"I'm not really a career person.I'm a gardener,basically.".....George Harrison

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Your Own Sea Shell Planter….

I have been asked numerous time,"How do you make those planters?"
Well,fellow crafters and gardeners,I'm gonna tell ya.
So,grab a big(this is gonna be a loooonnng post) glass of iced tea(preferably Sweet Tea-this is the South,ya know),and let's begin,shall we?
For this project you will need:
1. shells-I like to call them "tourist shells" or craft shells-they are by no means perfect(in fact,if they are broken or halved,all the better),and the more texture they have,the better.i.e.jewel box,arks,false Angel Wings,prickly cockles,broken mini-horse conchs.You will need some slipper shells(to transition between shells),and some smooth shells (just to provide a break in the texture).You will need a LOT of these type shells.The size of the flower pot will dictate what size shell you need.You don't want to use tiny shells on a big pot(it would take forever)and you don't want to use large shells on a small pot.You do still need to randomize the sizes tho.Just for appearance sake.
2. flower pot,and saucer-for this project,I used a 10 3/4" pot with a 6" saucer
3. concrete sealer -I used Thompson's Water Sealer for concrete.It does come in a spray can.
4. Kilz -the spray type,I've found nothing else works better(and you'll see why,as we go along)
5. spray metallic paint
6. glazing medium-buy the quart size at Home Depot or Lowe's-you're gonna use most of it for a pot this size
7. spray polyurethane
8. paint brush-the older the better(you're gonna ruin whatever you use-so just use an old,cheap one)
9.rags(preferably towels-they're gonna add more texture)
10. Glue gun (yesss!!!!! I Red heart my glue gun!)
11. Glue sticks-you're going to use plenty,so buy the big package.
12.An old toothbrush-or any small,stiff bristled brush
Start by sealing the flower pot,inside and out,with the concrete sealer.This is going to protect any water from working its way thru to the shells.
After the sealer is dry,get out the trusty glue gun and have at it.......
This is the hardest part,just figuring out what shell looks good where.Sort of like putting a jig-saw puzzle together.
Once you have the pot covered with the shells(and your burns from the glue gun have healed-I only got 3 blisters making this pot.I'm getting better!),it's time to head outside.
Spray the pot,inside and out,with the Kilz,making sure you have very good coverage.It may take 2 0r 3 coats to cover all the shells.You want to make sure the Kilz has covered everything.Even if you have chosen to not cover the entire pot with the shells.
At this point,take the toothbrush and break up any of the fibers left from the hot glue.I've found this is the easiest way to find them.Just run the brush over the fibers.
Now,it's getting good,crafters.This is the fun part.
Time to paint!For this project,I used metallic copper spray paint.
You will need to put the pot on something to raise it up(I used another spray paint can).Spray it from the top and the bottom(very important-this assures you good coverage-you don't want any of the shells showing through the paint).And the inside of the pot,also.It may take 2-3 coats to accomplish this.
Now,we're ready to glaze.I used black acrylic paint(mixed with just a touch of green) in the glazing medium.I've found it's best to lay the pot on it's side and work with the glaze,one side at a time.That way,you can be assured that the glaze will run down into any pockets between the shells.And it won't leave run marks on the shells,either.Make sure you work the glaze deep into the shells-this is why you use an the old paint brush.As the glaze is starting to set up(this takes only minutes,I assure  you),start taking it off with the old towels
.
It may take 2 0r 3 coats of the glaze to achieve the effect you want.This project only took 2 coats.
Time to finish!!!!
I absolutely cannot stress this part enough.Spray,spray,spray,spray,spray with the polyurethane!!!This is your final coat of protection.It will make or break your project.This pot got 4 coats of the polyurethane.4 coats on the inside.4 coats on the outside,standing right side up.4 coats with it upside down.

Voila!!!! The finished pot,all planted up................
................along with some of the other color-ways I've done.

Some final thoughts....
-These pots aren't meant to be exposed to the elements.I keep mine on the covered front entryway.
-I don't plant a plant directly into the planter-I put the plant in a plastic pot,first,and then into the planter.
-They have gotten wet,and have done just fine.I do set them out in the rain,every once in a while,and let them get a good soaking.None of the shells have popped off.
-You can use the same technique to make picture frames,too.You just wouldn't have to go through quite so many steps with the sealing process.
-Use any color combination you like.The glaze should be the darkest color,tho.It makes the shells pop.
-You will notice,that on the other 2 pots,I randomized the shells more.You don't have to go all the way to the top,if you don't want to.
I,most of all,want to thank SanibelToots for helping with this project.
Does anyone know exactly how many shells it takes to do this.....?
Have fun!

5 comments:

Ami said...

Wow, you are so creative, and those pots sure look very exotic and one of a kind! I have some shells collected during my last Sanibel trip, maybe I will try this once I got some time.

Thanks for a very informational post!

Tootie said...

I really like that one. :) I still have the pot you made for me sitting in the kitchen window.. Love it! I think you are about due for another shelling supply visit.

Gayle said...

First of all, I don't like tea - sweet or not - so I had to get a cold beer. Sorry for breaking the "rules".

Your pots are amazing. My guess is that it took so many shells it cause a permanent Sanibel Stoop to collect them all. I hope to live in your kind of warmth someday to make these because I can tell you the glue gun last about 2.5 seconds in our cold and dry no matter how much we spray.

You are a crafting genius.

ChrisC said...

Tootie-it's looking like vacation,this year,will be spent lounging around the new pool.Maybe,in July,tho.If not,then definitely Luminaria.

Gayle-beer works,too.I prefer Merlot tho. :)

NanaK said...

Very nice look on those pots. Thanks for sharing your technique. I've never tried glazing. I really want to try it on some pots! We have shells in abundance around here.

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