03 Dec

DIY Shell Christmas Tree

DIY shell tree

Brrr! Have you been outside today? Yowza – my morning curb surfing activities weren’t much fun since it’s well below freezing here in my neck o’ the woods. Do you have any idea how hard it is to unscrew hardware bolts with frozen fingers? (and my gloves weren’t much help) This is about the time folks around here start making plans to head south to warmer climates.

Us? We’re getting ready for a trip to Denver. Go figure.

Anyhow – in light of the frigid temps I’ve got a special treat for ya’ll today. Give a warm (get it?) welcome to my pal, Alyson. (Hi Alyson!) She talks her own kinda trash over at The Shitastrophy. I’ll warn you though – she tells it like it is so put your big girl panties on before clicking through (then make sure you have a second pair handy because you’re sure to need a spare once you get to reading the shit she writes.) Oh, I took the liberty of censoring the first F-bomb she tossed out. The rest is full-on Alyson so consider yourself warned!


Well hello everyone! I am kinda shocked Dee invited me to guest post over here. After all, just the other day one of my projects was featured on Craft Fail – yes, THE Craft Fail – so you can imagine my surprise that she extended this invitation. I don’t typically craft or create things because of a need to stretch my artistic wings. I craft out of necessity.

If you ask my sisters they would say I am quite crafty. However, the rest of humanity knows better. I am slightly cheap, very stubborn and a major procrastinator. These qualities have helped me embark on numerous projects because I think:

  1. How much money do they want for that? Are they ******* (censored) crazy?!
  2. I have something pictured in my mind that is impossible to find anywhere in the world.
  3. I run out of time to properly order it from online and I am forced to create it myself.

So I am going to share with you all one of the few crafts that I have done that was actually successful and just in time for the holidays!  I am going to walk you through how to do a Sea Shell Christmas Tree! Of course, this took me months to do but chances are you are way more skilled and patient than I am so no worries – you got a few weeks.

I first saw something similar to this in an antique store in NJ for $400 per tree – it was a set. I couldn’t help but think – Bull Shit…I can totally make that for almost nothing. After all, I grew up at the beach and have lots of shells and we vacation at one of the best shell beaches in the whole country – Sanibel Island. Pfft…game on. I might also mention I live in Michigan, so that shell tree was not making it on the plane. Details. Details.

What you will need:

  1. A shit load of shells – Like more than you could ever dream of, or collect. I ordered about $100 worth off of the web. I went with various sizes and mostly in a cream and white palette. Get big, medium, and tiny (very tiny) shells. Also get different types – fans, conch, trumpet, etc. Get one large starfish so it can crown your tree.
  2. A hot glue gun – And lots of refills
  3. A grapevine tree – I went with the grapevine because it is cheap, and it is the biggest thing I could find for the least amount of money. If you are less enthused (or smart) you can use a smaller floral cone.
  4. Fabric – To wrap your grapevine tree so that none of the tree is actually visible. I spent $1 for a large gold tablecloth and wrapped my tree and glued it. Lots left over to make another one.
  5. Tweezers – To place the very tiny, itty bitty, minuscule shells so that the entire tree is covered
  6. Toothpick – To set your starfish on the top
  7. Time – About 60 hours of your life – fo real.
  8. Alcohol – I suggest a nice glass of beer somewhere around hour 2, after about 4 hours at this you will want to walk away. Better to stumble then walk I say.

How to do it:

  1. Wrap your grapevine/floral cone in fabric. Cut it once it is fully covered (it’s now a triangle) and hot glue along the seam of the fabric. Cut the excess on the bottom and tuck it inside the grapevine – or if you do the floral cone cut it along the bottom ridge so that your cone will sit flat.
  2. Pick some very large shells (but not too heavy – you don’t want the damn thing to be a weapon) to cover major tree real estate. Hot glue that bad boy on – I started by gluing the first shell right along the seam. I went with a large sand dollar.
  3. Now you will begin layering. Pick various shell sizes and glue to your cone/tree – overlapping the edges. (look below for the Work in Progress example)
  4. The idea is that NO fabric will show anywhere.
  5. Begin hot gluing the small tiny shells around the edges of the bigger shells. This is tedious – crack open that beer right about now if you haven’t already.
  6. Repeat for the next 55 hours of your life – I shit you not.
  7. Get your toothpick and impale your very large starfish to help with attaching it to the top of your tree
  8. Stick toothpick into the top of your tree and affix with lots and lots of hot glue – hold it till it is completely day.
  9. Sit back and revel that you completed this, and possibly drank a 12 pack in the process.

Somewhere around hour 30 you will realize that the $400 per tree was a fucking steal and next time you should totally buy the damn thing and have it shipped to your house. It would be less money in the end. Of course you wouldn’t have this awesome one of a kind creation that you keep up year round regardless that it has a star and screams Christmas because you made it yourself after losing days of your life.

Work in Progress:

DIY Shell Tree

The Finished Project – So worth it, don’t ya think?!

DIY Shell Tree


Ok so seriously? This is super freaking cute but no way would I put that kinda time and energy into something that would only get displayed once a year. I think I could get as far as that large shell then be too tipsy to hot glue anything more than my finger tips together. I’ll stick to stupid cute Christmas crafts!


Be sure to venture over to see what else Alyson is serving up and check out her FB page. She’s always spouting an opinion (or sharing things your eyes can’t unsee) there. She just got out of Google+ jail too so give her some 1+ love!


8 thoughts on “DIY Shell Christmas Tree

  1. I love this tree! You did a great job Alyson! They're really expensive around here as well- so I'm off to the craft store and will keep both you and Dee in my mind while I burn my fingers and swear up a storm. Ya know- like any other day.

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