How to Make an Ocean Themed Wreath

Fishing Net with Life Preserver
A day at the beach – the warmth of the sun upon your skin, seagulls chattering nearby, damp sand between your toes, the laughter of children, and the ebb and flow of the waves depositing tiny treasures upon the shore. Whether it’s sea glass or seashells, each has unique colors and patterns courtesy of Mother Nature. Creating an ocean themed wreath is a great way to display your shell collection and as a reminder of those days in the sun and a promise of vacations yet to come.

Ocean Wreath with Open Center
Ocean Wreath Version 1
The ocean’s creatures hitch a ride upon this wreath as it floats along the surface of the sea. All the items shown are small to medium scale to coordinate with the life-size fish and crab. (Alternate option: The open center reminds me of a life preserver. If you really want to play up the life preserver look, you could use a white foam wreath base, let some of the white show through the netting, and add a thick piece of rope around the perimeter similar to the one shown in the photo at the top of this post.)

Supplies:
16” Wire Wreath Frame
Fishing Net
Glue Gun with plenty of Glue Sticks
Old size 6 (or size G) Crochet Needle – to “fish” the twine through netting
Life-size Crab and Fish Figurines
Seashells – different sizes, shapes and colors
3 Starfish
Tan twine – to tie on larger shells, crab and fish
Faceted round diamond shaped rhinestones – glued upside down on starfish legs
Optional blue paint – to blend twine ties over bodies of fish and crab
Optional black foam core and painted wood sea horses for second version of wreath.
Anchor Wreath Hanging Hook

Crafter Tip: A word of caution about fishing nets – The netting is available through craft stores and online. If the product description includes the words “recycled materials,” it really means it was used for fishing! I’m sure it must have been rinsed, but the fishy smell may still be present. Air it out first before use. You may want to wear gloves while you are handling netting, and keep it out of children’s reach. Also fishing nets often contain mismatched patches, which add character and a bit of a background story for your finished project.

Crafter Tip: Before you start, cover your worktable with newspaper. You will be flipping the wreath over multiple times to tie the decorations. It’s helpful to have someone assist with this project. One person can hold wreath up on end while other ties the knots in back. That’s a real time saver.

Close Up – Twine Tie
Close Up Ties
Wrap the fishing net around the wire wreath frame. Be sure to make thick layers to completely conceal the wire. Use tan twine to tie the netting in place in multiple locations until you are satisfied with the fullness and coverage. Refer to the red highlighted rectangle in the above photo. Using the crochet needle, “fish” the twine through the netting to the back of the wreath. The twine forms single stitches upon the face of the wreath, which will blend with the natural color of the netting, and will be covered by shells. If you purchase white fishing net, use white string or twine. All ties for this project should be secured on the back, and tied in double or triple knots. Crafter Tip: To ensure ties remain tight, add hot glue to each knot.

Close Up – Crab
Close Up Crab

Close Up – Fish
Close Up Fish
Crab & Fish Figurines – Because these figures are the stars of this project, they should be attached first. Originally they were meant to stand as statues upon a shelf or mantelpiece, but in this case they were the perfect size, color and shape to use as wreath decorations. Due to their weight, be sure each is securely tied to your wreath. Crafter Tip: Because the underside of the fish might be seen from the side, it was painted blue to blend with the body or look like splashing water. The twine ties across the crab and fish figures were painted blue to be less noticeable.

Close Up – Starfish
Close Up Starfish
Attach the starfishes next. These three were positioned in an asymmetrical pattern, but you can add as many as you like. Crisscross ties over the center of the starfish and cover the twine with a seashell. To add a little sparkle, glue diamond shaped rhinestones onto each starfish, three per leg. Use glue or twine to attach the seashells. Lay them out and move them around to create an attractive arrangement. Work quickly with the hot glue, which dries fast. Larger shells may need to be tied instead of glued. Distribute accent colors evenly throughout the wreath to unify design.

The second option for this ocean wreath has a filled center with additional sea life.

Option 2 – Ocean Wreath with Solid Center
Finished Wreath Version 2
This version offers additional opportunities to display your shell collection. Use black foam core in the center with punched holes around perimeter to tie onto the wire wreath frame. Punch additional holes if needed to tie on large shells or figures. Cover the foam core with a layer of fishing net and glue on additional shells and sea horses. For instructions to create the painted wood sea horses shown in photo, please click here.

