Wooden Box Crafts with Sea Shells 01
Crafting with Seashells on a Wooden Box
The use of a wood box and seashells to make home décor and gifts is one way to make a pretty and useful item out of your seashell collection. Add some sea critters and you can put a small part of a “reef” on display.
This project is centered on a blue crab although the color of the crab is really not all that important. This blue color crab, that I found while doing a search for glass crab gel candle embeds, resonated with my artistic side. The blue color and the look of the crabs just spoke to me so I bought a dozen for my crafts with seashells.
Let’s get into how a plain wooden box was transformed into this pretty artificial reef which uses a variety of seashells to add color and texture.
This is a 5 inch diameter round wood box made out of plain wood. Most craft stores carry a version of it. It has metal hinges on the back and small magnets hold it closed in the front. Perfect for wooden box crafts of any kind, especially crafts with sea shells.
The crab is a bit over an inch across the carapace. The starfish is a bit under the inch mark and was already painted. In fact, the starfish is just a plastic fake.
The seashells and sand are courtesy of various beachcombing expeditions. Except for the largish worn seashell on the wood box lid the seashells are an inch long or wide, or smaller. If you don’t already have a collection of seashells handy take a walk to your favorite beach or order some on line. There are many places that will sell you a mixed collection of seashells in both small and medium sizes.
View from the Back
Steps to Crafting a Wooden Box with Seashells
Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need handy.
TIP: Place a sheet or two of newspaper on your work surface to both protect the work surface and provide an easy way to collect loose sand.
Look over the unfinished wood box and remove any stickers. Clean off any sticky residue left by the stickers. If there are rough spots use sandpaper to smooth them down. Give the outside of the box a light sanding. Clean off any dust.
Look through your seashell collection and finding those you think you would like to place on the box. Keep your collection handy so you can change or add seashells as you go along.
Start by gluing the seashells that go around the box. Leave the flat surface for later.
Pick a couple of colorful seashells and place them where the magnets are. This will mark the front of the keepsake box. As you can see I used some rose colored scallop seashells.
Put a ring of small seashells around the lid of the box. They should be about half an inch apart. Glue one to one side of the front seashell and then glue another to the other side. Continue gluing seashells around the rim, alternating the placements. This will help the front and sides look more or less symmetrical.
TIP: You should allow each seashell to set in place before moving the box. Try using glue that dries a bit faster than white glue to make your project go faster.
Now add larger seashells to the bottom part of the wood box. Use the same routine as you did for the rim of the lid. First place a seashell on one side of the front seashell, then place next one on the alternate side of the front seashell. Go all the way around the box.
Now paint the exposed bare wood on the side of the box with glue and sprinkle sand to cover it all up. This time use white glue so it stays wet while you add the sand. Try not to get glue on the hinges.
TIP: Prop open the lid with something so you don’t accidentally glue the box shut. That way you can use it as a jewelry box, a trinket box or a keepsake box.
Let the glue dry and then remove the loose sand.
Do the same thing to the lid around the rim. When everything is dry turn the wooden box craft right side up so you can start on the lid’s flat surface. Check that you can open and close the box lid.
On the top of the lid for this wooden box craft place the seashells and the starfish.
Take a larger seashell and place it behind the starfish.
Apply white glue and sprinkle sand over it. Let dry then remove the loose sand.
Finally, place the crab so it looks like it is starting to climb one of the seashells.
Finishing Wooden Box Crafts with Sea Shells
Use clear polyurethane paint on the seashells and sand. You may want to prop the lid open again and watch the hinges so you don’t paint the box shut.
You can use the paint on everything but the glass crab and the hinges. The glass is already shiny and using polyurethane on it will just make is dull. However, on the seashells and sand the paint will bring out color highlights and give them a nice shine.
Keep it for your seashell crafts collection or give it as a gift. Start another one and use different seashells and figures to give it another look. Place yours on a table or on a shelf where everyone can see your handy work. Make a few and save them for gift giving during the holidays or for special events. Most folks appreciate hand crafted gifts.