Trying to figure out what to do with all those pretty seashells you found at the beach? Why not make this cute, and useful, coastal tray?
As seen on Sarasota’s Suncoast View
We love the beach and now that we live in Florida, we head out whenever we can. Of course, you can’t go to the beach without collecting seashells and we’ve definitely collected our fair share. Like most people, once we got them home, we didn’t really know what to do with them. Ours just sat in a closet, waiting for me to figure it out.
Eventually I decided to start using them as part of my decor. Since I’d already been buying home decor with shells, I thought I should save a little money and make my own. I started with my office area and made this cute coastal message board and pencil holder. My file rack also got a transformation but I forgot to blog about it…oops!
I even used a seashell as a pull for an old side table that I made over with a coastal look.
I’d been planning to make more coastal decor but hadn’t found the time. However, I was recently asked to be on the Sarasota morning show, Suncoast View, to share some summer related crafts. Yay…now I had a good excuse to sit around crafting with seashells.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to make so I wandered around the craft store for inspiration and came across this wooden tray.
I put it in my basket but still didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Then I saw this sign…see what I mean about searching the store for inspiration? It works every time!
The craft store is the best place to find inspiration because once you know what you’re doing, everything you need is right there! I grabbed my supplies and headed home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Chalk paint in coastal colors
I couldn’t wait to get started! Originally I planned to use brown as well but when I tested it out on an old piece of wood, I didn’t particularly like it. I suggest you do this if you’re not completely sold on the colors you choose. While I didn’t like the brown, I loved the blue and white chalky acrylic paints. The blue shade is French Teal and the white is well, just White. Boring but it works! I painted the tray and let it dry overnight.
Once it was dry, I used sandpaper to give it a weathered look.
Next it was time to add the letters. I didn’t want it to look too “neat” so I made the letters kind of crooked.
When I use stencils, I’ve found that a sponge brush seems to work best. I dabbed on the paint and tried not to make it too thick because I still wanted a weathered look. When you paint with stencils, be sure you remove them while the paint is still wet. Otherwise when you pull them off, you may pull some of the paint off along with them.
Finally, use a hot glue gun to add the seashells. There’s really no right or wrong way to do this part. Just pick your prettiest shells and arrange them how you like.
I’m really happy with the way this project turned out. I would have paid big money for this at the store but everything together cost less than $10. At $5, the tray was the most expensive item but you could probably find one even cheaper at Goodwill.
I added a few shells to the back, too.
If you’re planning to use this as a decorative piece, you can probably just leave it as is. If you’re going to make it functional, like I plan to do, you may want to add a coat of polyurethane or other protective spray. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other 1,273, 398 shells in my closet!