Close Up – Wreath Hanging Hook
Anchor Hook
This decorative anchor hook fits the overall ocean theme and will provide sturdy, heavy-duty support for this large, heavy wreath. Crafter Tip: Be sure to insert the hook through all the rings in the metal frame. Place a seashell over the tip of the hook.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

How to Decorate Wood Crafts

Fawn
When I was a little girl, my bedroom was decorated with Disney’s Bambi characters. Each wooden plaque was painted in full color and beautifully detailed. Before falling asleep at night, I would sit and admire each one, imagining they came to life before my very eyes. You can create painted wood art (and memories) for your home.

Raw Wood Owl
Wooden Owl
Wood cutouts, figures and plaques can be a fun, inexpensive project. The projects described below are ocean creatures, however, many themes are available, including sports, nature, and holidays. This owl is predominately raw wood, with just a little color to accentuate the face.

Painted Wooden Heart
Wooden Heart
Decorating can be done with magic markers, acrylic paints, fabric paints (for 3-D effect), stickers, and self-stick gems. Finished items can be used as wall art, Christmas ornaments, wreath décor, place cards, window charms, and refrigerator magnets. These techniques can be used for larger woodcrafts as well. Outdoor items will require waterproof paints, and you will want to consider the fading effects of the sun.

Seahorses:

Inspiration
Seahorse
It’s always helpful to refer to a few photos to inspire your color palette. Note how textured the body is and any patterns naturally found in this unique sea creature.

Raw Wood Seahorse
Raw Wood Seahorse

Turquoise Seahorse Supplies
Turquoise Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – turquoise, yellow, and metallic blue (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
P7 Turquoise Seahorse Detail
Seahorses – Step By Step Process: Apply base coat of acrylic paint over the surface, and be sure to paint over all the dark brown edges. When it’s dry, you may want to draw details to define your design.

Choose accent paints and begin working across the body, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Allow the piece to dry for several hours.

Dab a paintbrush in undiluted acrylic paint to create the subtle bumpy effect on the seahorse’s body. The metallic paint down the center of the body gives it an iridescent finish, which visually transforms the flat wood into a rounded, three-dimensional figure.

Finished Seahorse
Finished Turquoise Seahorse
Lastly, the blue fabric paint was applied to form spikes along the contours of the body. You may need to do a second coat on the spikes to achieve the texture as shown.

Purple Seahorse Supplies
Purple Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – orange, fuschia, and metallic light purple (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
Purple Seahorse Detail
Follow the same steps noted above for the turquoise seahorse.

Finished Purple Seahorse
Finished Purple Seahorse
For a more three dimensional look, please click here to see a more advanced version of these seahorses.

Dolphin:

Inspiration
Swimming Dolphins
Unlike the seahorses, dolphins have smooth, sleek bodies with a glossy sheen. To reproduce that wet-look, dimensional fabric paints will be exclusively used for this project.

Raw Wood Dolphin
Raw Wood Dolphin

Dolphin Supplies
Dolphin Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Dolphin (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
3) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – white, pearl silver, black
Paintbrush

Dolphin Close Up Detail
Dolphin Detail
Dolphin – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go, and cover all the dark brown edges.

As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint in a thick layer, using long “strokes,” to give the dolphin’s body depth. A damp paintbrush can be used to level the surface.

Allow the piece to dry over night. Be sure to wash the paintbrush with soap and water to remove fabric paint, which tends to adhere to the bristles like glue.

Finished Dolphin
Finished Dolphin
It may require several paint applications to achieve the look you desire. Don’t worry about getting a perfectly smooth paint finish. The irregularities look like water rippling across his skin as he swims through the ocean.

Sea Turtle:

Inspiration
Swimming Sea Turtle
Sea turtles having fascinating patterns on their shells as well as their heads and flippers.

Raw Wood Sea Turtle
Raw Wood Turtle

Green Sea Turtle Supplies
Sea Turtle Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Turtle (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – cream
2) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – brown, green
Paintbrushes

Sea Turtle Close Up Detail
Sea Turtle Detail
Sea Turtle – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body, one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Apply a thick coat of brown fabric paint over the entire body to create depth. Allow the piece to dry over night. Now apply a thick coat of green fabric paint upon the shell. As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint using long spiral “strokes” starting at the shell perimeter and working toward the center. Repeat this process several times to achieve desired thickness and raised dome shell shape.

Finished Sea Turtle
Finished Sea Turtle
The final step is applying the detailed scales on the head and flippers, and the pattern on the turtle’s shell using acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush.

