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How To Make A Shell Mirror Tutorial With Your Treasures From The Sea

How to make all the shells you’ve collected through the years into a piece of functional art for your home – a shell mirror!
When we moved to our 80s fixer-upper, our bathrooms sported these sweet medicine cabinets. I couldn’t wait to take them down, but then our bathroom went unadorned with a mirror for months on end {making for interesting makeup application!} because I just could NOT find a new mirror to really light my fire.
I’m trying to work around “almond”/”bisque”/off white bathroom fixtures, until we can replace them someday, by creating a white & cream palette in our tiny master bathroom. We have a ton of shells collected from our own New England beaches and family vacations in Florida and it occurred to me that the colors of the shells would be perfect for a mirror in this bathroom.
I was going for a pile-of-shells-washed-ashore-by-the-sea look and love how it came out!

ONEFind a mirror with a flat frame, or a frameless mirror. I wanted a beveled mirror so I opted to use one with a frame so the bevel could be seen. I found this inexpensive mirror at Homegoods.
TWOGet yourself some shells!  In addition to all the shells we had collected over the years, I also ordered shells, as well as a small quantity of starfishsand dollars and decorative pebbles.
THREE – (optional) Paint the frame of the mirror white.  I used painter’s tape to cover the mirror with newspaper, then spray painted the frame.
FOURGlue the shells* onto the frame, starting with the large shells and then layering the smaller ones over them.
*2017 UPDATE:  Through the years I’ve found that Liquid Nails is a great adhesive for shell crafts!! Not only does it have super holdability, it’s also easy to use with a caulking gun, and it’s super cheap at less than $2 per tube!
A little surprise inside a shell from my son’s room!
FIVE – (optional) Embellish the inside of some shells with pearl paint.  A couple of my shells had a natural pearly patina on the inside (don’t you love that?) and they look so pretty when the light shines on them, so I added a little pearl craft paint to a few more plain shells here and there.
Our Cape Cod beaches often have rocks and pebbles along the shore so adding a few here and there to fill in the gaps were perfect for us.
The mirror reminds us of some of our favorite places……
Sanibel Island (one of the shelliest places on the planet!),
Captiva Island (where we honeymooned!),
Newport and Narragansett RI,
and our own beautiful
Cape Cod!
Apart from using our shell collection to make something functional and pretty,
there’s nothing like being able to see yourself when you’re applying mascara!
A tutorial for how to make an oyster shell mirror

Thank you for stopping by Shine Your Light!
If you’d like to see more of my projects, I invite you to visit the GALLERY for home improvements, art projects, decor, organization and all sorts of other fun stuff 🙂

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DIY shell mirror tutorial by Shine Your Light.

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pam {simple details}

Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Wow, Lisa! Not only is it beautiful, but I love that it reminds you of your favorite places!


Wednesday 20th of July 2011

Oh my gosh it turned out FANTASTIC :) LOVE IT!!!!

Denise at PinkPostcard.

Wednesday 20th of July 2011

GOORRGEEOUSSS!!! We were just at the beach on Monday and I found a shop that had lots of inexpensive have me wanting to start another project! The composition and addition of the pearly paint is brilliant. love this so much. We had a vanity like your previous one too. I didn't like it either except for the fact that I could swivel open the sides to see the back of my hair when I was working on it! he he! Thanks so much for linking up to Transformations and Treasures! I'm going to post a link to this on my FB page :)


Wednesday 20th of July 2011

So Cute!

The Pineapple Room

Tuesday 19th of July 2011

WOW!!!! Great job Lisa! I've always wanted to do a shell mirror...but I have never had the courage to even start one! Yours turned out amazing, maybe i'll get up the nerve to do one now!