ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Design with shells, trash finds, old vases & imagination!

Updated on April 11, 2017
brightforyou profile image

Retired counselor, 341 short stories published by FSU. I have 4 sons, love sharing photography, writing, love travel, sunshine, sea & Grace.

Make your own!


Another man's trash

Are you bored, lonely, have time on your hands, or just want to create? I have the perfect solution for you:

If you are up for it, take a walk trash day morning, or take your car. Its amazing what people put out on the side of the road! I've furnished my beautiful, shabby-chic lanai using almost all throw away's or beach finds (see photos). I've also designed my back yard using flag stones, bricks and other masonry from these roadside finds. I built a fire-pit as well as a 7' x 7' patio and centerpiece (see photos).

Are you like me and can't throw away those vases from the flowers you received? Then use them. Fill them with shells, or those shiny beads you get from the dollar store; they also sell shells, different colored sands, stones, Raffia and so much more. Plus their vases and shaped glass dishes are all only a dollar each. I can't throw out gifted flowers once they've died. Most will dry nicely and they look great in my lanai (see photos with butterfly).

Do you have a park or beach you can get to? Its amazing what you can do with the leaves and natural debris you find. I've made center pieces from the torn off barks of Coconut trees which I find strewn on the beach. I've also made designs from curly pieces of bark or branches.

If you are lucky enough to be near a beach, then you have a whole host of goodies to bring home and work with. After a storm I was lucky enough to find a life-saver washed up; it was plain white and covered in gouges and looked rough, but I spray painted the 4 orange stripes and filled the gouges with pretty shells; it looks great (see photos). Another great find was a washed up crab pot. I took it home and cleaned it, spray painted it and then filled it with shells, grasses and a few of the dollar store flowers (see photos). Its now hanging in my back yard and really looks good!

Driftwood doesn't just have to come from the beach. I have found great pieces in local parks or along the side of the roads (keep your eyes open there are treasures everywhere)! These pieces of driftwood can be made into several designs or just add great character hanging on the wall (see photos).

I probably have collected 10,000 or more shells over the last few years, all locally and mostly all used to enhance my front garden, back yard and my home. I have decided I will make my own holiday decorations this year. I only have one or two so far. I found an old bottle, sprayed it silver, added a large sand dollar and bow and filled it with some of the strewn sea grasses found on the beach. (see photos).

Just a few days ago I was walking around the neighborhood when an elderly gentleman came up to me and handed me a beautiful, plucked Hibiscus. (I would rather it had stayed on the plant) but thanked him, came home knowing it had only hours to live. So, I sprayed it with clear gloss, then used (dollar store) kids glitter glue to keep the color on the petals. I put it in a small box I found, covered the box with stuff and its another design (see photos).

My favorite find, and something that means a lot to me, (see my hub "Send me butterflies" for the meaning), is a Red Admiral butterfly washed up ashore. It's wings were tight closed and almost all color gone, I brought it home. It was dry and brittle to touch, so I gently massaged it with coconut oil, then, bit by bit, I was able to open its wings. I researched a bit on google to know how to pin it.(see photos). I then used my dollar store kids glitter glue to add color back into the dried out wings. It is precious to me. Thank you nature!

So, if you are bored, lonely, depressed, feeling a need to do something, or just plain have time on your hands, you can create something beautiful from nothing. I wish you joy and happiness in your creations and would LOVE to see them.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • brightforyou profile imageAUTHOR

      Helen Lewis 

      21 months ago from Florida

      Thanks for your comment Sylvia!

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      So many colourful creations and so much more to come.

    • brightforyou profile imageAUTHOR

      Helen Lewis 

      21 months ago from Florida

      Thanks Helen - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • profile image

      Helen Caddy 

      21 months ago

      Really enjoyed this article.

      Great photos, excellent ideas using locally sourced products.

      I also like the writing style... Easy to read and very informative.

      I would like to see more from this author.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)