I don’t know why it is that something as innocent as a sea shell can suddenly grab you by the throat, and become the most interesting thing in the world, but it happens. Perhaps it was when I ran across a box of sea shells on a dusty shelf in my craft room, and suddenly realized how beautiful they were, or perhaps it’s when I picked up an old book about shells, whatever the reason, lately I’ve been into sea shells, specifically, making sea shell shadow boxes.
The box of shells came from various family vacations in Florida, and I suspect that many of us have such a box and are not quite sure what to do with it. I’ve enjoyed sorting them and displaying them in shadow boxes, and will show how I made them here.
The shadow boxes themselves can be picked up at garage sales, and also purchased at craft stores. My best source so far, though, has been the local Goodwill store. Among the frames were a surprising number of shadow boxes, and I purchased some for $2.99 each. There used to be a fad back in the seventies for displaying decoupage scenes in shadow boxes, so maybe that’s where they came from. My most expensive shadow box is the one shown here–but I bought it at a 60% off sale.
Aside from the shells and the shadow box, you will need paper to cover the back interior of the box, and some glue (I used an airplane type of glue). To make the labels, I used cream-colored paper (manila can be used), a typewriter, a Pigma Micron .05 black pen, and a pair of scissors. There are different types of shadow boxes–the type shown here has a removable side, but it’s not necessary. Also, a sea shell identification book is helpful.
I measured the inner back of the shadow box, and cut out a piece of cream-colored paper to cover it. Manila paper would work, or a nice piece of smooth watercolor paper. It doesn’t have to be cream colored, but it does add to the antique look. I glued it to the inner back of the shadow box, using Yes! glue. Then I glued the shells to the paper, using an airplane-type glue (clear).
Then it was time to make some old-looking labels, to help the shadow box look like it had been found in a dusty corner of an ancient natural history museum. I typed the shell names on some manila paper.
Forgot to photograph the last step! But just cut out your label, and glue by your specimen using Yes! glue.
Tomorrow I will post a recipe for sand dollar cookies, to keep us all in the sea shore mood. Namaste. Fran