I am really excited about this project that I’m sharing today that I recently did for my office/craft room revamp. Several years ago, I feel in love with a collection of double sided glass frames that were filled with shells that I saw at Neiman Marcus. The framed shells that I saw looked something like this:
Of course, they were not cheap! If you can believe it, the prices started around $300.00 and went up as high as $800.00 (for framed sea fan) for each individual frame! Since that time, I have been creating my own DIY double sided glass frames for my sea fans but for my office project, I finally did a collection of small shells. This is a super easy and inexpensive way to display shells and sea fans. Here are some close ups:
dyed sea fan;
medium size sand dollars;
small sized mini sea biscuits;
Here is a picture of one of my dyed sea fans that I framed with double-sided glass:
To get started, you need a frame of any size. Smaller shells like mine will work in any size frame. However, for thicker shells, you will need to use larger size frames to get a little more room. For the collection that I made for my office, I used three 8 x 10 inch frames. You will need an extra piece of glass for each frame and I picked up three cheap 8 x 10 frames from the dollar store ($1.00) each and just used the glass from those frames:
For smaller frames like what I used, shells and sea fans can not be thicker than about 3/4 inch. I used medium size sand dollars and mini sea biscuits that were around 3/4 inch and it was the perfect size for my 8 x 10 frames.
The first thing to do is to layout your collection of shells on the piece of glass that will be the backside:
To help better guide you to see where the frame will be and how much room you have to keep your layout balanced, just place the frame itself onto the glass:
Once you have your shells (or sea fans) laid out the way you want it, just pick up one shell at a time and use just a small dot of hot glue and then place it right back where you had it:
When you are finished, put the front piece of glass in the frame and place the back pieces (the one with the glued shells) on top of the front like this:
The next thing you’ll need to do is to get use a pair of super narrow electrical needle nose pliers and bend the metal tabs that secure the frame backing. You will need to bend them over as tight as you can to secure the glass. Depending on how thick your shells are, you might have a lot of metal tab to work with or very little:
see the tab on the left side below:
use the pliers to grab ahold of and fold over the metal tab to secure and hold the glass. Don’t try to do this with your fingers, you could break the glass and you will not get as good of a fold this way:
If you look closely, you can see how I used my pliers to get all of the tabs to fold over and hold the glass securely:
Again, depending on the thickness of your shells, you may have very little metal tab to be able to fold over. Even if you don’t have much, just try and get what little you can to fold over to help hold the glass in place. If you feel like your glass is not as secure as you would like, use some heavy duty electrical tape (small amount) to secure each corner. Don’t worry, you won’t see it if you do it like this:
When you are finished, it should look something like this:
Keep in mind that you can do this project in as big or as small of a frame that you would like. However, just make sure before you get started that your shell is not too thick that the back glass would not be able to be secured. Also, this project is not just limited to shells, you can frame just about any kind of collection as long as it’s not too thick.
By the way, if you want to dye or paint your own sea fans to frame, I shared a tutorial for dyeing them here and spray painting them here. If you want to add a pop of color and frame shells with a mat, you can check out the tutorial that I did two years ago here.
I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend and I will be back for a really inspiring Paint It Monday!