DIY Seashell Heart Shadowbox

Oh boy, do we love our seashell collecting.  It’s like our own treasure hunt, walking the beach leisurely as we scan the sand for good finds.

Some days, the shelling is so good, we’re at it for hours!

shelling (768x1024)

Some days, the shells are few and far between but we soak in the sun and sights along the way, nonetheless getting a hefty dose of salt air.

Each shell has its own special story: some are amazingly pristine, and others broken and worn but charming in their own uniqueness.

shelling 2 (683x1024)

So to put some of our favorites on display to enjoy, we decided to make a shell shadowbox!  While it’s by no means a new idea, each is as unique as the seashell collection of each person.

It’s a simple way to display some of your favorite shells using 3 main ingredients: a shadowbox, craft rope, and seashells.

Here’s what you’ll need:

supplies for rope seashell shadowbox

  • seashells
  • shadowbox of desired size (we used this 9″ x 9″)
  • craft rope (we used ivory in .28″ / 7 mm)
  • scissors
  • hot glue
  • tacky or craft glue (not pictured)
  • thumb tacks (optional; to hold rope down while you cut)

pictured but not used: ribbon (but feel free to jazz yours up with some!)

How to make it:

1. Form the rope heart:

Take the backing out of the shadowbox first, and then form a heart with the rope on the display side of the backing.  We played with the shape until we liked it! (You could also draw a heart on the backing lightly with pencil if you’d prefer.)

We used tacks just to secure it while we cut it:

Then glue the ends of the rope so they don’t unravel.  Just a dab or two on the ends, and use your fingers to twist the rope with the glue:

2. Attach the rope heart:

Use a pencil to lightly trace the heart outline (or if you decided to just draw a heart first, you can skip ahead to gluing the rope down):

rope seashell shadowbox step 2a

Then use tacky or craft glue to secure the rope to the backing:

3. Decorate with seashells

Now it’s time for some puzzle fun!  Arrange the seashells inside the heart, first without gluing them down.  Have fun marveling at the seashells you’ve collected, and the memories they bring!

This is where our minds go into zen-mode, as we try a shell here, another one there:

seashell heart shadowbox

Once you like how the shells are arranged, use the hot glue gun (careful to keep it away from your fingers) to secure each seashell.

rope seashell shadowbox step 3b

We thought we might use some ribbon around the border, but really liked the sweet, simple beachy look.

Once dry, you can insert the backing back into the shadowbox.  We removed the glass panel from ours:

seashell heart shadowbox 2

However you go about making your seashell heart, relish in the times of sand and sea and the joyful experience that crafting can bring!

Live porpoisefully, The Taylors

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