glue gun to attach shells to a wooden picture frame once and they kept falling off…. What was I doing wrong? Anyway, all of your above projects are simple and beautiful.
hmm…was the picture frame slick? or perhaps the shell didn’t have enough glue?
xo – kb
Maybe. I find that after letting the stuff soak a good while in bleach and then in oxi-clean, it usually is funkless.
xo – kb
I did the same thing but with more glue…just around the edges…especially at that base where you can get a good glob on.
xo – kb
Hot glue + stuff = free art! Love it!
I am totally stealing this idea! I have shells I brought back from Thailand, but have not been able to find a use for them. Thanks!
Corrie @ Little House On The Update says
That’s a shell of a cute idea:)
Love love love the shadowbox frame! YOu inspired me to go to Michaels this morning and pick up a few little shadowboxes. Hubby and I are taking kids next week to Sanibel, FL for a vacation and I can’t wait to see what I find so I can add to my boxes! Thank you! P.s what size was your box? I got 6×6 white ones.. kinda small but they didn’t have 8×8 in white only black.
I think it was 8×8 but I’m not sure…it was the RITVA at ikea 😉
xo – kb
Yeah, I tend to college ocean souvenirs too. These are some excellent ideas! :]
I don’t own a hot glue gun. Do you know if Super Glue or some other Kragel (LEGOS Movie reference) would work just as well?
Super Glue would probably work but since it is an uneven surface, you are really dancing on the edge with the danger of stuck-fingers 🙂
xo – kb
Love the idea. My little granddaughter and I picked up shells at the beach and then hot glued them around a picture frame. The picture inside was of us at the beach. A little memento of our fun time together. Memories…
Where did you get that shadowbox?
xo – kb