Thursday, January 20, 2011

Framing Collectables

We all have things tucked away in drawers or closets that were lovingly brought home from a vacation but then stay tucked away because we're not sure what to do with them, right?  

This summer our family went to Vancouver Island and spent an unexpected night in Qualicum Beach.  We all rose early in the morning and spent an hour combing the beach while the tide was out.  We found a myriad of delights but my daughter and I couldn't resist bringing home some sand dollars.  They reminded me of my own childhood when our family would spend a week or two at a busy beach and I would spend my allowance buying sand dollars at the gift shops lining the beach.
Here are some of the goodies we did NOT bring home!

The first thing I needed to do was to give them a good cleaning.  These guys were filthy.  Can you believe we dragged them around with us for 4 days while continuing our vacation.

I used a solution of bleach and water in a 50/50 ratio.  Let them soak in the pan for 10 minutes but not much longer or they'll start to crumble.  I used a soft toothbrush to scrub away sticky marks.

When I removed the sand dollars from the bleach solution, I placed them in the sun for an hour of two.  This helps to bleach them to the bright white colour.


When I had the dollars just the right shade of white I brought them back indoors for the framing.  I chose the IKEA Ribba frame which is an extra deep frame.  Depending on what you're framing you can get away with this inexpensive frame and not have to spend the money for a more expensive shadow box.
I cut a piece of cardboard measuring the same as the inside dimensions of the frame.  Be sure not to use the cardboard mat included in this frame as the objects in the centre will sag through the open centre.  The cardboard is then covered with a fabric cut 2" wider on all 4 sides.  I just wrapped the fabric around the cardboard like a present.  There's no need to be tidy on the back since you won't see it.  I used clear packing tape but you could also use hot glue or duct tape.   I chose a heavy dark green fabric that feels like burlap but looks like linen.  A heavy fabric works better so that it won't drop and sag once mounted.  Tip:  Don't forget to iron the fabric before you get started.

The next step was to attach the sand dollars to the fabric.  I didn't take any photos of this step but it's super simple.  Be sure to use a ruler to mark where you will attach your items.  I covered the back of the sand dollar with hot glue, placed it on the fabric and gently pressed down to make sure it set.  Let them dry for short time before setting it in the frame.  

We ended up with 8 sand dollars that were in perfect shape so we finished the pattern with a starfish that we had in our bathroom.  I'm actually really glad it worked out that way because it changes the rhythm of the pattern which usually adds some additional visual interest.

Let me know if you've framed something special and share some of your photos.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Nice to have you back Carol ... really lovely artwork and even more impressive cause you made it :)

  2. Some of the favorite things in my home are things I found on trips I've taken with my husband. I love that you used something you found on a trip to frame and enjoy. Having art that has a personal meaning makes a house a home.

  3. Beautiful job!! I've been meaning to tackle something similar... love how it turned out.

  4. I have many silver dollars tucked away from a beach near my Moms home on Vancouver Island... thank you so much for the wonderful idea of framing them, I too love how it turned out...


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