Creative Kids: Monogram with Seashells
Published on: April 12, 2018
Family beach trips inevitably mean collections of seashells, which you can’t just throw away or store in a jar. Here is a craft idea to help you put these fascinating beauties to use while engaging your kids!
Text and photos by Donatella Lazzari
How many times have you come back from your holidays with a bunch of seashells picked from the beach and you are never quite sure what to do with them? I am an avid collector and for some time I’ve been filling up a large glass jar which makes for a pretty display on a shelf. But now even the jar is full to the brim.
So I’ve devised these pretty monogram decorations which are a lovely craft activity to do with your kids.
- PVA glue (TOA or any other white thick water-based glue)
- Monogram / initial template on paper
- Piece of thick plain cardstock big enough to fit your template
- Sharp craft knife
- Pair of scissors
- Paper plate
Prepare the template
This is your choice of design – you can choose to draw it using freehand or print it out from a Word doc.
In a Word document, choose a font that you like and suits your needs (I avoid too thin or too curly so it’s easier to cut out and decorate afterwards). Select the right size for the monogram (the ones in the pictures are approximately 15x18cm).
Select the outline option from the drop-down menu and fill white. In this way, you don’t waste ink when you print it.
After you’ve printed it out on normal paper, cut it out. This is your monogram template.
Cut out the base
Now, place the monogram template on the cardstock you intend to use as a base, trace it out and then cut it out with the help of a sharp craft knife. Please be mindful when using a craft knife to protect the surface from scratches.
You can show and teach a child to use a craft knife from the age of 8-9 years, but it should always be supervised by an adult.
Now it’s 100% your child’s turn. Cover the workspace with a newspaper to protect it from glue dribbles.
Place the cutout cardstock monogram on the newspaper, whilst you prepare a medium amount of PVA glue on a paper/plastic plate.
Let the child play with the seashells and think how he/she would like to arrange them on the monogram. This is a creative process, as shells are of different shapes, sizes, and colors – you’ll find that some children will be drawn by colors, others by shape, some will arrange neat patterns and others will decorate in a more casual manner.
You can assist by showing different ideas, but ultimately let them make their own choices, let them find out their preferences and what they can do by themselves.
(If you love this craft you should set aside some materials for yourself so you can indulge in it during your “me-time”. If you want to do it in advance, don’t show your work as an example, or if you do, provide more than one example, so as not to influence your child with your own design choices.)
Once he/she is ready to stick down the seashells, let them spread a thick layer of glue on the monogram and then arrange the seashells on the glue as desired. Be generous with the glue to make sure that it will hold the seashells.
Done with decorating the shells? Let the seashells sit for about half an hour.
When you feel that the seashells are quite firm to touch, you can give them an extra shiny look by brushing a few coats of the same PVA glue over them. The glue will dry clear giving a glossy finish to the artwork.
Just make sure you let each coat dry out before applying a new one (a hairdryer might help to speed up this stage).
You are done, enjoy your new seashell art pieces and don’t feel shy to spread them around as presents, especially to the grandparents.
About the Author
Donatella is a mother of three, dedicated wife, arts and crafts teacher, dormant qualified architect, aspiring “mumpreneur”, enthusiast photographer, designer and cook! 360° creative Donatella is part Italian, part Thai and arrived from London ten years ago. Holding possibly one of the longest-standing BAMBI membership numbers, she has always been proud to be part of this extraordinary and always inspiring diverse group of women.
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