Our favorite family getaway is to a Hatteras Island beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX as we call it). Each time we go we collects hundreds of shells and now my home has bags and bags full of shells taking up space! I had to come up with some creative solution to display our treasured shell finds and thought a gallery wall of framed shell art would be perfect!
I’m thinking we might have gotten a bit carried away with the shell collecting this last trip. We also spent the evenings sorting the shells into separate color piles. (Yes, I’ve passed down some horrid OCD tendencies to my kids… sorry kiddos.)
How to Make Framed Shell Art
To make shell art you will need:
frames with mats, shells, card stock, tape, scissors, hot glue.
Optional items: spray paint and high gloss spray polyurethane.
Pick up some inexpensive frames with mats. I chose 6 frames from Target. They were 15 x 19 inches with an 8 x 10 inch opening inside the mat and ran around $15 each. They came in black and white but I wanted a brushed nickel color so I disassembled the frames and spray painted them! You will not be using the glass in your frames, so save it for another project. While the frames were drying, I decided to spray the shells with a light coat of high gloss spray polyurethane. The gloss brings out all the gorgeous color and shine of wet shells.
Tape a piece of white cardstock to the backside of the mat on all four sides. I used strong packing tape.
Flip the mat and cardstock back over to the front side and start placing and arranging your shells onto the card stock. I chose to place the largest shells at the bottom and worked my way up to the smaller shells at the top.
Once you have all the shells arranged exactly how you like them, then carefully pick up one shell at a time and apply the hot glue to the shell.
Apply the hot glue just inside the edges and foot of your shell. Carefully place the shell back onto the cardstock. You get ONE chance at this, because once it is down on the paper you can not move it. You also don’t want to apply too much glue or it will ooze out from behind the shells.
After gluing your shells, reassemble your mat into your frame and you are ready to hang it on your wall! These shells that we collected come in so many different colors. We found black, gray, white, cream, pink, yellow and red shells. Yellow was not shown here because I didn’t have enough shells to fill the space. I’ll have to look out for those on our next trip!
Display your framed shell art as a single piece of art or as an entire gallery wall! I did a post on Tips & Tricks for Making a Gallery Wall which will save you a ton of time and frustration and give you professional results!
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