Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5+ DIY Seashell Crafts

Spring time is approaching, and for those of us who live in areas with snowy winters, it brings much anticipation along with it! This is the time of year I start preparations for my vegetable garden, flowers, outdoor projects, and of course, summer vacations and beach visits! One of my favorite activities to do on the beach is shelling...and then finding uses for all the wonderful treasures I collected.
I created a list of some of the crafts I've done using shells, but before we start, I just wanted to say, please be sure the beaches allow seashell collecting before taking anything. Many places do not allow collection of shells, rocks, etc. for conservation of the natural habitat. There are usually signs listed at the beach, but if you aren't sure, you could look up the information for that specific beach before your visit.
Now the list!

1) Colorful broken pieces as filler

How many times have you come across a beautiful dash of color in the sand, only to find a broken piece of shell? Well, don't throw it back in the sand just yet! If you find many pieces, you could display them in a dish, vase, or bowl as a filler similar to glass beads or river rocks. I adore my collection of lovely shades of purple, pink, and cream!

2) Seashell and driftwood mobile

One beach my family visited had miles of seashells every morning for a far as the eye could see. Most of the shells were the same type, just different sizes with some color variations. The majority of these shells had holes in them from predatory snails, sea stars, octopus, and squid drilling or chiseling away at the shell to get food...My 9 year old told me that interesting fact; he's always keeping me in the know when it comes to animals :)

I was able to collect a lot of shells from that location; because of that and the size variations, I was able to create a gradient effect with the sizes and amount on each strand that I hung from the driftwood. I really like the way it turned out!

  • Using fishing line, I strung the shells largest to smallest from top to bottom. There are 7 strands of shells. Each strand increased in shells moving from right to left. There are two strands with five shells on them because I ran out! I simply adjusted the spacing a little on those two strands to keep the gradual angle flowing.
  • Then, I tied the strands of shells around the wood. The Mr. helped me with the next part; he suspended the wood with fishing line attached to two small hooks he placed in the ceiling. He tied the mobile in place while I stood back making sure it was straight. 
Can anyone else see the angry raincloud face in this pic? The arrows look like eyes, the stick looks like the mouth, and the shells look like rain. I don't deny that my imagination is pretty out there sometimes :)

3) Make creatures

More broken shell pieces! Take a look at broken shells...could one be a fin? The body of a fish? An eye? It's amazing what you can find when you tell your eyes what to look for. If you are on the hunt for whole shells, the broken pieces probably won't interest you because they will be nothing more than an incomplete shell. But! If you were to be on the lookout for fins, eyes, bodies, etc. you might be surprised by how many little treasures you'll find!

I created this little fish when I was sorting through the interesting broken shell pieces I collected on a vacation. One piece stood out to me because it resembled a fin so much. I began searching through the bucket for a body, eye, dorsal fin, and suddenly, I had created this darling little guy. Some hot glue, burlap, and a frame made this little fishy become art!

  • After washing shells and drying them on a towel, I began playing with and arranging shell pieces until I put together what I wanted to make.

  • Next, I hot glued the fish together and gathered the supplies I would need for the frame.
  • Carefully, I took the glass out of the frame and set it aside (wouldn't be needing it). I took the back of the frame off, flipped it over, and cut a piece of burlap to fit (leave a tiny bit of an excess edge all around). Next, I applied Elmer's glue to it. I smoothed out the glue, then applied the burlap.

  • Next, I applied a thin strip of hot glue to the edges and folded them into it. Be careful not to burn yourself! Also, try not to add too much bulk or it won't fit back in the frame. I added a little too much bulk and had to trim one end with a heavier duty pair of scissors. I applied glue to the edges of the newly cut end as well so the burlap would stay put, and not fray further.

  • Then, I hot glued the fish to the burlap and placed it in the frame.

4) Start a new tradition: Have a family beach collection

In a bowl, vase, jar, whatever you'd like, begin placing one of your favorite shells from each beach your family visits. After a while, you will have a nice little collection.

5) Christmas ornament memento

Write the beach and year on one of your shells and make a Christmas ornament out of it. If your vacation included other families, make one for each family as a Christmas gift. Our family went on a large group vacation last summer, so I made an ornament for each family. Along with the place and year, I also wrote a memorable quote from our vacation. If you want, you could also add a bow or other embellishments to give the shell a little something extra.

I apologize for the poor quality of this pic. I made these before I decided to start a blog, and this is the only pic I have of them in a group...Oops!
+ More ideas
What have you done with seashells from your vacations? I'd love to see them!
Until next time...create away!

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