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Saturday, March 20, 2010

I've gone a little crazy!

We lost our beach cabin during Hurrican IKE and as the warmer weather rolls around, I miss it even more. It was our own little slice of see my post on that, click here.

All this to say that I've gone a little crazy with seashells this year in my decorating. I just love their natural beauty, simpleness, and stories. Don't you imagine they have great stories to tell? Where they began, traveled, who lived in them?

As I was browsing one day, I ran across this blog. They have the most gorgeous shell bottles! I loved that they were made using vintage items. They were a bit rustic, like they had a story to tell themselves. As I studied them closer and read all I could on their site, my wheels began to turn. I thought, hey, I could make them, I had the sand, seashells, jute...I just needed the bottles and a soldering iron.

The search began for vintage bottles. I decide to visit one of my favorite little antique shops. They had a huge sign out front that they were closing and thus having a 50% SALE! And as luck would have it, they had a box of bottles.
SOLD - I picked up 8 {and should have bought the entire lot!}

On to handy-dandy husband {HDH} could help me with this, in fact I think he even had a soldering iron. do you solder?
He gave me a quick lesson but said that it only worked metal to metal.
Hm...I wasn't working with metal to metal, only glass to shell. So I went back to the above site and yep, they were soldering.
How did they do that?
{...apparently there's a resin to use that makes the metal you're melting "stick" to the other surface...}
TMI for me.

My HDH suggested I use another product that would probably work:  Bondo.
 Like they use on cars?'s a two part mixture that repairs the body of a car that has been wrecked. It can be molded and when it drys, it can be sanded and painted.
...that sounds a little easier...

We found this on a shelf at an auto parts store {on aisle #6}. I asked  my HDH to go with me, just because I'm whimpy and had absolutely no idea what I was looking for.

See the little tube on top? It's the redish goop that reacts with the gray goop in the can. The mixture is about 1:30.

The mixture drys in about 3-4 minutes so you have to work quickly. The right side of the plate is already dry so through trial and error, I decided to work in small amounts.
I used throw away plates and plastic utencils, gloves are not really needed. HDH suggested I use them but I found they just got in my way.
Work in a WELL ventilated area - like OUTSIDE.
{I used this while working on my kitchen table - the back door and windows open  wide - and the odor was still quite strong!}

Using sand from our local beach {that's legal right?} and shells from my collection I was set.
I used a funnel to add sand to the bottles and depending on the opening of the bottle, added tiny shells.
Next..."glueing" the shells to the bottles.

On my first bottle, I wanted to make sure the shell was on really good, so I put a lot of Bondo on know the theory, "... more is better..."?

...while it was still workable, I tried to "smooth" it around the bottle with the plastic utencil AND hold the shell in place. {Can you say ambidextrous?}
 Hm...not exaclty the look I was going for.

On my SECOND bottle, I had a new plan.
Since the mixture dries so quickly I would just put enough of the goop to attach the shell and I would hold it for the drying time.

{looks kinda like melting chocolate ice cream doesn't it?}

Much better...and while it's wet, it can be wiped away if you have too much - just don't get it on your hands.

After I had all the shells afixed to the bottles I mixed another batch and added more around the top of the bottles, getting the desired look.

I played around with the different shells on different bottles, just to see what I thought looked the best.
After the 3-4 minutes setting time, the shells were definitely "stuck". Bondo is truly amazing stuff!
It's just like concrete.
However, any mistakes you may have made can be chipped, scratched, or sanded away!

Now for the "soldering" look. I played around with acrylic paint until I achieved the blackgraywhitebrown look I was after and painted the bands of Bondo.

The final step was to add jute. Putting a small dot of hot glue on the back of the bottle, I began my jute and continued to wrap until  I had a desired look.

This project didn't take too long to complete and I'm very pleased with the results.

Here are few pictures with these guys around my home:

Wouldn't these be neat with a long lost note inside? or music? or another object?
Or what about a different topper?
The possiblities are endless!

Thanks so much for visiting...enjoy your day!

I'm joining the following parties this week, as always, thanks ladies!
Susan for her Metamorhphasis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.
Rhoda for her Today'sThrifty Treasure at Southern Hospitality
Tam's Three or More Tuesday at The Gypsy's Corner
Diane for Second Time Around at A picture is Worth a 1,000 Words
Leigh for Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Beth at Mantel Party at The Stories of A to Z
Marty at Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Be sure to stop by for amazing posts and creative participants!

