Top Menu

Summer Mantel with Seashells On the Beach Artwork

Mantel with sea shell wall art - sea horse and vase

Summer Mantel with sea shells wall art

Hi friends,

I finally had the time to upload and edit the pictures of how this seashell art project was done. It was hung above the mantel, making me smile each time I laid my eyes on it.

While reviewing some of the pictures in this post, I couldn't help but laugh at everything that happened. Of course, not even a smirk came to my face in the middle of all this because, as I told you during my Summer Home tour, this was a project full of mistakes.

This whole project was inspired by the shell wall above the fireplace right here. I love it, but I wanted to cover only some of the wall with seashells; a small frame that I could change once summer is gone was what I went for.

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Since I've accumulated a good number of DIY frames (a piece of plywood mounted on 1 x 2's), I only had to go to the basement to pick one. 

This one, with the "O come all ye faithful..." message, was my candidate. The art was obviously done for Christmas, but this board has had many makeovers, as you can see HERE.

However, I had to add another "frame" of 1 x 2's all around it. This new frame's the one to hold the "sand and shells," so it needed to protrude like ½" or so.

The next step was to add chicken wire to the plywood surface because whatever I wanted to use as a filler needed something to grab from. And I went to town driving staples to secure the wire onto that surface. :)

Everything was coming up so well that I brought the frame inside the house and began planning how I wanted the shells and starfish to look.  

I took pictures of the final draft to follow that plan.

For this project, I used the "use what you already have" rule every good DIY'er follows.

I had a big box of Plaster of Paris (POP), which sounded like the best option for this project - white, smooth finish, and yeah, the best: I already had it!

The instructions on the box called for 1 cup of water by 1-½ cup of POP, with a drying time of 30 min.


I mixed three portions, but they looked too runny and might have sipped through the gaps between the plywood and the frame. 

So, I added one extra cup of POP and mixed it...  

Still too watery. 

Another cup of POP was added...  And this time, it looked perfect, left picture above.

I quickly brought this mixture to the side of the frame and began adding it, pushing it onto the chicken wire.

Buuuuut, something didn't feel quite right. :/

By the time I was halfway through the mixture...

WHAT????? I couldn't believe it!

It was turning ROCK SOLID! 

I assure you, I ran to the kitchen FASTER than Wonder Woman trying to catch the bad guys...

I grabbed the only tool I could find to help me scrape the hell out of that mess!

Angels were definitely not singing right here.

While scraping all this stuff, I thought about what else to use.

And... yeah, why not...  Grout. 

I went to my closest Home Depot and bought two pre-mixed, bright white grout quarts.

Back at home, I poured the two quarts onto the board and... 

Can you believe it? That's all it covered! 

I felt so dumb! Why did I buy only two quarts? 

They should have covered more than half the board. :(

Oh my, it was already there, and I had to continue this project.

The grout was spread out, making it flush with the frame. It looked too rough, so I brought a piece of plastic wrap and smoothed the whole thing with my hand. Then, I began adding the shells by pushing them in. Small shells didn't need much pressure.

The drying time for the grout is 24 hours, which gave me plenty of time to go again to the Home Depot and grab a gallon and one extra quart of grout to complete the job.  - Hey, that stuff isn't cheap .:/

I repeated the same steps on the lower part, trying to continue seamlessly to the top.

Despite all my efforts, there are some trouble areas that the perfectionist in me keeps looking at.

There is a visible line where the first and second parts of the grout were applied. There is also a noticeable difference in its feel. The grout on the top part looks smoother than the one below.

The above picture was taken some minutes after applying the grout. Cracks appeared some hours later.

The 20th mistake: I should have cleaned the frame when the grout was soft. Once dry, it's a pain to remove that stuff.

| Pillows | Side Table | Overmantel |

I let it dry for five days, it laid flat on the floor all that time.

When I finally went to pull it up, oh my, that thing is HEAVY!

Strong hardware was installed before bringing it to the fireplace.

Even though it was packed full of mistakes, I like how it looks.
diy seashell wall art on mantel

The white on white gives a fresh look to the room. The shells add texture.
set of wooden fish on mantel

It does look like sand ... After all, it's sanded grout.

seashells wall art and summer decor

Well, there you have it. Tons of mistakes, but this can give you an idea of what not to do if you ever try something similar in the future. ;)

This was an expensive project in my book mainly because of the grout. Three quarts: $30 + 1 gallon $28—Three starfish around $10 - I had all the other materials, but it can go up to and above $100 if you don't. Perhaps it would be more manageable for a smaller frame; mine was 30" x 35".

For more DIY home ideas, check these out:

Enjoy what you read today?



  1. I am sure that is quite heavy, but it is so fabulous and a one of a kind art piece! You always create the best things!!

  2. It looks so great Cristina!! But I feel you on all the hurdles it took to get to the end result, it was a learning experience for sure! Thanks for sharing the process and what you figured out along the way!

  3. Even though this project threw you a lot of unexpected curves, the end result of your seashell board is fabulous! It looks wonderful over your mantel for the perfect summer display.
    Mary Alice

  4. The grout is perfect! Looks just like sand!

  5. This is just fabulous.
    You have inspired me to try something like this.
    Thank you for being at TOHOT.

  6. It blows my mind that this project was filled with one challenge after another. I like hearing about the way you solved them. I love how this turned out!!

    Happy Thoughts of Home. Pinning. :)

  7. The finished product looks beautiful to me, and it's nice to read about trial-and-error projects to remember that not everything is going to be perfect from the start when someone is truly being creative!

  8. Super cute.
    Those pillows look AMAZING. Is that denim? I can't wait for the tutorial.

  9. Love the pillows; is their a tutorial on it showing how to keep the edges from fraying?

    1. There's a tutorial on how to make the pillows, you can follow the link that says "pillows". the fraying is going to happen all around the hexagons until it reaches the stitching line.

  10. Sounds like any project I work on. 🥰 it’s always a hit or Miss and generally a hot mess. But so long as the end result is what you were looking for.

Copyright © Remodelando la Casa. Designed by OddThemes