We had a wonderful vacation this past June in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was our first real beach vacation as a family. One of my favorite things we did was walk down to the shore and collect sea shells. I collected a whole gallon size bag and decided apart from the two spoons I got for my collection I would make my souvenirs from my shells.
I found so many ideas and things to do with them on line but to start I wanted to make a monogram of the shells first before I tried anything else. So when we returned home it was one of the first crafts I made. While collecting seashells I really liked the really little ones and initially planned on making it entirely of that but because of the way this wooden M was shaped I decided instead I would use as many different shapes as I could.
Before we left Myrtle beach I had already cleaned my seashells. To clean them I put them in a 2 gallon bucket with bleach water and let them sit for at least 5 hours, a few times overnight. Then using a small brush I cleaned anything remaining off and laid them on towels to dry on our balcony. That way when I brought them home they didn’t smell and were ready to store until I could make my projects out of them. The first step to making the seashell monogram was to find a wooden letter. I found mine at Walmart very inexpensive, you can find them at almost any craft store as they are very popular. First I laid out a pattern of the shells as carefully as I could on the M. It did not end up being the final design but allowed me to see just how many shells I needed and how I would need to place them so that they overlapped. I also used a number of our broken shells to wrap around or layer by the whole shells. Then I took the shells off and laid them out on paper towels (you could use newspaper too) and sprayed them, front and back with Rust-o-leum Painters Touch Ultra Cover Clear Gloss. This gives the shells a shiny sheen so that they look like they are still wet. While they dried I painted the front and the sides of my M white and let that dry overnight. It took about two coats.
Once the M and the shells were dry I got out a plastic knife ( you can also use a wide Popsicle stick or stir stick) and my SimpleSet pre-mixed Thin -set Mortar in white. I love this stuff and a little goes a long way. I layered the mortar on one area at a time and pressed the shells into the mortar. I used my favorite small shells for the skinny legs of the M and the big shells for the large ones. Once all the shells have been placed I let my piece dry in the sun for about 2 hours before moving it. I wrote the date of our vacation and where we went on the back of the M and hung it on my command center wall in my kitchen.
Its a wonderful reminder of the fun we had this summer.
Supplies you need for this project
- Clean Dry Seashells
- Wooden letter
- white wood paint
- Clear Gloss Spray paint
- Pre-mixed thin-set Mortar
- Stick or plastic knife for spreading
Want to try this project, leave a comment below.