Inspiration: Shell Art!


Summer is here, and if you are lucky, that means beach time!  Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones.  I just returned home from a lovely vacation with my family from Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We have gone there ever since I can remember.  As a kid, one of my favorite things to do while at the beach was to walk up and down the shore with my grandmother to look for seashells.  It was a game to see who could collect the most and the biggest sand dollars.  I would always return home with tons of these little treasures but I never really had any use for them.  They would sit in bag for several months and then eventually get tossed out only to repeat the same cycle the next year.

This year, I had all 9 of my nieces and nephews with me at the beach, and needless to say, the piles of shells on our balcony were growing rapidly.  I kept thinking, “What the heck are we going to do with all these shells?”  I figured that these shells were going to share the same fate that the shells from my past did.  What a waste of these delightful little jewels of the sea.  That’s when I decided it was time for some shell art!

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Now, I will be the first to admit that shell related decor is not really my thing.  I decided that this would be a fun challenge for me.  I was going to make a few picture frames with shells without it being too “beach house cliche'”.  First, I cleaned and separated my massive collection into a few groups: white oyster-like shells, black oyster-like shells and junk shells.  The junk shells were actually not junk at all.  They were just shells that I didn’t plan on using for my frames or they were broken or damaged, but I had a plan for them.  My sister gave me the idea of tossing old shells from the beach into her gravel.  Sure, maybe these shells weren’t as exceptional as the shells I planned on using for my project, but next to gravel, they were the stars.  Plus, throughout the year her kids will find these little gems sprinkled throughout the gravel.

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When choosing the shells for my frames, I was careful to choose the really odd and unusual ones.  I did not want my project to scream “beach” too loudly.  I collected a few old frames and painted them the color of the shells that would be on them just in case a bit of the frame would peek through the shells.  To adhere them to the frame, I used an epoxy.  I suppose hot glue would have sufficed, but I wanted to be extra sure that I wouldn’t have shells coming off over time.  I experimented with neon pink spray paint.  I layered the shells to give it a fish scale effect.  I think it would be super cool in a kid’s room.

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Here are a few other ideas that I found on the world wide web.  Next year I will be prepared with ideas!

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