I hope you enjoy painting woodcrafts in your own unique style. It’s a lot of fun for the child in all of us and makes a great souvenir from your creative journey.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

The Octopus & the Mermaids

Tropical House Closeup
A little piece of paradise – Isn’t that what we all want? That means different things to different people. For many, the idea of a cozy grass shack on a tropical island is a common fantasy. Of course it goes without saying that we’ll expect all the comforts of home in that “shack,” but that’s not important. Visualizing the dream is the focus here. This time of year so many people visit the seashore. An ocean-themed centerpiece, created one piece at a time, brings memories of vacations past to mind, and inspires dreams of vacations yet to come.

Beach House Before & After1
Before & After Photos: Tropical Home – Front Facade. What was once a home for tiny gnomes transforms into a tropical retreat with orange silk flowers, and a bamboo pattern drawn by hand on the exterior walls using a brown Sharpie marker.

Beach House Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Tropical home – Back Facade. The bamboo pattern continues across the back, giving it that island vibe.

Light House Before & After
Before & After Photos: Lighthouse. Whoever heard of a lighthouse without a roof? To make the roof shown, fold the paper into a cone and staple it as needed to hold its shape. Glue a soup can lid to the bottom of the cone and paint it gray to match the lower portion of the building. Add twine along the edge and down the sides to resemble a standing seam metal roof. Tie several knots in a piece of twine and glue it to the peak of the roof. Tint the glass votive holder yellow using a highlighter, and line the inside with orange paper to suggest a brilliant light glowing from within the tower.

Sailboat Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Sailboat. This sailboat only needed a few minor adjustments. The faded horizontal stripes needed a fresh coat of paint, and the middle stripe was changed to orange. The opposite side of the sail was unfinished, so the stripes and shells were duplicated on the back. A cute little blue bird was glued to the top of the mast.

The Star of the Show: A Blue Ringed Octopus
Octopus Before and After 2
Before & After Photos: Octopus Closeup. It’s hard to believe the monochromatic octopus on the left is the same one on the right, but it is. It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can do.

Octopus with Candles
Original Octopus Candleholder: This whole project started with this silver metal octopus candleholder. As you can see, it looks top heavy with the large pillar candles, and the octopus is rather hidden underneath. Round candles were another option, but he looked like a juggler! (lol)

Blue Ringed Octopus
As with all creative projects, it’s helpful to gather a few photos for inspiration. The blue ringed octopus is a fascinating creature. Fans of James Bond 007 will remember the movie, Octopussy, in which Maude Adams had an aquarium with this beautifully patterned octopus, and she also wore a white silk robe emblazoned with its colorful, exotic image. Each octopus has a unique pattern, and the blue iridescent rings are impressive creations courtesy of Mother Nature.

Paints
Supplies:
Octopus (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paints – tan, brown, black, yellow, white, & metallic blue
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
2) Paintbrushes – one for base coat, and a fine brush for details
Paint Palette
Clear Spray Paint

Octopus without Candles
This is how it looks without the candles. The large metal plates are too big, overpowering the beauty of this piece.

Octopus without Plates
The plates were removed using a Dremel cutting tool, and the tips of the tentacles were filed smooth. Now you start to notice the amazing sculptural details created by the artist.

Painted Tan
The color was the next issue to be addressed with two coats of tan paint. The artist painstakingly created a realistic looking octopus, but that thick coat of silver paint had obscured all those intricate details.

Painted Brown Spots
A brown pattern was applied to the entire body and the eyes were painted black.

Painted Black Spots
Black spots were added, overlapping the brown.

Painted Blue Rings&Yellow
Blue iridescent rings were applied over the black spots. Random yellow stripes wrap around the legs and head. A white dot was added to the pupil of each eye.

Painted Brown Irises White Outlines
The eyes were made more realistic with the addition of brown irises and white outlines.

Clear Coat & Suction Cups
Two coats of clear spray paint were applied to protect the acrylic paints. White suction cups were added to the underside of the tentacles, and allowed to dry. Next brown fabric paint was applied over each of the suction cups to provide shape and depth. This beautiful sculpture now has the rich, colorful appearance it deserves, and makes an interesting conversation piece.

Finished Centerpiece
Photo: Completed Centerpiece. Black pebbles form little volcanic islands amid a vast ocean. In front of a cozy tropical home, a mermaid sits quietly reading as a sailboat glides along the water. Another mermaid leaps out of the sea with a treasured seashell in her hand. The lighthouse makes a welcome rest stop for wildlife and a sunbathing mermaid. A feisty octopus playfully thrashes about the water’s surface. Palm trees swaying in the breeze display a pair of small signs that says it all: “Beach Please!”

Happy Crafting!