A Mixed Media Tutorial: Beachcombing Wall Art Displays Found Treasures

DIY Wall Art: mixed media wall art

Create a collage of found treasures.

Pebbles, coins, seashells, buttons, keys, and other finds combine to make this DIY beach-theme wall art rich in textures and memories. Your treasures might also include beach glass, driftwood, pottery shards, coins, marbles, charms, game pieces, gears – even items from your kitchen junk drawer. The larger items are pressed into the sheet of STYROFOAM Brand Foam, which helps to hold them tight.

The three panels aMixed media tutorialre petite in size, with the largest measuring just 6” x 12”, perfect for a small nook. You can make the foam canvases larger or smaller to fit the objects and arrangement you have in mind. Because STYROFOAM Brand Foam is lightweight, your finished artwork will be easy to hang.

Kathleen George designed this piece, and she’s been a favorite designer of mine for years. She has designed dozens (hundreds?) of the craft projects you’ll find on www.styrofoamcrafts.com. Kathleen lives in the beautiful college town of Amherst, MA, and last week, I was fortunate enough to meet her and her husband Steve, and to tour their Victorian home, studio and gardens. I will share the details and photos from my visit very soon . . .

Here’s what you need to make your Beachcombing Wall Art:

  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam: Sheet, 18″ x 12″ x 1″ OR 36″ x 12″ x 1″
  • Tan acrylic paint
  • Ceramic stucco texture gel
  • Natural found objects and/or memorabilia of choice
  • Thin cardboard
  • Hook-and-loop tape tabs
  • Tools: Serrated knife; candle stub or bar of soap; pencil; ruler; palette knife; rubber spatula; disposable bowl; small, natural sponge; clean, dry rag

To make your Beachcombing Wall Art:

Mixed Media Wall Art 1. Wax serrated knife with candle stub or soap. Measure and cut a 12″ square from foam sheet; set aside remaining foam for future projects. Cut following blocks from foam square: 12″ x 6″; 6″ x 6″; 5″ x 5″.

2. Measure and cut three pieces of cardboard slightly larger than foam blocks. As you cover the foam with the stucco mixture, you’ll rotate and move the foam by moving the cardboard and not the STYROFOAM Brand Foam.

3. Arrange found objects and memorabilia on top of each foam block as desired. When pleased with arrangement, carefully set objects aside in same manner. (Hint: you can also snap a photo to remember the arrangement.)

4. Using putty knife, spread thin layer of stucco gel onto sides and top of 5″ x 5″ foam block. Carefully place objects onto block, gently pressing items down into wet gel to secure. Let dry completely before handling.

5. Place small amount of stucco gel into disposable bowl. To create a warm, aged look, add tiny amount of tan paint and mix well.

6. Repeat Step 4 for 6″ x 6″ and 12″ x 6″ foam blocks. Be sure to press objects firmly into stucco gel to secure. For large or thick objects, such as a stone, press object down into surface of foam to secure. Let dry completely.

7. If desired, add additional shading to 6″ x 6″ block: thin small amount of paint with water to create a very diluted color wash. Apply wash over dry stucco using small, damp sponge. Use dry rag to remove excess color in some areas. For more “aged” look, apply a second coat of color wash around block edges.

8. Let dry completely.

9. Following manufacturer’s instructions, hang with hook-and-loop tabs.

We have a few other beachcombing projects on www.styrofoamcrafts.com, and the photos below link to the step-by-step instructions. Kathleen also designed the Mosaic Seashell Wreath and Diane Flowers created the Day at the Beach Wreath.

DIY Mosaic:  Mosaic Seashell Wreath

Repurpose broken china, seashells and other beach treasures to make this mosaic wreath.

Wreath Tutorial:  Day at the Beach Wreath

A faux stone paint gives this wreath its sandy texture.

Are you headed to the beach this summer? Tell us about your vacation plans!

Happy crafting!


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Home Decor, Mixed Media, Mosaics, Wall Art, Wreaths and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Mixed Media Tutorial: Beachcombing Wall Art Displays Found Treasures

  1. Trisha says:

    My daughter and I did a wall hanging similar to this with a piece of driftwood. I crocheted a swatch of open filet and turned it on point to give the look of a fish net and tied it to the driftwood. Then my daughter took shells that we had collected at the same time as the dirftwood and hotglued them to the driftwood and net. It made a lovely wall decoration.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Trisha, I love that you created your art with your daughter! What a lovely way to preserve your beach memories, too. I hope you’ll post a photo of your wall art on our Facebook page @StyroCrafts. Thank you for your comment. Sharon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s