Monday, September 20, 2010

DIY Seashell Table Numbers

I realize that yesterday I mentioned I would post about my thank you banner, but I managed to finish my table numbers up today, and I am so proud of them I wanted to give them their moment in the sun. As I mentioned in a previous post, Tom and I had our engagement pictures taken at the beach when Hurricane Earl was off shore. In addition to having some really nice surf at the beach, we also found a bunch of large clam shells. I brought a couple dozen home, I figured I would be able to use them somewhere. Sure enough, the idea came to me one afternoon to use the shells as table numbers. At first I just painted the numbers on, but quickly realized that they needed a bit more. That's when I called my mother in for help. I think the finished product came out beautifully.

What you need:

  • Large flat shells, I used clam shells, but scallops or even sand dollars would work too.
  • Bleach
  • Steel Wool
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • White Glue
  • Sand
  • Smaller seashells (periwinkles, miniature scallops shells, small clam shells, smaller sand dollars)
  • Hot glue
  • Pearls
What you do: 
  1. If you purchased your shells, you can skip this step, but if you just picked them up at the beach, like I did, it is necessary to clean your shells to prevent any funky odors from developing. Simply fill your sink, bucket, whatever, with a solution of 50% bleach to 50% water and let everything soak for a couple of hours. This is actually really interesting because the bleach breaks down some of the calcium deposits on the shells and brings out the natural colors. Scrub each shell down with the steel wool to get any debris or barnacles off, rinse with cold water, and allow the shells to dry thoroughly. 
  2. Once dry, use the acrylic paint to paint numbers or table names on each shell. I attempted to put a satin coat varnish on mine, but for whatever reason it just powdered off. 
  3. Once your paint is dry, run a line of glue along the bottom of the shell and smooth it out with your finger. Cover the glue with sand. It should create a gluey-sandy mud type texture, this is what you want. Once the glue dries, you won't have to worry about sand falling off all over the place. Allow the glue to dry over night.
  4. Decorate your shells with the smaller shells and pearls using hot glue to hold everything together. Allow the glue to dry, and you are done!
In addition to the table numbers, I painted Mr. and Mrs. on a set of shells. I decorated those shells with wedding rings. As of now, I don't know if I want to use my Mr. and Mrs. shells on the head table or on the guestbook table. Either way, they are really nice looking. 

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