Seashore Memories In A Jar with Donna Kauffman

I’m always looking for new ways to preserve my memories when I return from the lovely Maine coast. I’m at my crafty happiest when I can combine photos and some of my seashore treasures all in one nifty project. Okay, I should clarify – all in one nifty, easy-to-make project! (Complicated always looks like a fun challenge, but then I know it will remain forever half finished.) So join me for a fun and fast way to make those memories last!

1. Collect the treasures you’d like to play with, then print out a few of your favorite photos. For this project, I find that wallet size photos work the best. Then comes the fun of scavenger hunting for the jars and jugs that will work best with your flotsam and jetsam. (Hint: The bigger the vessel, the more and/or larger treasures & photos you can preserve.) I’m going small this time, because I’d already picked up my containers. (More treasures! Antiquing on the Maine coast is a must!)

Gather your tools. I picked up my sand at a local craft store. (Have fun and play with different colors!) In addition, I rounded up a plastic straw, some bamboo skewers, bamboo tongs, and my trusty 450 Glue. Any fast drying, clear glue with a fair amount of viscosity will do. (Hint: A hot glue gun would work just as well, if not better, but all I manage to do with those is burn my fingers!)

2. We’ll start with an easy-peasy one first. Set up your work space. (If you’re like me that means putting paper down on your dining room table!) Choosing a container with a large opening at the top is the simplest, fastest way to put this project together. Clean the glass thoroughly to give your treasures and photos the best chance to shine. Add in a layer of sand.

3. Try a few photos until you get the right fit, then tuck your photo inside. Wedge the edge down into the sand to hold it in place. Now the fun begins!

4. Add seashells, moving around as needed. Add some, take some out, keep playing until you get the right look. If your can’t fit your hand in the vessel, use your straw and bamboo skewer to maneuver the shells around. You can even tuck one behind the photo for extra support.

5. And voila! I told you it was easy! (Pssst! If you can’t decide on just one photo, trim two to the same size and tuck one behind the other, facing the opposite way.)

Okay, so now you’re feeling a little bolder, let’s play a little more shall we? I love vessels that have interesting lids and pieces, so I knew this small lantern would be perfect for this project the moment I saw it.

1. Clean the glass as before. Then examine the piece to see if it will hold sand without leaking.

2. This one has holes on the bottom and a removable glass globe. Both are easy fixes! Simply cut out and glue a piece of construction paper to the bottom – holes covered! – then add a thin line of glue around the bottom of the globe and seal permanently to the base. Don’t forget you need to let it dry thoroughly before continuing!

3. Time to add the sand, then start playing with your photos until you find the right fit. Trim as needed! Tuck your photo into the sand.

4. Time to add the shells! Don’t forget, you can tuck an additional photo on the back side, too. Add a shell behind for support. Use your straw or skewers to move shells around until you have everything just the way you like it.

5. Okay, so that looks good, but we have all those lovely shells left to play with. And that lid looks like it could use some sprucing up. Arrange shells until you have the look you want, then glue each into place. Allow to dry.

6. Assemble your pieces and…almost done! What’s a nautical seashore lantern without a little rope? Wrap twine around the ring and knot at the bottom…then add a little shell to the top of the turn spout. Okay, so we’re almost there… Hmm… I’m not fond of the way that globe looks glued on to the base. So, let’s add a tiny row of shells to finish off the piece and add a little balance!

7. Now we’re there! Voila!!

The possibilities are endless. Have fun on the shore, in the flea markets, and in your local craft shop. Then print out your priceless memories and bring a little bit of the coast home with you to remember always!

Download Instructions with Photos