I've just been invited to another party, Linda's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Party over at Coastal Charm! Thanks Linda!


  1. Hi Sharlotte-
    Your shell bottles are wonderful.
    I too am a Texas blogger, and I have been a follower of your blog for a while.
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  2. They turned out great - You did good! I have a few bottles I want to decorate with a little bling (already done a couple). Just another one of those projects I put on the back burner. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. What a pretty display these make. I bet they are kind of fun to put together as well. I'm sorry about the loss of your home. Hopefully these can give you bring some of the good feelings and memories you had while there. I've lived in OK all my life but one year and we spent it in Colorado. I fell in love with the mountains and now I will pick up little things here and there that remind me of the beauty of Colorado, the mountains and my year there. Thanks for sharing this sweet, beautiful post and the tutorial!


  4. Sharlotte,
    You certainly went all out to make those bottles look special. They look as good as the ones that I am seeing in the boutiques that sell for $60. plus!

    Do you think that you will rebuild your beach home? I'm so sorry that happened, I know you miss it.

    Nice post.


  5. What a wonderful way to repurpose old bottles!! Just lovely!

    Can you believe it's already a brand new week!!? Pray it is a blessed one for you!

    bee blessed

  6. What a great idea! At first the bondo scared me off, but your results are so great I think I maybe brave enough to give it a try. Jennifer

  7. Love these! I am fond of the beach as well, and these bottles are perfect reminders of the tranquility the ocen and sand bring.

  8. The look awesome!!! I need to make me some!

  9. Hey, Sharlotte, so nice to meet you, I don't think I've been by here before. LOVE, love your shell bottles. I've seen a few versions of those too & I just might have to try them sometime. I love old bottles & shells, so that's a perfect combo. Gives me something to look for too, since I got rid of my old bottles I did have. Glad you joined the party.

  10. I'm in HEAVEN...luv your shell bottles! I guess I would since I live on the coast:) I sure hope you will bring them by and show them off at my NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAYS PARTY...I know everyone would luv to see them:)


  11. What a neat idea -- I am bookmarking the post so that I can return and give it a whirl.


  12. Great idea! I have been pondering what to do with my shells...They all looked great and goes very well with your decor.

  13. You got yourself quite a unique collection going on there. WOW! Be blessed. Cindy

  14. Leave it to a man to suggest bondo! Leave it to a woman to actually make it work! Great job, they look really nice! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Those are really great! I am excited to give this a try. I think I will feel really powerful working with Bondo!

  16. Love the bottles!! Using Bondo is such a great idea. I have everything to solder them since I do Stained Glass but your idea will be so much easier and quicker. Now I know what to do with my old bottles ;)

  17. Sharlotte, okay these bottles are off the hook beautiful!! I'm heading out asap to get supplies to do this....but before I do, it's not everyone who share their how to's regarding their craft or project. Kudos to you for sharing and posting.
    Thanks a bushel full of shells.:)
    Fair Winds and Calm Seas,
    Deborah Leon

  18. Sharlotte - Your blog is amazing! I love the post about the shell bottles - so perfec t for our little beach home on the east coast of Florida!

    I am new to your blog - not even really sure how I got here - but I am so glad I did! Your photos are beautiful - and you are so wonderful to share your crafting ideas with everyone.

    I think I will just hang around and be your newest follower! Someone who loves the beach as you do - and I do - we should have a lot in common. I look forward to seeing your creations and wonderful ideas that you share~~~


  19. I am so loving this tutorial. I have wanted to do this for a long time and love the way you figured out to do them, so will give it a try. I've got it all except the bondo. Will have to get some.
    THanks again for your generosity in sharing this.

  20. this is so cool. i hold summer art camps for children and teens and will definitely use this idea with the older ones! they'll love it! thank you for sharing and to maya for sending me this way.

  21. I love this idea.....thanks for sharing.

  22. Great idea! I've used my empty candle jars and filled them with shells. You can see them here on my blog post

  23. This is sooo beautiful.... !! Thanks for the step by step instructions... I dono if we get Bondo here ...., but I would like to try this... !!!

  24. Just wanted to stop by! I saw your post over at Hometalk and I had to visit to get all the details! You really inspired me today! I am heading to the beach and I need to get some shells!

    Have a blessed and wonderful day!

  25. Just beautiful!!! I want to try this for summertime coming up. Thanks for the great tutorial. Hey, you know how I found this post even though it is a few years old? It was pictured as a "link within" as a featured favorite on Linda's Coastal Charm blog party back in 2010.


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