Monday, December 6, 2010

Seashell Christmas Trees

Last year we spent Christmas week at my daughter's in Florida.  They lived across the street from the beach and every single day we would trek over there with our ziploc gallon plastic bags and search for seashells.  From the first day I was hooked and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these shells.  In fact, I was looking for special pieces to use as toppers.  (I kept all that to myself because my family would have locked me inside the house for sure!!)

So, this is what I have made -

And, it all began here -

We brought them home in our carry-ons (which is a whole other story - ask the grandsons!!).  I did some research online as to the best way to clean them up.  I think I used 1 part bleach to 3 parts water (but I may have adjusted it).  I spent days and days cleaning, drying, & sorting the shells.  I then bagged them according to size, etc.  (This is where the weird part comes -- I thought I would count as I was bagging them to see how many we brought back -- are you ready?????  1,072  (oh yea!!)

Months later I began to work on the trees.  I used 12" styrofoam cones, a low-temp glue gun (because of the styrofoam), and lots of glue sticks.  I also used a spray gloss acrylic sealer by Plaid to make it all nice & shiny when I was finished.  This is how I began to glue the shells -

I just glued them all around in a single layer.  Don't worry about any imperfections or bad spots on the shells - save those for the first layer - you'll be able to hide them with other shells.  I used the medium shells for the first layer.  In order to hide the styrofoam there were sometimes 2 or 3 layers in certain areas.

There are about 125 shells on these -

When all finished make sure to spray the glossy sealer in a well ventilated area.  I did this in our garage with the doors open.  This does dry fairly fast.

I did 2 of the shell trees and have them displayed with some sand dollars from the beach and some store-bought starfish --

I am now obsessed with shells!!!!  Don't you love the toppers on them??

I think that Lucy's keen sense of smell still makes these shells intriguing to her -

I am linking to Kate's Christmas Craft Party - please click here and get lots of ideas -
cg holiday button

I am also linking to Sally Lee By The Sea's Coastal Holiday Linky Party.  You can click here to see many great ideas!!!  


Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Love the shell trees. Great idea.

- Brittany said...

Great idea! Especially if you have a beach theme going. Shoot, those would look good year round at a beach cottage.

Thanks for sharing at Centsational Girl's party.


Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Love the shell tree! I just did an ornament tree!! Ah the fun you can have with glue guns!

Bloggymom said...

Love the shell trees!! What a grand idea!

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Didn't know that these topiary shell trees are so easy to make!!! Awesome!
Happy Holidays!

The Mulberry Girl said...

Darling! Now I just need the beach cottage to go along with it!

Colleen @ Midwest Cottage said...

What a great way to bring back memories of your Florida trip during the coldest time of the year! The trees look amazing!

AmericKim said...

What a great use for the seashell keepsakes!

Mystica said...

It looks painstaking work but so pretty and you have a memento of your memories!

I have posted my first giveaway on my blog. it is a gift card from CSN Stores. Would like you to please enter!

Summerland Cottage Studio said...

LoVe your shell tree !
Thank you for sharing & happy holiday !

Sally Lee by the Sea Nautical Cottage said...

Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas Seashell Tree at our linky party - we LOVE it!!

Coastal Christmas Hugs,

Sally Lee by the Sea Nautical Cottage said...

Merry Christmas! Your seashell tree is one of our favorite Coastal Christmas Crafts!!

Holiday Hugs,