Oh those wonderful summer days of kicking back on the beach with the kids running wild across a gorgeous expanse of sand! They seem a long time ago now, although the ridiculously large collection of shells we have in the craft cupboard that Roo so carefully collected on each trip serves as a constant and rather space-consuming reminder of the summer.
I’ve been wondering how best to preserve Roo’s sea shell collection for a while now. I’ll admit that a few times I did just consider ‘losing’ them but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t really fancy leaving them to collect dust in a decorative bowl in the bathroom either…
With Christmas just around the corner it seemed logical to turn them into a gift of some kind we could give to family and friends and so the idea of making a sea shell photo frame began.
The various bits for the project were gathered slowly: photo frames from charity shops and the garden centre end of season sale (only £1 each) and plaster of paris from our local craft shop. Then we set to work. I mixed up the plaster of paris and pasted it onto the frames, leaving Roo to choose which shells to use and how to arrange them. We finished everything off with a sprinkle of beads or glitter. The white glitter looked particularly effective.
Now Roo’s sea shell bag is a fraction of its original size and we have realised we might actually need some more – the frames have worked out far better than I ever hoped. The only problem now is that Roo has declared that the shells are all her favourites and thus she needs to keep all the sea shell photo frames. Not quite how I saw it panning out. Now for some negotiation…
How to make a sea shell photo frame
You will need:
- Lots of sea shells! Worn down coloured glass pieces that you sometimes find on the beach would also work well.
- A wooden photo frame.
One with a rim around the frame edges would be ideal to keep the plaster of paris in place. You need something a bit rough to help get the plaster of paris to stick so shiny plastic frames are probably not be that great. If you’re handy with a saw then you could always make your own very basic frame.
- Plaster of paris
- An old bowl (plaster of paris is not easy to get off)
- An old spoon
- Glitter/beads (optional)
- Mix up some plaster of paris in an old bowl. This is something you will want to do with little kids out of the way – the dust is not good to breathe in (best to wear a scarf over your mouth). It’s really easy though – check the packet but it’s roughly half the volume of water to powder. Stir slowly to avoid air bubbles and don’t make it too wet – you need a thick paste that will more or less stay in place for success.
- Spoon the plaster of paris onto the frame making sure to fill right to the edges.
- Let your child loose on filling the plaster of paris frame with sea shells! You will need to supervise them closely if they are fairly little and tell them not to put their fingers right into the plaster of paris – it heats up as it sets.
- If you like, fill in any white spaces with a sprinkling of a pale or earthy toned glitter. Very small beads work well too although you’ll need to press them in gently to get them to stick after the plaster of paris dries.
- Put your frames to one side to dry out.
- Pop in a picture, wrap and put under the tree! Or maybe just keep them as a momento of your summer adventures.