Summer is finally here!! I always like to do a new shell project each year from my treasures collected from trips to the ocean. The crafts are always fun and easy – and full of memories each time I look at the final product.
In 2014, I made each of my friends a bottle with sand and shells from our annual summer beach trip, and also included a group picture rolled inside the bottle! We all loved it! I used old wine bottles (ones that are slightly tinted green or blue look great – but clear works too). I also found a blue bottle at a thrift store while we were on vacation, and used that one for me. I filled the bottom with sand (maybe an inch thick, any more than that, and the shells disappear), then added small shells and seaglass (treasures from our beach walks). For the picture, I printed one of our group photos on my printer using regular copy paper (4×6 sized), trimmed it so it would not be taller than the bottle I was using, then you just roll it up so it will fit through the opening. It will uncurl by itself. I found that rolling it so the picture is more horizontal (for a group pic), versus vertical where the faces are sideways when placed in the bottle.
Last Christmas, I made beach ornaments filled with sand and shells. For those, I used the clear glass ornaments from a local hobby store. It’s as easy as taking the topper off, filling with sand (using a funnel), and dropping a few small shells. All great memories from our trips. I also included a thumbnail size (2 inch by 2 inch) picture in each of the ornaments. As a finishing touch, I tied a bow at the top using jute twine and tulle. Beautiful!!
I’ve also tried my hand at dying starfish. I love how they turned out, and it’s so simple. Just water down your favorite acrylic paint (1 to 1 ratio to water) or you can also use rit dye. Soak for a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how deep or dark you want the color, lay outside to dry or on a piece of foil or wax paper – paper towels will wick the color out.
This year, my project was inspired by a fellow crafter. She embellished pencil starfish with rhinestones. I loved them!!! So I decided to try something similar, but to make a wall hanging. I had some old pieces of beadboard from another project (but any piece of wood would work or a piece of paper. I painted the beadboard shades of blues, colors that reminded me of the ocean, beachy times. After that dried, I hot glued starfish to the board, and started adding loose acrylic rhinestones here and there. I love how it turned out. What I forgot to do before hot gluing was to fix the back of the board so it would be ready to hang – so I decided to drill two small holes on each side and use some rope tied with knots on each side as the hanger. You could easily hot glue something to the back, but I thought the rope would add an additional nautical touch. Shell and starfish possibilities are endless ~ Have fun!!!