DIY Sea Inspired Shell Frames

I love days when I can create frames for the watercolors I paint of the beach, fish, crabs, well you get the idea. My first fun task is to stop by the three thrift shops in Galveston that carry used frames. Goodwill on the island is a great place to find any size and shape you desire, but choices are different in somebody else’s home town.

Find amazing frames at your local thrift store.

Find amazing frames at your local thrift store.

I usually pick up multiple and hopefully matching sets of 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14 and higher. A big score is when I find 3 or 4 of the exact same frame to create sets. When I get home it’s time to clean the glass with cleaner and prepare each frame for painting. Separate all the pieces and with a erasable marker put “A” on the first group of parts, “B” on the next, etc. You don’t want to get the pieces mixed up because one piece of glass doesn’t always fit the same sized frame.

I put newspaper on a table outside with tape when there is wind or not. Place the frames that will receive the same color on the newspaper and spray paint your color on. Do 2 coats with 1/2 hour dry time. Remember to flip them over and get the sides. Now spray on a sealer like polyurethane or whatever is cheapest in the store.

I have no problem buying new frames at deep discounts, like 50% to 75%. You can get matching sets this way.

Get your supplies together.

Get your supplies together.

Once your frames are ready and dry you need to gather some supplies. Glue gun or plastic glue bottle is fine with brush, seashells, sand, pearls, scissors, rope, colored glass beads and anything nautical or beachy is great.

Now you’re going to add your precious beach finds onto the frames. I like to keep things balanced, so I try to create a pattern. One of these, one of these, and three of these, repeat.

Kids love these projects and I suggest giving them one frame each, sand, small shells and glue. Don’t forget to take pictures because you’ll be laughing and want to remember this day.

So here are some finished projects, some are mine and some are friends who blog about wedding décor and art projects for home.

Rope is very nautical and can be feminine with seashells with a touch of pearlescent glitter.

Rope is very nautical and can be feminine with seashells with a touch of pearlescent glitter.

Get your beach framed art noticed with seashells.

Get your beach framed art noticed with seashells.

beachart7Now starfish like this white finger starfish mirror can be pricey to purchase and laborious to find on the beach. So I found a great solution or should I say recipe for creating salt-dough finger starfish. The greatest part of this budget conscious idea is the food dye you can add to the recipe. Can you say blue finger starfish?

With a little paint or dye, this salt dough starfish is a budget friendly project.

With a little paint or dye, this salt dough starfish is a budget friendly project.

How about this pic of treasures from the sea? Not a frame, but a nice addition to framed art walls to get some ocean themed shells and blues into the room.

An easy way to add beach décor with shells in a framed grouping.

An easy way to add beach décor with shells in a framed grouping.

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DIY Update to Coastal Desk and Mirror

I find the most beautiful things when I thrift shop. Yet, those items are not always in the color, shape or design I want. Buying a large mirror in the wrong color could be a simple update with the right paint and accessories.

Hand painted mirror with sand dollar garland.

Hand painted mirror with sand dollar garland.

I filled in the places with acrylic navy blue paint where the wrong color was on the mirror. Use a dry brush technique to blend the new color into the remaining colors on the mirror for best results.

Closeup to dry brush technique and replacing old color with new.

Closeup to dry brush technique and replacing old color with new.

You’ll see a sand dollar garland I made with light weight string and small seashells. I’m a sucker when it comes to seashells of any kind. As a scuba diver I spend time taking pictures and collecting only the dead shells I find in the sand underwater. Ending any life just isn’t part of who I am.

This project took less than a half hour and drying time was about the same. I hung up the mirror in my unfinished living room just to give the space a little color. Can you see inside the mirror where I blocked off a hallway with matching shiplap. The ceilings in the home are all bare until I get every single nail out. Whew! I Really need to paint that wall today.

As a retired person I thought I’d lay in the sun at the beach and eat fruit, cheese and crackers with cold imported

Vintage dresser upcycle to desk.

Vintage dresser upcycle to desk.

beer. But nooooo, I have to nest and create and paint my watercolors. So, I plunged into a reconstruction project to gain a desk from the bottom piece of a vintage dresser.

Bought this vintage dresser 2 pieces for $75.

Bought this vintage dresser 2 pieces for $75.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it’s difficult to see under that gorgeous afghan that I did buy for a friend, but there is a two drawer piece behind the roses. I took the drawers out for another project, used a hacksaw blade and gutted the piece that is now my desk. I chose not to keep any of the drawers so my legs wouldn’t get cramped in the small space. I have plenty of storage with built in bookshelves and a huge armoire in my bedroom.

I shaped the legs, glued a leg back on and painted the whole piece with white chalk paint, Inside the desk I painted panels sea green to match the chair I found when thrifting for $15.00. I plan to use a dark wax to bring out the swirls on the legs…they’re very cool.

Well, I have to go, my dog Reilly is using my desk as a viewing post of the cat next door…sigh.

 

Shopping for Beach, Sea and Ocean Decor on Galveston Island

It’s a perfectly beautiful day to go shopping on Galveston Island in the state of Texas. Once you cross the bridge, one main road, Broadway, takes you through the entire town and ends at the water’s edge.

The shopping in Galveston has some of the best coastal art, artifacts and furniture I’ve ever seen. We have a large port with cruise ships coming in daily, so the Strand near the port is full of unique shops that carry nautical goods.

Gulf Coast Decor, Galveston Shopping

Gulf Coast Decor, Galveston Shopping

Every time I shop with friends I find something new to add to the two beach homes I’m refurbishing. I love a coastal beach decor and have begun to collect pieces that reflect my taste.

Buoys to hang indoors or out.

Buoys to hang indoors or out.

The buoys I found from a shop located at the Strand are a great bargain. Many DIY’ers will cut 4X4’s, then use a jig saw to make the curvy cuts. Use a drill for the rope to hold up the buoy. A little paint job and voila, you have a great patio art piece.

If you’re short on cash, look for ideas when you shop that you can copy with your own version. So bring a camera and take pics of art made from wood and paint. This is one of the easiest ways to understand the structure of the piece, then add your own saying with paint or markers.

DIY with wood and paint.

DIY with wood and paint.

We all have an artistic gene somewhere in our bodies, you just have to find yours. Gluing three cut boards together, then hand painting a beach message like, “I LOVE THE BEACH, is as easy as making your kids lunch and putting their name on the paper sack. Add some beach sand and glued on shells for an extra bit of fun. Kids love these kinds of projects. Give it a shot.

Shopping for furniture in Galveston is pretty easy with the number of resale, wholesale and bargain hunting thrift stores on the island. I’ve found cane chairs, wood Adirondack loungers and beach lamps with rope and seashells.

You’ll find a casual light, bright and airy decor on the island. Whites, ecru, soft sea greens and light blues are a constant color scheme. Leaning portraits, mirrors and artifacts is common with large pieces or grouping small ones together.

Most homes decorated here on the island are light, bright and airy.

Most homes decorated here on the island are light, bright and airy.

Large fluffy white or off white chairs and couches are arranged around the fireplace. Seashells in various sizes are around the mantle and windows here on the island. If anyone uses curtains in the Spring or Summer it will be lace or diaphanous drapes that let in the light and air.

If you take the ocean view scenic route along “the wall” you’ll find many shops that cater to the taste of beach decor. Plan to spend the whole day and don’t forget your camera.