Summer Shell Art

I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be a contributor on skirt! magazine‘s blog!  Every few weeks I’ll be posting something related to their latest issue.  You can find my first post on their blog here, and I’ll also be sharing on my blog 🙂  Here’s my first post for summer:

As a kid, one of my favorite summer pastimes was collecting sea shells from the beach.  I used to have containers of my treasures in my closet growing up and loved going through them and remembering great trips.  But why keep the shells in boxes tucked away in a closet?  Why not proudly display them in your home?

When I moved into my first solo apartment after college a few years ago, I needed something to put on my empty walls, and looked to my beach finds for help.  Within an hour I had painted a wooden frame, added a burlap background, attached a starfish on top, and hung it on my wall!  Ever since then I’ve been finding different ways to create art out of sea shells, sharks teeth and oyster shells that I find around the lowcountry.

Today I’ll walk you through an easy beach craft that you can make no matter your ago, and that can be customized to any room in your house!

Shell Art

What you’ll need:

  • Canvas
  • Various sea shells & beach finds
  • Goop adhesive

You can find regular or burlap canvases, as well as the Goop adhesive at your local craft store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and be sure to use a coupon 🙂

First, clean the sand off of your shells and let them dry on a paper towel.  Then arrange the shells on the canvas in whatever design you want.  Get creative!  You can create a geometric design, a shape, or even write something out.  I opted to make a wave out of sharks teeth, a heart and the palmetto and crescent with sea shells and just individual oyster shells on smaller canvases.

Next you’ll want to attach the shells to the canvas one at a time using the Goo adhesive.  Note: Goo adhesive is really strong like a liquid cement.  If you don’t have any, hot glue will work, but will not be as secure or permanent.

Finally, hang the canvas on your wall, stand back, and admire your work!

shell art 08shell art 06shell art 04 shell art 07 If you’re feeling extra crafty, paint the canvas or shells to match your room.  A fun colored canvas will give your shells and the room an extra pop!  The options are endless with a full spectrum of paint colors and a box of your favorite beach finds.

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Oyster Shells on Canvas

This is another example of a project I came up with in my head that I decided would be a great weekend project to knock out in an hour.  Plus, I had most of the supplies on hand, so I just needed to grab some small canvases the next time I was at Michael’s (which is pretty frequently).

Oyster Shells on Canvas

What you’ll need:

  • 4 oyster shells
  • Gold spray paint
  • 4  4″x6″ canvases
  • Navy blue spray paint
  • Clear sealer
  • Liquid cement or hot glue gun

First things first, you’ll want to paint your oyster shells and canvases.  I laid out a big piece of cardboard, put my oyster shells on one side and spray painted the backs of them gold.  Since the shells are going to be mounted, you’ll want to use some that are similar in size, and that are flatter.

oyster shell canvas 01

On the other side of the cardboard, I laid out my 4 canvases, and spray painted them blue.

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It took about 3 coats of blue to get the canvases completely covered and to the shade I was looking for.

When the gold was dry on the oysters, I hand painted the edges gold, then sprayed the top with a clear sealer.  Now you’re ready to attach.

oyster shell canvas 03

Get your hot glue gun ready and use it to attach one shell to the middle of a canvas.  Tip: Sit the shell on the table first and see the places where it’s touching the table.  Those are the points that you’ll want to put the hot glue, where it will attach to the canvas.

Put the glue on those points and press it onto the canvas.  I tried to press the canvas and the shell tight in those spots to make sure it was firmly attached.  Repeat for the remaining 3 shells.

Note: You can also use a liquid adhesive like Goop for a sturdier and more permanent hold.

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When they’re dry, you’ll have a set of 4 oyster shell canvases!
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You can hang them on your wall as a set of 4, or use them individually in various spots!  The best part of canvas, is that there’s already the lip that the nail can hang on.

oyster shell canvas 04IMG_7126So for about $10 and a little time, you can add a classy, coastal flair to your wall!  Or if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making it yourself, you can find these on my shop!

Wine Cork Wreath

It was just a matter of time before I made a wine cork wreath considering all of the wine cork crafts I make, as well as all of the wreaths I’ve made.  The process may have been expedited when I was talking about making one of these wreaths with my co-worker Marianne, as well as my aunt Beth within a week.  Well, here you have it!

Wine Cork Wreathcork wreath 01

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks!
  • Wooden wreath form
  • Hot glue gun
  • Twine

The thing I like about wine cork crafts is how easy and quick they are to make.  Every craft (except for the wine cork tree) takes a matter of minutes if you have the corks handy, and this was no exception.

The first thing I did was actually not related to wine corks — I tied a piece of twine around the wreath, which will make it easier to hang later without putting too much stress on the corks.
cork wreath 02

Now to the corks!  Get your wreath form, plug in your hot glue gun, and have lots of corks ready. First, I arranged the corks on the inner part of the wreath form to make sure they fit nicely.

cork wreath 04

You can tell there’s a little space between a few, but overall they fit great.  Next, glue the corks to the inside of the wreath, one by one.  I applied a line of hot glue to the cork, and made sure that was the piece that attached on the inside of the wreath, as follows:

cork wreath 03

Then I did the same thing for the outside of the wreath.  Again, for the most part the corks fit and filled the wreath nicely, but you can see a few spaces.

cork wreath 05

The fun part was then filling in the middle with more rows of corks.  Instead of laying them all out and then gluing them, I just went for it and started gluing.  I glued both rows at the same time (inside cork, then outer cork) to make sure they fit together within the space nicely.

Slowly make your way around the wreath, just gluing away..

