Sunday, February 14, 2016

Seashell Craft Decorative Plaque

Red crab and fish complement the seashells

Do you have a stash of seashells laying around? Why don't you try a seashell craft that uses the seashells, some sand, and perhaps some accessories to make a decorative plaque for your walls. You can match them with some beach themed photos and make a nice grouping on a wall or two. (I have heard bathrooms have appropriately sized walls.)

In this article I am presenting nine plaques I crafted and gave away as gifts (I may have even sold one here and there) to give you an idea as to what is possible. These particular group of plaques are designed on wood frames meant to hold 5 x 7" photos. They hang by the twine that has been threaded through a couple of holes at the top.

The one above and the following two have the original length twine which let the plaques hang 5 to 6 inches below the nail. I took the twine off and rethreaded it so it hung from the back of the frame instead of the front. I believe I bought these at Michael's craft store. You can also try your local craft store or craft stores on the internet.

Little red crab hangs out the seashells

I usually get my seashells from beachcombing expeditions to the local beaches. So I collect a lot of different types of seashells, most of which I have no idea what they are called. They also have imperfections from being tossed around in the ocean waters after the animal that called them home ceased to be.

The above photo also shows a bit of sea fan (long, dark thing) which I also picked up on the beach. The accessories, meaning the fish, crabs, or pearls, I bought from a candle supply store. They are usually used to decorate gel candles. If you want to use some of these types of accessories do a search and see what you can find.

Black fish swims by while red crab hides under shell

To hold everything together I used Elmer's standard white glue (you can use any glue which does not wash off). Once this glue sets and hardens it's there for good. It also allows for repositioning items if you are not happy with the original placement.

I usually place all the seashells where I want them first and glue them in place after the dry run. Once the glue sets, I'll paint the wood that is showing with glue and sprinkle sand over the wet glue. Then it's wait for the glue to dry up. Just let the plaque lay there for a few hours.

This plaque uses faux pearls

After everything dries up, pour off the excess sand by tilting the frame to one side. If you used paper under the wall craft you can easily pour the excess sand back into your container.

Now give it a coat of polyurethane, high gloss, gloss, or semi-gloss. Using a spray can would be the easiest. This coating will bring out colors in the seashells and sand (also coral, sea fan, or other non-glassy items). It will also protect your seashell craft from the elements.

Red crab under coral

If you want to add pearls, fish, crabs or other glassy decorative touches to your craft do it now that you're done with the polyurethane coat. Otherwise they may lose their luster. Try it - you'll see what I mean.

red crab stares at marble

another red crab and marble

red crab heading toward marble

crab peeks out at pearl

So there they are. A few examples of what you can do with a bit of sand and some seashells to make yourself a decorative wall plaque.