Monday, December 31, 2012

Nautical Mantel Display

When I was still living in Orange County, I used to drive to the beach and sat on the pier, looking out at the ocean whenever I needed a pick-me-up. There is just something so tranquil about the sea.

Sean and I moved into our new home recently, and it took me awhile to figure out what to do with the fireplace mantel because that was the focal point of our living room. I then thought of mine and Sean's favorite places in the world, which were Huntington Beach, where we went on our first date, and Sandy Beach Park in Hawaii -- a non-touristy beach that was a secret with the locals.

So, I decided to build a nautical mantel display, and here was how I did it:

1. I went to Home Depot and bought the following items: wooden planks; sandpaper; paintbrush; work gloves; rope, and a ball of twine. Then, I had a store employee cut the planks down to the size that I needed.

2. At Michael's, I bought a bag of large shells, sea glass, a glass bottle, along with black and white acrylic paints.

3. Supplies I already had: a hot glue gun; Elmer's Wood Glue (carpenter's grade), and smaller paintbrushes.


1. Sand the front, back, top, bottom, and sides down to remove splinters and prepare wood for painting.

2. Assemble the wood pieces together with wood glue, following the instruction on label.

3. Once the glue had dried (I let it dry overnight), paint the entire thing white. Rinse your brush and paint container, and go take a break for 30 minutes. Perhaps you can take this time to plan where each seashell was going to go, and hot glue the twine to the shells that can't be tied on with the string.

4. Mix the black paint with a little bit of white to create a deep gray color. Paint the wood display again.

5. Wait 30 minutes for the paint to dry, and began sanding the areas that would naturally be worn out by the elements, such as the edges. Then, quickly run the sandpaper across the front to roughen the paint job up a bit.

6. Now comes the fun part: Attach the net and rope to your display. Hang up the shells that you want to, and hot glue the others. Lastly, hot glue the sea glass to the display as well.

7. If you have smaller sea glass pieces left over, just put them in a glass bottle and display that. The larger shells can be placed on the mantel as well.

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