I previously replied to a request of what to do with excess shells. I explained how I decorated wooden or chipboard (MDF in Australia) mirror or picture frames with shells.
I recently made one for a friend who celebrated her 40th birthday on the weekend. She was delighted with it so I thought I'd share the picture I took and how I made it.
Firstly, clean the frame with a dry cloth to get rid of any dust and grime. I chose acrylic paints in tubes and used a bristle brush in a circular and criss-cross fashion to give it a suede look. In this particular instance I chose a bright yellow with cream overtones to make it less bright.
I painted both the front, back and the backing piece to the mirror.
While the paint was drying I went onto the computer using the Word Art tool. For the uninitiated, you go to the Insert tab, then scroll down to picture, and across to a menu, until you find Word Art. It will let you type in whatever you want and give you options for colours and the shapes of the text you want. What it does is that your text will go in waves or whatever shape you have chosen. It can give your text a nice touch.
I then cut out the text and also cut enough gold braid to go around the cut out paper. That way it defined the text and showed me where the shells should stop. I then spread PVC glue (wood glue) thickly onto the frame in sections and placed the shells (big and large) in a haphazard way. If you become too regimented about symmetry, it can look too contrived. On the top where I placed the text and trim, I found a nice small colourful starfish to cover the join in the gold trim. It covered it up nicely.
Before the glue dries, sprinkle gold and silver glitter (not too large grade) in amongst the shells and inbetween where the smaller shells are. In between the bigger shells I had placed minute tiny shells to take up the spaces in between the larger shells. I found a zip lock pack of tiny mother of pearl coloured tiny shells. Ideal for filling in spaces and giving added colour. If you have larger shells that may look a little boring, don't be discouraged. I found I needed some fan shells, but the ones I had were old and had lost their colour. I grabbed my youngest's pencil case and used some of her pencils to add a bit of colour. As you ended up spraying the whole piece anyway, the colour won't fade.
Once the glue has dried clear and hard, spray with a clear matte or shiny spray varnish (lacquer) to seal everything. The glitter will fall off if not sealed properly.
You don't have to have a message or text up top of the mirror, that's just what I chose for this particular frame. I included a scripture verse about God throwing our sins into the depths of the ocean, which I thought was really appropriate since I was using shells- and added a note to the verse which said, "And that means absolutely no fishing!"
There you have it, a really inexpensive present which ended up looking like a million dollars and great fun making it. My 14 year old daughter and I had so much fun making this present and it gave us some time together. You can even get your littlies in on the action, placing a shell here and there and it makes them feel special as well because they're able to help out.
Bev in Western Australia