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5 Ideas for Seashell Displays

This, my friends, is apparently my best.idea.ever.
It's my number-one pinned image:

Deb's 'Beach in a Jar'!
more about that in a minute....

I recently took a drive (um... 2200 miles worth) to Seattle, to empty a storage unit,
and while there, I was thrilled by the discovery of four boxes of my seashell collection!
I wasn't sure if they were still in there...

For over ten years, I've used my shell collection in my home decor,
and I have some favorite ways to display them that I'd like to share with you!
(you won't believe number 5...)
This photo shows a few of the ways that I like to display shells...

continue reading for more...

1. In vintage bottles & jars
 * place seaglass, sand or shells that you collect on beach walks into a small bottle,
then label it with the name of the beach and the date.
This is a PERFECT vacation souvenir!
[I have a dozen, from beaches in Hawaii and the West & East coasts]

* fill a large vintage mason, pickle or olive jar with sand, sea grass, and shells
to preserve 'Beach in a Jar'. [I sold tons of these at vintage shows]

* if you don't fill the jar up all the way with shells, you can add water
and then put a floating candle on the top.

 2. Under a glass dome
Whether you use a cake dome, a vintage cloche' or battery jar, or even a glass bell,
'doming' your shells creates an instant vignette.
I love to create 'nests' from sea grass to display my shells and beach finds in under glass...

The following photos appeared on the DreamingVintage blog in 2011,
taken of my island home's summer decor by photographer Elise Liptack:
Left: Seashells under a cake dome in the living room
Right: Glass lamp globes on the dining room table,
with shells on buffet in the background.
 A close-up of shells on the buffet top.

 3. Tucked into Small Containers
My white ironstone creamers, gravy boats, and tea sets were the perfect place
to highlight some very pretty yet tiny shells.
The same effect could be done using cut glass creamers, bud vases, and shot glasses.

 4. In a Bowl or Urn
In a wire urn, use only large-scale shells.
In a glass bowl, fill it up with smaller shells and then place really special varieties on top.

PS: those beach-y signs are my creations, too...
I love finding remnants in the trim moulding bins at salvage yards, and using them for signs.

 5. Do Something Completely Different!

  Yes, that IS a deer head mount covered in seashells!

This project needs some 'splainin':
So, there was this deer mount... bought at a Donner Lake garage sale...
that somehow managed to stay in the family and the decor for over 20 years.
I can't remember HOW, but she was named 'Gertrude' by the kids,
and YES I do realize that there are antlers on this mount so it's not a female / doe.
But I wasn't about to argue with four excitable kids over that fact!

Over the years, Gertie became a sort of 'dress-up' doll:
At Christmas, she'd get a red plastic ball nose and a scarf.
She once wore a rainbow clown wig, oversized sunglasses, and giant bow tie,
another time it was a floral scarf and a big straw hat.
And I seem to remember some Pocahontas ponytails being made from yarn for her, too...

Well, Gertie didn't AGE well. Her hair started to ... um... rot.
That was it. I was ready to throw her out.
And then, after a few too many Vanilla Cokes, I had a really wild idea.

I asked my husband to remove the skin from the mount,
leaving the bare taxidermy form with glass marble eyes and real antlers..
He did it (while looking at me like 'HUH?'!),
then I proceeded to slather the now-bare plastic head form with tile mastic.
I took a jar of broken seashells and pressed them into the mastic.
(we had a nearby beach that didn't have sand - it had tiny broken seashells instead)
I just kept pressing more and more shells into the mastic
until every last inch of Gertie was covered with them.

And she was stunning! CLASSY even!
I was amazed at how great she looked.
I was MORE amazed that even though people oooh-ed and ahhhh-ed over her,
she didn't sell at the show I took her to:

[shown in our RETREAT booth at the BarnHouse Marketplace Show]

So, Gertie ended up back on the wall in our home...

...and at Christmas, she got an upgrade from the red plastic nose!
The vintage glass garlands, pearl floral spray, and tiny crown
made Miss Gertie look positively regal.

I did finally sell Gertie before moving away from Seattle,
but this is a project I am pretty sure I'll be re-visiting in the future.
I just loved the look... even though I really don't like animal mounts.

I'm trying to think of other unique things that I could cover with broken shells...

any suggestions?!

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  1. Great ideas for how to use (and hide) shells! I can NEVER have enough!

  2. Love shells! Sweet ideas. I like the look, too, of using pretty little shells as 'handles' on the top of corked jars. That's my next little project.

  3. All good ideas for shells. I have all of my own in big clear glass containers.

  4. Such fun and pretty coastal decor! Off to pin all these great ideas :) Happy Summer!

  5. All I can say is that I would have had to purchase Gertie if I'd seen her/him at the show! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ways to use and display shells on the new All Things Creative FB page. Pinning!

    1. HaHa! Thank you Jane, and I wish you had had the chance to make her yours. I never liked Gertie UNTIL I covered her with seashells, and then I had to let her go! She was a fun project, though, and I remember where I was and things that happened while I was working on her (like the baby deer we called Bambi and his Mama walking softly through the pasture that was our vintage show field, right outside the workshop...) and I do have a few photos, so I am happy with the memories. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment! <3