Once that was determined. I painted!
Of course I painted. I just used a semi gloss white spray paint. I know really exciting. I set them on my trusty painting paper in the garage and went to work making these bad boys look more display worthy and less toy holder-ish.
Once all of that was done I needed to decide how to display the shells and make them stay on the wall. I knew using a hot glue gun would do the trick but I felt guilty. These are beautiful pieces that come from the ocean and I am going to soil them by slathering hot glue all on them. I went around and around with a few ideas but nothing else worked, I finally relented and figured shells displayed and enjoyed with some glue is much better then them stuffed in some containers collecting dust.
I set everything that would be on the wall on the floor. Measured the wall, used random markers (two chairs and my kitchen cabinets) as a visual for the size of the wall. I just started laying things down. Arranging and rearranging until things started to work. I knew the anchor was going to be in the middle, and one 8×10 picture on each side for symmetry but I did not want it to look too uniform. Most people get stuck when creating gallery walls because it seems overwhelming. Measure out your space and start seeing what looks good. Adding or taking things away until you get the sweet spot of a personalized gallery wall.
When I figured out the formation of all of that I placed the shells inside. Being aware of not putting all of the colorful shells in one, or spreading out clam shells, crab shells, mussels, star fish, and sand dollars throughout all of them. I finally figured out the best balance I could manage. There is a ton of different ways to have a gallery wall, I tend to go for the perfectly imperfect. I do not like things too symmetrical, but there needs to be a good balance. Once I had it all set up I took a few pictures of this lay-out. This way as I am removing certain ones to hang on the wall, I can reference the pictures to keep the order in check.
Next, the gluing. I used the low setting on the glue gun, I don’t think it could damage the shells on the high setting but I did not want to take the chance. Some of these are very special, either given to me from family or we picked them up ourselves. The hardest part with this was finding spots that the shells touched the surface of the display box. Some of them only had a thin piece of the shell touching it. I also did not want to put too much on. In case I ever do want to replace the shells with newer ones. But of course not too little where the shells fall out. You know that perfect balance in between that you have no way of knowing. Yeah, that is what was going on here.
I carefully held down the shell in the position I wanted it to sit in for maybe 5 seconds before I felt it held good
I also did a test after each display had all of the shells glued. First wiggling them myself, then lightly shaking, then picking up the display box holding it sideways, and then finally hanging upside down. I had not a one fall or move. Go me and my super hot glue gun powers. I tell you I am pro!
Now to get them all on the wall. I started with the middle of the wall and worked my way out.
I also consulted quite often the pictures I took of the display on the floor. Because I liked the look and location of the shells. There was a lot of running back and forth for the needed display, looking at pictures, and then telling my husband where to hang them. We connected the displays by using a standard screw in the top corners of each display. And that ladies and gentlemen is the whole project. My DIY coastal gallery wall, easy and low cost upcycle turned out great, and I adore walking by it all the time.
This is of course a special wall for me because it reflect where I am from, but also where my family has made memories as well. We spend time out in California every summer, playing and swimming on the same beaches I grew up in. So these sweet spots from my childhood have also become a part of my kids childhood as well.
This same gallery wall could work for any vacation keepsakes. Shells, rocks, pictures, or tiny souvenirs put into the display boxes. It would be a really fun project to have the whole family get involved with. Picking the favorite pictures and momentous from a vacation.
Life gets hectic and crazy this time of year, and the holidays are just around the corner… which is a whole other kind of crazy. Magical and wonderful, but crazy hectic. When we go on vacation it is our family’s time to take a big breath, have some fun, throw out the rules, phones, tablets and schedules. We get to enjoy each other and that is it. Having a place in our home to reflect on that blissful time is really special. It also keeps me going in the throes of soccer games, baseball practice, running a forgotten viola to school…. seeing these pictures and shells reminds me what really matters. That would be the beach; kidding! It would be my family and the time we have together.
Something like this can be easily added to as well. Adding more display boxes and pictures as the time goes on and more vacations are taken.
I wanted to mention that I also had to work around our security system display screen. I treated that as a picture as well and just added the pictures around it. Maybe I should see if there is a display picture I can add of a beach, help it to blend in more?
I am so excited for fall, I adore the changing of the season, the leaves, the cozy sweaters and the impending holidays. But my heart will always be in summer. There is something sweet, pure and wonderful of the lazy days of summer. Vacations are the most important part of the season! I love that this DIY coastal gallery wall, easy and low cost upcycle was so simple to make! Honestly the most expensive part was probably the Melissa & DOug toys that we purchased for our kids ages ago. Because I am a hoarder and saw potential in these little wooden toy containers, I was able to create something wonderful for our home! Now, time to get back to getting my home fall-ified!