People always ask what I do with the seashells, driftwood, rocks, and sea-glass I love to collect. My mind is full of things to make, and “Pinterest” keeps that list growing. I’d be lying though, if I said I’ve found uses for all I’ve brought home, but I’ll share a few easy projects and tips.
To start, my collections are kept separated and marked where they’re from, because in reality, it’s not that I craft as much as I make momentums that with a glance we can recall a place and a trip.
The ornament pictured above almost made itself because I found these big shells stuck together. By gluing on a couple other tiny shells, and a candle holder this memory of Parksville, B.C. was completed and ready to sit on our shelf.
On our recent sibling holiday to Vancouver Island, my sister often combed the shores with me. She collected small driftwood for her own craft projects, but I noticed her drawn to pieces of broken blue shells. Sometimes she would admire them then put them down, but sometimes she handed me them suggesting, maybe I could make use of them.
Soon after we were home, I surprised her with the necklace and bracelet set pictured in the collage. It’s hard to believe at my age and with the years of collecting ocean treasures that this is my first attempt at making shell jewelry, but it was.
I researched, “You tube,” for what-to-use and how-to drill holes in delicate shells. A rotary drill, and a diamond tip bit while resting the shell on a cork just submerged in water worked great, none broke.
The coolest thing I learned though, was how-to restore seashells. Dip them for 3 seconds in (1 part Muriatic acid and 3 parts water) then rinse. It removes the white salt residue, revealing and enhancing their color. The difference on some was so amazing, I made Mister come in the bathroom and watch me do a couple.
But please, before trying this, check out a video yourself for the precautions and the process tips.
While in the jewelry making mood, and again getting hints from online videos, I tried my hand at wire wrapping. Finally, making myself a couple sea-glass bracelets.
The wire choices in craft stores is overwhelming, so I researched then took a guess and bought a 20 gauge, silver-plated German wire for these. It’s pliable and easy to work with, but trial and error taught me, that the proper beading pliers (which I got the next trip back into town) worked so much better than an average pair for making loops.
Things like my small shells, rocks and sea-glass I keep in display jars, but I wanted a few special pieces to be more visible than that. Window hangers were my choice for this.
The two I made are pretty basic, but if you want to get creative search Pinterest for ideas. Both these are done with wrapping (one is wire and the other hemp cord) not drilling. I worried about the shells holding the weight of the rocks between them on the longer one, and I also haven’t tried drilling sea-glass yet. I’m not brave enough to risk splitting them.
Another reason these hangers work great is, I can write on the back of the wood where they’re from and the year.
Bigger driftwood is something I collect while home at the lake. Ask Mister, I’ve got shelves of it drying in the extra shed. There’s a tub of dried pieces under our bed, long spindly or neat gnarly ones decorate here and there, inside the house and outside.
Most of my stock pile is for crib boards, which I make and sell. For them, I like the pieces to dry for at least two years. That way any cracks or rotten spots will show up before I hand paint and drill them.
Lamps, shelves, and picture frames are a few other projects on my, to-do-list, though. I love the beachy vibe of driftwood. It will be my wood of choice, and perfect for decorating the home addition we’re planning this spring.
Large driftwood pieces are scattered throughout our yard as landscape ornaments.
When my sister and her husband had a cottage here, her and I would go out driftwood hunting in our 2 person beach kayak. Too bad there are no pictures documenting how we would load that thing down. Sometimes, we barely stayed above water, and we got quite a workout padding the extra weight back home. If a piece was too large to get in or on it, and they were dry enough, we would drag them floating behind on ropes.
On a couple occasions we got the boys to follow us with the pontoon boat back to pieces we set aside, ones we just couldn’t manage with the kayak. Mister often joked he should have a loading crane on, Bella, (our boat) to get some of our finds up on deck.
So this is what I do with some treasures I gather.
Do you collect things while walking a beach or shore?
Do you craft with them?
Do you like to do any kind of crafting?