Sea Shell Fantasy



I have a funny thing about Christmas–I really love it in some ways, but the moment it’s over, I turn the page and am ready for something new and washed clean. Right now, I’m thinking about sunny beaches and sea shells. The photo above is from a post about Illinois State Beach Park (9/24/2011), and it’s what I want to see, to think of the warm water washing over the sand, and to think of that wonderful, sunny day. This led me to think about sea shells–somewhere I had seen a picture of a little wooden box encrusted with sea shells, like jewels, and I decided to rummage through my box of shells and make something similar.

Soon, I had newspaper spread out over the dining room table, and I was sorting through shells, and painting and gluing. Heaven!


By the way, you may wonder how/why I would be doing this so soon after having a stroke, but where there is a will there is a way. My eyes don’t work together, but you would be surprised at what you can do with one eye. Also, I worked for a few minutes, and then had to rest, and after gluing the last shell, I collapsed into an exhausted pile and slept for an hour. But just being able to have some fun after being in the isopropyl alcohol-scented sensory deprivation box that is a hospital room was truly healing.

Here is the little box I made, posed with some beautiful shells.


How to make: These are general instructions only, because each box is unique, especially in terms of the shells. I used a small oval paper mache box purchased at a craft store, and rummaged through my box of shells. You can also purchase shells online, or at craft stores. I mixed up some very pale pink tempera paint and painted the box, top and bottom. Then came the fun part–to play with the shells and to make a pattern on the lid. You know how in design they say less is more? Well, with shells, more is more–this is a time to make something truly over the top. You can go back to minimalism tomorrow.


I also lined the interior of the box, and the bottom, with newspaper.


Choosing shells.

When you have your pattern, glue on the shells. Use a jewelry-type glue, not white craft glue. Liberally apply glue to the box and set the shell down into the pad of glue. Holding the shell with tweezers can help keep your hands clean.


I had some little pearls that I added to any empty spots. When everything is glued on, apply a coat of gloss medium, just to highlight the shells with a sheen. I used Golden Polymer Gloss Medium.


Here’s a simpler box. It’s nice way to highlight a pretty little shell.





One thing that is strange about getting older is that you start to really see things that you thought you had seen all your life. Birds have been like that for me, as well as shells. Shells are really wild, amazing things, like perfect sculptures created by Mother Nature, and I never get tired of looking at them.


Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you are doing well. Saw this little fellow yesterday, and thought you might enjoy! Peace to you. Fran








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