Seashell Mirror

3 Materials
$100
2 Weeks
Medium

Our youngest daughter and I were in one of those little shops a few years ago and I admired a large, over-the-fireplace-type seashell mirror in all white shells. A mere $1000.

I could do that, I told myself.

My guy brings home stuff he finds when out and about. Some of it’s pretty good. Some of it’s tacky. Some of it doesn’t ever make it across our threshold. But, you never know just what treasures he may
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
This was the first mirror. Note to self: Do NOT use sandpaper to remove stubborn glue from glass. It will scratch. Take the time to fully mask off with tape and paper the glass surface before beginning any work.
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
This is E6000 clear glue. I tried rubber cement, Loctite, and other glues. This is hands down my favorite.
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Fortunately, I had two old mirrors on hand. Masked off the next very well. Sprayed it white. I chose white because I wanted the frame to disappear behind my shells--which I was leaving natural. And I had a can of spray white on hand.
 
Next, I sorted out all the shells in like kinds I'd been hoarding from trips to the beach. I purchased more at TJMaxx and asked the waiter for my escargot shells at dinner one night. This takes a lot of shells. And I wanted pretty shells. My found shells were a bit bland.
 
Work from back to front. I trimmed it with a rope glued on the edge. Next, glue background, throw away shells (I had also saved oyster shells) as filler to cover frame.
 
I didn't want a specific top or bottom. I wanted to hang it vertically or horizontally. I placed prettier shells around edges with larger or more unique ones in the center of each side and at corners.
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
I broke an old fake pearl necklace and hid pearls in some of the shells.
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Photo courtesy BarefootAffairs.com
Propping up each layer of shells took creativity. I used anything to get the right height and angle for individual shells: other shells, small cans, small tools from my work bench, folded papers, etc.
 
I wanted it to look natural, so the shells were cleaned, but pretty much just as they were found. No oiled surfaces, no poly spray.
 
For more details, see http://barefootaffairs.com/making-my-own-sea-shell-mirror/.

Suggested materials:

  • Found & purchased shells  (TJMaxx)
  • E6000 glue  (Hobby Lobby)
  • Mirror  (Thrift shop)

To see more: http://barefootaffairs.com/making-my-own-sea-shell-mirror/

Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Bwi5920699
    on Jun 5, 2017

    How do you clean it?

    • Susan W Bosscawen
      on Jun 5, 2017

      "Gently," I use a microfiber rag and spray window cleaner on mirror, a Q-tip in hard to read places, and a Swiffer dust wand on shells, as needed.

  • Catherine woods
    on Jun 5, 2017

    I have a question. Can you hot glue shells on a a painted canvas?

  • Catherine woods
    on Jun 5, 2017

    Can you hot glue shells to a painted canvas?

    • Susan W Bosscawen
      on Jun 6, 2017

      It would work--up to a point. My concern is, in my experience, hot glue might not be durable enough or strong enough to last indefinitely or for the weight of the shells (some will be glued on top of other shells which are glued on top of other shells below). E6000 is my fave. You may want to to BarefootAffairs.com for more details. I've used hot glue for shells on a simple piece of canvas, one layer, and framed. There wasn't much weight and it was held behind glass in a picture frame--that worked fine.

Join the conversation

3 of 49 comments
  • Susan W Bosscawen
    on Jun 4, 2017

    I used a French cleat. You can buy them or make your own by cutting a 1x1 board on a 45 degree angle and nailing one piece to your frame and the other to the wall. I've done both, just buy it .

  • SANDRA MOORE
    on Jul 11, 2017

    Other ideas for added inspiration:
    Before attaching shells glue sandpaper randomly to the frame then add the shells and leave areas of sandpaper uncovered.
    Sisal rope tied in sailors' knots glued randomly throughout is a nice touch.
    Sisal can also be used as a border around outside edge of frame or around the glass of the mirror.

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