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Finally, you’ll get to a point where you’re done!  Of course I had a spot where a cork wouldn’t fit, so I ended up putting one in sideways to solve that problem.

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After looking at it, the sideways cork bothered the OCD tendencies in me, so I had to fix it.  I removed the cork, cut it in half, then glued the 2 halves into the wreath in the same direction as the others.

cork wreath 08

Much better!  The wreath looked too plain to hang like that, but I couldn’t decide what else to do to it..

Full transparency: I made this wreath in November, but wasn’t ready to take down my cotton boll wreath yet, so it ended up sitting on the floor in our office for a few months.  When I was ready to switch them out, I had to decide what else to add to it.

After pulling the wreath back out and looking at it on our table, I decided I wanted to add “Cheers” to it (seemed appropriate considering the wreath is made of corks).  I looked at the craft stores to see if they had any wooden letters with cheers already done that I could just paint, but alas, no.  I grabbed the last small canvas I had (~4″ x 8″) and decided to paint a sign instead.

In an effort to use the Cricut, I decided to cut out a ‘cheers’ stencil on card stock to use when painting.  I cut it out, taped it to the canvas, then painted around the letters until I was happy.  I ended up using blue spray paint, then splattering silver and light blue acrylic paint on top.

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I removed the stencil, touched up the letters with a white paint pen, and hot glued some twine to the back so the sign could hang.  Cheers sign, done!

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Finally, I hung the wreath and the sign on the door.  I was worried the sign would blend into our black front door, but it still contrasts nicely.

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And how nice does it look with our new front light?  We had been planning on replacing the faded plastic lights by the front and back doors, and Hunter surprised me with new lights last weekend!  Seriously, it’s the small things like lights, new numbers on your door, a coat of paint, and a cute wreath to freshen up the front of your house!

Now what can I make with the wine corks Laney just brought me…?

Update: A few corks have fallen off after either being in the heat or hanging, so I ended up reattaching them with liquid cement, Goo.  This seems to have done the trick and is a stronger hold!

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Iron On Pillows

I’ve made iron on pillows once before, to spruce up our place for the holidays, but I wanted to try it again using the Cricut to make the cutting process WAY easier and give me more design options.  I found some basic black iron on transfer at Michael’s, pillow cases at Hobby Lobby, and was off!

Iron On Pillows

What you’ll need:

  • Iron on transfer paper
  • Pillow cover
  • Cricut
  • Weeding tool
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Dish towel

First, decide on a design.  After way too much thought, I went the simple route and wrote out a phrase in Design Space.  When you’re ready to cut it out, make sure to click the box to reverse the design for iron on.  Extremely important step…  Also, put the iron on transfer paper on the mat shiny side down.  Then let the Cricut go to work!

beach pillow 01

Once your design is cut on the iron on transfer, you’ll need to “weed out” the extra around the letters.  I have a tool specifically for this that came with the Cricut.   It kinda reminds me of a dental tool, but makes the process a lot easier.

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When you have weeded all the excess away, you’ll be left with a reversed view of your design.

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Ready for a fail?  The first time I tried this, I wanted to iron the design on this cute chevron burlap pillow case I got at Hobby Lobby.  I should have known that iron + burlap = disaster… but didn’t, so I was pretty surprised to lift up the dish towel and see a terribly crinkly mess.  So what did I learn? Burlap based pillow cases are a no go with iron on.

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Round two, this time with a cotton pillow case 🙂  Preheat the pillow where the design will go with your iron for a few seconds.  Then lay down the design, sticky side down so the design isn’t reversed, where you want it on the pillow.

Place a thin dish towel on top and iron.  Hold the iron for about 30 seconds, then lift and place on another part of the design.  When you’ve ironed the design, remove the dish towel and start to lift the clear backing of the iron on transfer away from the design.  If it’s still attached, iron it for a few more seconds until done.

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Voila!  Your pillow is done and ready for an insert.

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Not bad for my first second attempt at iron on pillows using the Cricut!  Since it does the cutting and has the backing to keep the design in place, this time around was much easier and more professional looking.  Using an exacto knife was way more time consuming and had more room for errors.

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After making the love one, I put an anchor on a fun blue chevron fabric. This just got addicting..

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What other phrases or designs should I put on pillows?  I’m thinking a fun Charleston one next… PS – You can find all my pillows in my Etsy shop!

Side Projects

I’ve been making a lot of things for friends lately, and wanted to share with y’all what I’ve been working on even though they’re not “new” projects.

USC Pillows

After my friend Will saw the Clemson pillow I made for Panda, he asked if I could make some USC ones for him and his parents.  We came up with a design (the state outline and USC emblem), then I got to work!

will 01

will 02 I can’t wait to see these in their new homes!

Wedding Date Canvas

Kaylee is getting married the week before us and liked the date on burlap canvas I made, so I did one for her!  I couldn’t find the smaller burlap canvases at Michael’s anymore, but got bigger ones which allowed us to personalize it a bit more.  In other news, I’m obsessed with the “&” in Carolyna pro.

kaylee

Etsy Shop

I’ve also been busy with some Etsy sales!  I made a Washington state home pillow for a customer, and learned a little bit about U.S. geography.  Plus my little helper had to check out what I was doing..

washington

I’ve also been trying to prepare my shop and my inventory for the holiday season.  I made another batch of small, medium, and large soy oyster shell candles so they’re ready to ship.  You’ll be seeing some other holiday crafts coming soon that I’m hoping to also offer on my shop!

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<plug> When you’re starting to think about buying presents for the holidays, I hope you keep me in mind!  I’m happy to make almost anything, and ship it as soon as possible.  You can use code BLOG20OFF for 20% off until Christmas! </plug>