We are so lucky to live near the coast and beachcombing is great fun. Sadly, I don’t have as much time to do this as I’d like but, whenever I do, I always keep my eyes open for pretty shells and interesting shaped bits of driftwood and pieces of dried seaweed as you never know when they might come in handy…
I wonder how many of you have tried using shells? The finished results can range from really rather yukky seaside ornaments (that aren’t even made in the UK!) to works of complete and utter beauty that can be found in museums and art galleries.
My Mum’s work comes somewhere in the middle – I would say they are definitely of complete beauty but I do realise I am utterly and forever biased – so I am trying to seem fair!
I have used shells many, many times in craft work and you can get the most amazing results. Here are a few tips to help you get the best results when working with shells:
If you are doing something small – as these boxes are – scale down the size of shells that you use.
A detailed little mosaic of miniscule treasures is going to look amazing – clunky lumps of big shells just don’t do it.
I have used shells mainly for mirror frame decoration – so I upgrade the size slightly but again try and go for a more complex intertwining shell look. I usually mix with preserved ivy or something soft and feathery like silk foliage to fill the gaps and balance the strength and angles of the shells. You really can create some beautiful effects.
Experiment with several glues before you make your definitive masterpiece.
Nothing is more infuriating than shells dropping off or not standing the test of time. I have used a dozen different glues over the years but I would say the most useful ones have been pinflair glue gel, hot glue and tacky PVA. In all cases I would ensure you have a fine nozzle rather than gloops of glue – it’s never a good look!
There are lots of places online that sell shells and the little ones look fab on cards – the huge ones are a work of art in themselves – why not have a play? And next time you are on a beach, make sure you keep your eyes peeled!