Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shell game or another YHL project from the obsessive fangirl blogger

I have no ideas of my own. Seriously. This is why I read blogs. I love to do projects and love to find creative solutions to the problems that crop up while I'm doing them, but when it comes to creating an idea out of my own head and executing it? Not my strong suit.

The Young House Love book (mentioned previously here) is a wealth of fabulously inexpensive, creative and attractive ideas that I'm having a great deal of fun pulling together. So much fun, in fact, that I have been tempted to turn this into an all-Young-House-Love-all-the-time blog. What can I say? I'm a fangirl.


So when I ran across a pile of shells that Doug had collected on the beach in California over the past few trips to see my parents while I was clearing out the bookcase in preparation to move my newly painted shelves into place, I immediately thought of Sherry's love for shadowboxes and ran to the YHL book to see if there were instructions for making one.

The problem was, there isn't. They suggest framing free things to make cheap art (Project #143), which is exactly what I had in mind, so I totally winged it. Me! Pretty good, huh?


Here's what I did. First, I bought a frame (a 9 3/4" by 9 3/4" Ribba shadow box frame) at IKEA. I went there at 10AM on a Friday because early weekday mornings are absolutely the only sensible time to visit IKEA. Especially if you're going just to buy a single freaking frame.


I knew I would need some sort of background for the shells because our frame hallway could use some additional color. I mean, it's not even painted yet! Luckily, a stash of scrapbook paper provided a handy number of patterns to choose from. Then I arranged the shells on the paper to make sure it would look right.


Reasonably satisfied, I cut the scrapbook paper down to size. First I traced the edge of the back side of the paper against the frame backing.


And used my paper cutter to cut nice straight edges.


I sprayed the whole back side with Easy Tack spray adhesive, applied it to the frame backing and then set some books on it to hold it flat while it dried.


I let it dry for three hours, then pulled out the shells, marking the paper with a little dot exactly where I wanted to put them. Since I was planning on using gel super glue to apply them to the paper, I had to get the placement right the first time.


The Locktite super glue I used was quite nice. Rather than having to squeeze it from a tiny tube like normal super glue, the Locktite glue has handles on each side that you squeeze. It allows for a lot more control than regular super glue.


I left the glue to dry for an hour and added a hanger on the back of the frame. There is a hanger that comes with the frames, but since I wasn't using the provided mat, I didn't like that the hanger would show. So I just used a picture hanger from a kit of several different types of hangers that I bought at Michael's ages ago to change add a claw type hanger to the back of the frame.


And there it is on the frame wall.

A couple of notes:

1) I knew I would need something stiffer than paper to hold the shells up, so that's why I glued the paper to the frame backing. If I'd had a piece of of cardboard the right size I would have used that, but I didn't so frame backing it was.
2) Make sure you get the placement of the shells right the first time. I tried to adjust one and I broke off a little piece - I had to tape it back together before I proceeded. Just get it right the first time.
3) Gluing shells in place without gluing your fingers together is hard. Be careful.


The wall isn't done yet. There is an empty slot there on the right and I'd like to hang an entire row of...something...below that. But Nate Berkus says the best interiors are collected over time so I'm being uncharacteristically patient and waiting for the right things to come along.

That said, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. YHL FTWA! (that's Young House Love For The Win Again, by the way.)

Oh, and here's the budget breakdown:

Shells picked up off the beach:  free
Scrapbook paper:  free (left over from another project)
IKEA frame:  $10.49
Krylon Easy Tack:  free (left over from another project)
Super glue:  $5.00
Picture hangers:  free (left over from another project)

TOTAL:  $15.49

How about you? Have you hung anything recently? Have a stack of art or shells laying around somewhere?
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