One can’t say enough about shells….their shapes; colors; and sizes from a tiny spiral to a large conch- shells have been a part of decorating through out history. Shells add beauty whether displayed in a dish, or on a shelf or, in my case, adhered to an old mirror.
I have 2 examples of mirrors and a memento box that I have made that changed their entire look just by adding shells. On one mirror, I painted the shells, and the other, I left the shells in their original colors. Both I feel have done shells proud…
The first mirror I had a large oval gold-painted mirror that had some rose bas relief along the rim but only in a few places so I wanted to fill in the whole rim to make the mirror more sculptural looking.
Whenever I see shells at garage sales, or thrift stores, I try to scoop them up for I know they will be used one day, in one way or another. Or I just admire them in a bowl or jar- reminded of the waves from whence they came.
I used a putty type product called Laticrete to apply the shells to the rim, working in small sections so the adhesive wouldn’t dry out too fast.
It’s waterproof and used to set tiles. It has a creamy consistency and I used a putty knife to apply then set the shells into the soft putty.
After the putty was dry, I decided to paint the mirror plus the shells in white, with several coats, using up some white paint I had leftover in my basement.
I thought white was an appropriate color, where I could envision the mirror in a beach house at the Cape, or in a contemporary loft in the City, or cozied up Shabby Chic style in a vintage cottage. I love the mirror in white, it’s so sculptural with the shells, and you really have to walk up and look closely to verify they are shells, which makes it all the more interesting.
For the 2nd mirror, I decided to keep the shells in their original forms, and I again used putty to attach the shells, but I added some black acrylic paint to the putty to darken it to a gray color so the shells would stand out more. I also painted the inside rim in black so the shell color would pop, and give a nice contrast rim around the mirror.
I worked with the putty in small sections at a time, fitting shells and adding tiny shells into small openings, filling as many gaps as I could find with more shells. This mirror was in pretty bad shape, so by covering it with the shells, the life was saved with a little hint of it’s history at the top. The mirror too is timeless, and really fits into any style of decor be it eclectic to contemporary. It has found a spot in my bathroom, and if I tire of it there, it will find another wall in the house to be appreciated.
(And yes, the mirror is hanging on some bead board that I painted the wall color and then hand painted the seams of the bead board slats in gray….call me crazy, but for this accent wall in the bath, it works really well and didn’t take all that long to do.)
The last piece I did with shells, but certainly not the last piece I will use shells on, was a memento box I had covered in shells as a card box for my wedding. This box now holds trinkets and memories and the shells encircled a favorite photo of ours on the lid.
Shells will always be a part of my home decor, and though I may not live by the seashore, the sea is remembered by the tiny treasures found on beaches and in thrift stores that share their natural beauty… off shore.
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