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

Updated on April 11, 2017

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.


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    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen 10 months ago from Florida

      Thanks for your comment Sylvia!

    • profile image

      Sylvia 10 months ago

      So many colourful creations and so much more to come.

    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen 10 months ago from Florida

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

    • profile image

      Helen Caddy 10 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.