Seashell Art

One of the highlights of our recent trip to San Diego was a day at the beach on Coronado Island. We rode our bikes along the coast, had a picnic, and spent the afternoon wading in the water and looking for shells and sand dollars. It was a perfect day – despite the one too many Europeans romping around in speedos, but that’s another story.
PhotobucketBy the time we packed up, we had collected an entire bucket full of treasures that I wasn’t sure what to do with. The thought of toting the smelly lot in the car all the way back to Utah didn’t seem like a great idea, but I felt compelled to display them somewhere in my house to preserve the memory of such a fun day so I decided the shells would be coming with us.

After I got home, I started looking up ideas on how to incorporate our little keepsakes into some decorating. While I came up empty handed for a classy way to decorate with sea shells, at least I started to find the inspiration that would become our current beachy-glam master bedroom project.

PhotobucketI felt stumped as to what to do with our pretty shells, so I set them aside to wait for the right idea to come, and it finally came yesterday! I was walking past our giveaway pile in the garage and saw a tall framed picture that I’ve never been able to find a spot for. I decided it was the perfect size and shape to house a few of my shells and provide us some affordable wall decor for our bedroom. I drew out a plan, gathered my materials and spent the afternoon turning this:
Photobucketinto this:PhotobucketDismantling was the first order of business. I took off the paper on the back and carefully bent back the staples, tyring to keep as much of them in tact as possible, so I could reuse them later to secure our new creation.
PhotobucketThis piece had two decorative layers of mat – and were very well glued. It was a messier process then I had hoped for, and left me with a pile of torn mats and broken interior borders. Ugh.
PhotobucketDetermined to turn this into something beautiful, I moved forward by painting the frame and mat borders with Krylon ivory satin spray paint.
PhotobucketWhile the paint dried, I taped together the torn first mat and hot glued jute rope over it to cover the tears and add some texture.
PhotobucketFor the second mat I chose an aqua-blue fabric to add a punch of color. I cut 4 strips, one for each side of the mat and cut the ends so they would meet up at a 45 degree angle. I then sprayed my mat with spray adhesive and carefully placed the strips of fabric in their predetermined spots.
PhotobucketBy the time I had finished the mats, the paint on the frame and borders had dried and it was time to assemble the pieces back together again. I hot glued as I went, making sure the borders were snug in place, then once each separate mat was completed, I centered the larger outside mat onto the smaller one and glued them together.
PhotobucketI then placed the joint mats into the frame (without the glass this time) and bent my staples back in place to make sure this bad boy wasn’t going anywhere.
PhotobucketNow this is where my precious seashells come in. I selected 5 different pieces from our bucket and painted them gold, with a brown glaze over the top to tone the bling factor down a bit.
PhotobucketI used my trusty spray adhesive again to cover the original print with a strip of canvas fabric, then started to lay out my shells on top. They looked a little plain lying on the bare canvas so I found some thin twine and tied knots around each piece to add interest.
PhotobucketFeeling much better about the new look, I situated each shell where I wanted it and glued it into place.
PhotobucketThe result was a very inexpensive, unique piece of wall art that I think will compliment the new look of our master bedroom perfectly. Anyone else have any great ideas for bringing the beach inside?

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  1. The twine on the mat is really cute. What a great way to change your frame and give it the beachy look.

  2. Great idea! The shells are so pretty and I love the twine. Great contrast between the two.

  3. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this project. I always bring home lots of shells and then do nothing with them!

  4. BEAUTIFUL job with this, and what a lovely memento of your time at the beach!

    Deborah (visiting happily from…hope you might take a minute to stop by and say hi!)

  5. Oh my, that’s beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this at last week’s Thrifty Thursday Link Party :)

  6. Nanette Miele says:

    I have learned so much from you two! Question – I have heard you talk about this brown glaze a few times on your blog now … what is it exactly? and where can I pick some up?