I've seen a lot of mermaid decorations online this year, and when I was watching this Violet Le Beaux vlog I could see loads of beautiful shell decorations in the background! When I was commiserating with Emily Cuttlefishlove about how I couldn't seem to find any mermaid decorations in places I could actually buy them, she suggested I make my own with real seashells. Great idea! So I set to work.
For my decorations I used acrylic paints, PVA glue, iridescent white glitter, and a selection of seashells. The seashells need to be clean and dry, and I found that quite wide, flat shells like cockle shells or scallop shells worked best. I also used some ribbon and some hot glue to make the hanging loops, although any strong multipurpose glue would do. This would be a perfect project to use metallic acrylic paints too, or you can make your own by mixing silver metallic paint with colours of your choice.
I made three styles of painted shell. The first style is just to paint around the bottom edge of the shell, so that it has a coloured border, with some of the natural colour of the shell still showing at the top. I think this looks very pretty!
The second painted style is to paint the whole shell. I think pastel colours work well for this, and give a fantasy effect.
The third painted style was for the shells which naturally had interesting colours. I just painted them all over with a thin layer of silver metallic paint, which gave a beautiful lustre effect.
For the glitter shells, I simply coated the outside of the shells in PVA glue...
sprinkled glitter over them...
and dusted off the excess. I think the glitter shells look gorgeous!
A more subtle option is to just put glue around the edge of the shell...
and then follow the same process of dusting on glitter and shaking off the excess.
Once all of the shells had dried, I coated them with a layer of PVA glue to seal them and give a shiny effect. The glue layer looks cloudy at first but it dries clear.
Once the glue coating was dry, I cut a small length of ribbon, made a loop, and glued it to the back of the shell. Thin lace or cord also looks good for the hanging loops-or you could even use a glittery or metallic ribbon if you wanted to go all out sparkly.
This is how all my seashell decorations turned out, I think they look pretty good! As you can probably see in the photo, I added glitter to my painted shells as well, and I think it looks super cute. I think these would make lovely decorations all year round, but the glitter and metallics make a good fit for the festive season.
If you make seashell decorations yourself, I'd love to have a look! Leave a link in the comments or use #theforestmermaid on twitter or instagram.