Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Stamping but still Crafty- What to do with all those seashells you collect at the beach!

  This isn't stamping related but I figured you would all humor me with showing this project today.  I don't know if I'm the only one that does this or not but maybe I can help some other shell collector out there.  When we go to the beach every year for vacation I always pick up a lot of shells.  Well a lot is probably an understatement; the first time we went I came home with a giant ziploc bag filled with all different colors of shells, some just pieces, some whole, no rhyme or reason to the collection at all.  What the heck to do with them once I was home??  The next year I had a plan.  I was going to collect enough of one type of shell to make a picture frame when I got home.  I ended up collecting enough purple shells to make a frame for me as well as our friends who went with us.

  Now it has become a tradition every year to collect one type of shell (or this year rocks!) and make a frame to put our annual beach family photo in.  The current year's photo is displayed downstairs in my TV room and the previous years get moved upstairs.  They are all hung in a group in the hallway.  It's fun to look at the different shells as well as the photos which shows our family grow from just the 2 of us, to having Ryan and then Alex.   We aren't much for going to those portrait studios every year for pictures so this more casual style works perfectly for us and I get to make great use of my shells and it gives me a bit more focus while I'm at the beach so I don't end up with a 5 gallon pail full of randomness. 

The Hallway

  This year I wanted to find enough little smooth black rocks to go all the way around the frame. I was glad I picked the easy-to-find rocks since our vacation got cut a few days short due to being evacuated for hurricane Irene.  I had plenty of rocks collected by the time we left partway through the week.  Here is the finished product...sorry about the horrible photo, I need to learn how to photograph glass apparently!

The Family- Aug. 2011
  To get started is really easy....collect what kind of shell you want to use.  The number you need will vary depending on how large the shells are so I always collect more than I think I will need just so I'm not caught short once I'm home.  I get a basic black 8x10 frame at Target.  You want to make sure the frame you choose has a flat front...once that has too much detail or ridges will make it hard for you to glue down the shells.  That and you'll be covering up any details anyway so you might as well not pay for it in the first place.  And lastly you'll need some craft glue that dries clear....I use Ailene's Tacky Glue but any brand will probably work.

See in the upper lefthand corner...that's my coveted sea glass from this last beach trip.  We have an unofficial contest to see who can find the first piece of sea glass, the biggest piece etc.  My mother in law won the biggest this year with 2 very large pieces from the bottom of a wine bottle I think.  Anyway, maybe some day I'll have enough sea glass to do a frame.
  I always do a dry run of my layout of shells/rocks before starting to glue.  Sometimes one shell will not look right next to another one...don't ask me why I guess it's just artistic license or something!  Anyway, laying them out first allows you to rearrange and adjust as needed. 

 Next start gluing.  This actually goes pretty fast...pick up shell/rock put glue on shell/rock put back into place on the repeat until they are glued down.  I don't suggest moving the frame for an hour or so to let the glue set up so your shells won't shift around.  And I always wait a day or so before adding the photo...better safe than sorry.  Just one tip for this part...don't let your shells hang too far off of the bottom edge of the frame.  If any shells stick over too far they will prevent the frame from standing up correctly.  This isn't a concern if you're going to hang it but if you're leaving it on a table top then you don't want it to come crashing down.

  And again with the finished frame.  I just get a 5x7 photo matte (or is it mat??) at a local craft store and hand write the beach we stayed at and the date.  I'd love to hear about or see other ideas of what you do with your shells to capture the memories of your vacations.

  Thanks for looking!  Did you go shelling today?



  1. Ha ha, I'm afraid that I didn't go shelling today! But I did come to see YOUR shelling, and girl, it's amazing! Your photos are all so beautiful. Great job, Amanda - what a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Very cute! Kinda reminds me of the rock table I did this summer. I really need to do that on a frame like you!

  3. What a cute idea for dressing up plain frames and for displaying your photos!


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