This is an updated version of an old post. I originally wrote this 3 years ago, in 2015. Since then, we’ve had many more opportunities to use our found collections to make beach art. Not only that, I recently challenged my Facebook fans to post their own beach art photos. And their ideas were so good I just had to come back to this post and add them!
I love collecting things. I always have. As a kid I collected stamps, seashells, china animals, tea sets, and books (Peter Rabbit and Nancy Drew were my faves). My collected world, sitting in rows up on shelves or at my desk, made me feel safe. As an adult, I still love to collect but it has turned into collecting from nature more than about buying stuff. I strew my collections about the house, usually on the mantle, and I leave them out until it starts looking too cluttered (even for me). Pinecones have been my theme over the past six months. I had no idea you could find pinecones all year round, did you? I always thought they were an Autumn thing, but I was wrong.
Since I’ve been teaching art in my home, I have been collecting lots and lots of TP rolls, corks, cereal boxes and bottle tops. All piling up in baskets to be used in one project or another. But my favorite place to collect is at the beach. And now that we are in the thick of summer, I’ve been collecting anew!
I wanted to share some of the ways I use these collections, maybe they will spark some creativity in you. Mostly I collect shells and rocks for art class. They are the easiest to find. But sometimes I get lucky and find really cool sticks and pinecones, too. This summer I vow to start collecting heart-shaped rocks and sea glass. Can’t wait!
Look at all these amazing projects made with beach finds!
From the top left, going around:
~ Painted shells. We just use tempera paints. Such a simple art invitation.
~ This time the kids glued them onto wood first and then used liquid watercolor. I love the way that gold one in the middle just pops out! Read more about this project here.
~ These leaves were collected on the beaches of Punta Cana. We used water-soluble crayons to decorate them. Read more here.
~ What an incredible mobile made by The Art Garden blog! You have to click over and look more closely at what she used and how she made this incredible piece.
~ A large coral rock found on the beaches of St. Barth’s. We used regular watercolor to paint. Read more here.
~ I love this mobile from Nurture Store. They specifically collected shells with holes in them. So clever!
~ On our trip to Maine I collected “Y” shaped sticks from the beach and made this weaving. See more about branch weavings here.
I am also fascinated with land art at the beach. So much so that I asked my Facebook followers last week to post pictures of their creations.
How cool are these land art ideas?
From the top left, going around:
~ Heart from Rhode Island beaches.
~ Drawing in the sand from Amber Lepisto.
~ Sand cake, again from Rhode Island.
~ Sand turtle from Andrea Owen Brown in Ft. Meyers, Florida.
~ Sometimes we bring white chalk markers to the beach and draw on the rocks.
~ Animal footprints from Stephanie Tracy in Nova Scotia.
~ Mermaid by Mindy from Paint Life.
~ Mandala from Ginni-Rose Orchiston.
And finally, if you aren’t planning any beach trips this summer, you can cheat and buy some shells! This collection is from a friend that I visited, I snuck around her house and grabbed all the shells that were laying around. I asked her later where she collected them all, and she said, sheepishly, “at the store.” Ummm… that’s cheating! But it’s allowed. Just type in shells for crafts on Amazon and you’ll find tons.
I hope I have inspired you to start collecting this summer. Even if you don’t paint or draw on anything, there is something very cathartic about searching, finding and collecting. Try it!
Some lovely ideas here I will be trying out, thanks! My husband does spray painting on canvas, I fancy borrowing some to have a go at some shells and pebbles now 🙂
thanks jen, i’m so happy you found some of these ideas inspiring. spray painting shells and pebbles sounds fantastic! xo bar
I have never used chalk markers before. I have a young nephew and I’d like to introduce him to the chalk marker drawings on rocks. Are the chalk markers permanent? Or will they rub/smear/wash off? If not permanent, can you use some other type of permanent marker? I’d like to share this project with him and gift the rocks to grandma for her garden. Any suggestions appreciated!
hi kristy, thanks for commenting! the chalk markers dry in an instant, or a few seconds, and then they do not rub off. i’ve had the rocks for years and they look exactly like the day we made them. however, they will come off with water so the rocks should not get wet. i don’t know of any permanent white marker, but my friend just wrote a post on different types of white markers so you can read this: http://tinkerlab.com/the-best-white-pens-for-black-paper/. i would just use the most opaque kind. good luck!! xo bar
Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I love using nature’s free materials!
thank YOU, Lisa, for sharing your fabulous mobile!! xx Bar
Beach art brings such a nice mood to our homes, I love them!
LOVE the pic of all the shells lined out. Makes my OCD beachcombing heart happy ^_^
Triona O'Dowd Hill
Oh my Lord, these are the best. Your newsletters are something I always look forward to. Fab ideas. Thanks so much
Lovely ideas but how do you make holes in shells for the mobiles ?
Hi Marina! There is a link you can click to see how the mobile was made, it’s not from me. It looks like they glued beads or something to the shells, they didn’t drill holes.