If you are looking for an easy craft project which can be used in casual entertaining indoors or outdoors this summer, make this shell-decorated birdhouse. Birdhouses are wonderful decorative items that evoke the outdoors and nature, and the shells add a real summery feel.
Select an unpainted wooden birdhouse at your local craft store or from an online vendor–they are available in various shapes and sizes for less than $10. Select two paint colors for your project–this birdhouse is done in light coral and light green, which are summer colors, but not what you necessarily expect with shells. That’s what I like–you might have expected to see this in blues, aquas, or tans, but this brings an unexpected newness to the birdhouse’s look.
You can use acrylic craft paints, available in a huge array of colors for less than $2 for a small bottle, or use leftover paints you have from other projects. The amount of paint needed to cover the body of the birdhouse and the base are minimal. You can use a simple sponge paintbrush, available for about 50 cents or a traditional bristled paint brush. Paint the birdhouse and let it dry. If you think it needs a second coat for full color coverage, do this now before moving to the shells.
If you have collected a lot of seashells on vacation, you can look through your personal stash to select small shells to use on your birdhouse’s roof and by the opening and perch. If you don’t already have your own shells, your craft store or vendor carries all types of shells, starfish, and sand dollars in many different sizes, assortments and price ranges so you can select your favorites. You can even purchase colored shells if you like that look over natural-colored shells.
To avoid the necessity of painting the roof of the birdhouse and to be certain the shells were truly “set,” the Duncan product Snow Accents seemed to be the best bet to me. Snow Accents is available for under $5 from most craft vendors. It is non-toxic and usually used to create realistic-looking snow and textured effects on projects. It can be used on wood, plastic, glass, styrofoam, baskets, wreaths and more.
I have used Snow Accents before to add touches of snow to some of the Christmas village pieces I found for my sons’ collections. Some of their houses and stores had snow on the roofs, and some did not, so I added little patches of snow to those. It worked very well, and so I thought it might be a good medium to use on the birdhouse roof to cover the wood and secure the shells.
It is about the consistency of marshmallow creme and can be applied with a paintbrush, sponge or palette knife. You just brush it on the birdhouse roof with a thick consistency if that’s what you’re going for and push your shells into place on it. Let it dry for 24 hours, and you should have the look and security you need.
For gluing the shells at the opening and perch, you can use a craft glue or glue gun. Why a starfish for the focal point? Well, you know I adore all kinds of stars and find them hard to resist in any form. I like the way the one of the starfish’s arm makes it look like the starfish is climbing up into the birdhouse.
A shell-decorated birdhouse could be used as a table centerpiece–place it on a plain tray filled with a layer of sand and more shells. You might wait to place a small ceramic bird on the tray–many craft stores have a variety of birds, as do the garden centers at many discount stores. If you are ambitious, you could make several birdhouses to give as gifts for your guests or to save to give as hostess gifts when you are invited out.
This project is easy and takes very little time to complete. Experiment with birdhouse colors that suit you and the types and positioning of the shells. Enjoy!