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Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette

*This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All content is my own and reflects my personal style and opinion. #ProjectAmazing #CollectiveBias  

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

A few weeks ago, my husband gave in to Pinterest (or as he calls it, “Manterest”).

It started out so innocently. At first, he scrolled for several minutes so he could get to the bottom (snicker) and see what all the fuss is about. Then, his eyes got wider. And wider. And then every 10 seconds, he was showing me something new he wanted us to make and getting more and more hysterically excited over all of the insanely “legit” DIY projects.

He’s a man after my own heart, that one.

So while we were vacationing at Myrtle Beach the other week, Robert actually came across a “Manterest” idea to display all of the beautiful seashells we’d found on our evening walks.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

Place them in a printer tray shadow box! These babies were too pretty to be kept in a closet shoebox for sure.

So when 3M® asked me if I would create a fun summer craft for them, I knew exactly what to do.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I have this little habit of frequenting the crafting aisle of Walmart when I’m shopping for groceries. I really can’t help myself. It calls to me from the produce section every time. (How does that happen?)

So while there, I picked up a pack of Scotch® Mounting Squares and a Scotch® Precision Titanium Utility Knife to play with our cute little pile of shells.

Scotch® and Command™ products are now housed in the crafting aisle, so they’re much easier to find.

I found a vintage printer’s tray on Etsy for a steal too.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

The tray originally had green paint on the front that I wasn’t a fan of, so I gave it a quick cover up with my favorite Duck Egg blue.

I didn’t want to use anything too permanent on the printer’s tray since I change my mind constantly in our house, so the mounting squares were perfect for a quick summer display. I usually have a stock pile of Scotch® mounting tape or squares and Command™ hooks for my commitment issues.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I placed my shells where I wanted them first and moved them around a bit until I was happy.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

And I used a mounting square on the back of each shell.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I used the utility knife to cut any squares that needed to be a smaller size for the smaller shells.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

Isn’t it cuuuute? I wonder what the little critter looked like that used to live in it. (There were lots of shells we didn’t bring home from our trip because they still had things living inside, and we didn’t want to kill them just to take their pretty homes away.)

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I stuck the shells onto the back of the printer’s tray where I’d dry fitted them. I turned on Parks and Rec and crafted away on this thing for about 30 minutes. (Netflix is the perfect naptime crafting companion around here.)

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

It worked perfectly! And even two weeks after making it, the shells haven’t budged.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I don’t usually go all out on decorating for seasons (I’ve confessed it before), but I love having this special memory of our favorite beach pasttime on display in our living room.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

It fits right in on our media cabinet with our oversized vintage map.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

Olivia’s favorites are the “purple butterfly” shells because they look like Daddy, Mommy, and baby shells. Makes sense to me.

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I had to let the English literature nerd flag fly a little bit too. I mean, come on. A coastal display needs some Treasure Island and Herman Melville  action. (My former students would totally roll their eyes right there. “Mrs. Shaver, Moby Dick is sooo lame.”)

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

DIY Seashell Printer Tray Shadow Box + Coastal Vignette | Bless'er House

I don’t think I’ll ever have the heart to take this summer vignette down. As much as I love fall, I’m thinking the shells will just have to stay and everyone will have to get over it. Right?

What do you think? Are you a seashell collector too? Or a coastal style lover?

You can check out more Scotch® summer project ideas at Project Amazing and upload your own.

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26 Comments

  1. Great idea using the mounting tape! How did you do it when the shells were “hollow” on their back sides like the large clam(?) shell in the center of the tray?

    1. Thank you, Cathy!! However, I cannot remember how I used the tape on the larger shells. I feel so silly. I made it years ago.

    1. Thanks! I was so excited when we came up with this one. I feel like they’ll stay more intact in this as opposed to throwing them into a jar where they might get crushed. Ours are from Myrtle too!

  2. Your styling looks great! What you have there is actually a shadow box made just for décor. A printers type tray has exact sized “cubbies” in very specific locations as they were used to hold lead type. Regardless of the font or size, the letters were located in the same spot of every type drawer. (We were tested on this as an apprentice!) The drawer usually has a pull handle on it stating the font name and size. When you are searching online to buy one, try “printers type tray” or printers type drawer”. You’re sure to come up with several…and they should average $25-$35 a piece. Keep collecting….you’ve got a terrific tool with those mounting squares!

    1. Oh yay! Thank you, Diena! I had a hard time finding a printer’s box at thrift stores and antique shops. I found some great ones on Ebay though that were really cheap.

    1. We must be kindred spirits, Pamela. I’m right there with ya. 😉 This little spot is filled with so much of our family. The map is of Ireland as a nod to our heritage. I get super sentimental with this decor stuff around here.

  3. So beautiful Lauren. We have tons of shells in mason jars from our summers on Lake Michigan. Now, you have inspired me to get each of the girls a tray and hang curated collections on their bedroom walls. It turned out great. And your vignette is lovely. Collecting shells is so fun! You should try beach glass…total adrenaline rush to find the perfect piece of aqua!

    1. Aw that would be so cute to have an individual one for each girl! I would love to try searching for beach glass but I never see any when we take our annual trip to Myrtle Beach. We hope to go to Maine in a year or two though, and I’ve heard the beach glass there is plentiful.

    1. Thanks, Carrie! The tape doesn’t last as long as glue but it’s great for a temporary solution with seasonal projects.

  4. Love that idea Lauren! I have a tray that has been in a closet for years! Now I know how I can use it! I find it funny that North Carolinians come to SC to go to beach and we South Carolinians go to NC- I’ll be in the Outer Banks in August!

    1. Thanks, Caroline! We’re right on the NC/SC state line (York County, SC) to be exact but worked in North Carolina for several years so I never know what to call myself. Haha I only went to the Outer Banks once but it’s beautiful! Hope you enjoy your trip. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I have no idea what else I’ll put in it when the seasons change. I had the same struggle. The tape is good for a temporary project if you planned to change it later but if you wanted to make it more permanent, I’d probably use glue.

  5. I love this Lauren!! And dude, I had no idea these little mounting strips existed!! I have a similar shell display in our guest room but they are just precariously leaning in each spot and sometimes one does get sacrificed to the floor :/ Also MUCH better than hot gluing them!

    1. Isn’t it great?! Those mounting strips are great for gals like me who have decor commitment issues. 😉 I bet you come across all kinds of cool shells in your area.

    1. Thanks, Mary! I love getting sentimental in our decor. It’s so great to remember little pieces of our vacations like this.

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