Monday, December 7, 2015

Mosaic Shell Baubles

       When I was a young girl, I often visited my grandmother who lived next door to a very unusual house. The home owner loved to decorate his front lawn with crushed bits of glass, shell, and porcelain pressed into cement forms. That's right, he had no grass. 
        Being a very young person, I thought this was quite the fantastic display. However, I am certain that his neighbors did not appreciate his taste so much. His creation was dismantled after the house exchanged hands but I still remember it fondly and I thought of him while crafting these ornaments for my white Christmas tree.
These paper baubles are fashioned from egg cartons.

Supply List:
  • paper egg carton
  • shell pieces for mosaic crafts
  • tiny shells
  • porcelain figures of sea creatures
  • tacky white glue
  • white school glue
  • wire for hanging
  • aqua blue glitter (fine)
  • masking tape
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Cut apart the small units of your paper egg carton and glue/tape these together in order to shape your paper bauble forms. I crushed newsprint into small "spikes" and taped these shapes to my egg carton pieces in order to replicate vintage bauble forms from the late 1800s. 
  2. This process takes time, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be crushing and taping enough ornament shapes to open your own factory! Don't forget to crush and tape around wooden toothpicks in order to craft features that would ordinarily bend or bust off over time if not reinforced by stiff materials inside your bauble. 
  3. Tape in a wire hook for hanging and reinforce it with a bit of glue as well.
  4. Now you are ready to glue shells and shell mosaic pieces onto the bauble surface. Use a very tacky white glue for this procedure. If your ornaments are three dimensional like mine, this will take much time and patience because it takes time for the glue to dry properly. I know that many of you are thinking, "wouldn't hot glue be a better alternative?" Well, it wouldn't for many reasons. The most obvious reason being that you would definitely get burned many more times than you expect. Secondly, it is my opinion that hot glued work looks sloppy and it is not really permanent. I could continue to rant but that is enough for now.
  5. Next, I pooled white glue inside the crevices of my shapes and sprinkled aqua colored glitter. This may take a couple of days to dry. Don't bother trying to smooth out this surface. In nature, it would not likely be so smooth. My intent here was to suggest a shallow pool or puddle of water where one might see a small sea creature, such as a tide pool.
  6. I then purchased a couple of miniature sea creatures from a local hobby shop to swim about these mosaic shell baubles. I chose a tiny fish and an octopus that have the same shiny surface as the shell pieces.
I glued the shell mosaic pieces directly onto the masked surfaces with tacky glue.
Details of the finished mosaic baubles. The tiny octopus and clown fish are made from porcelain.
More Ocean or Beach Themed Christmas Decorations:
 M/S of waves crashing in over rocks, Bovey Tracey, Devon.

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