Broken Sand Dollar Project

The last 2 times we’ve been to the beach we’ve found a TON of washed up sand dollars (already dead), due to the terrible red tide we had.  They even talked about it in the Naples Daily News (although this article is saying it may not have been due to the red tide). They were all different sizes.  Some as small as a dime and some as big as 4 or 5 inches across.  However, they are so delicate that many of them broke by the time we got home.  I hated the thought of throwing them all away so I searched Pinterest for ideas on what to do with broken shells and saw some cute ideas that inspired me.  Here is what I came up with.

PLEASE NOTE: I have had several comments that these sand dollars were alive because they were brown.  I can assure you that they were definitely dead and found 10 feet from the shore.  They just hadn’t had a chance to turn white yet from the sun.  I would NEVER take a sand dollar that is alive and well and living in our waters. Once again here is an article from the Naples Daily News that talked all about it.

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Materials Used in this Project

Float Frame from Michael’s

Broken Sand Dollars

Glue gun

Paint Pens 

Wine Glass Makers

First off, here are some pictures of some of the unbroken sand dollars we found.  You need to clean them first if they are brown, like the first picture below.  To clean I poured a tiny bit of bleach and lots of water into a bowl, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Once white, I rinsed and they looked amazing.  The bottom right picture is a shadow box I’ve had forever that I used to make a quick project with some of the unbroken ones.

Step 1 in my Broken Sand Dollar Project…

Now, back to what to do with the broken ones.  I found the perfect map of Florida online and printed it out.  I had this extra 11×14 gray barnwood float frame from when I made this sea glass project (and the frames were buy one get one free) and have been wanting to do something with it.  A float frame is just 2 pieces of glass and a frame.  It has no back so when you hang it, it takes on the color of the walls.   I put the map underneath the glass and then traced it onto the glass using this pen that is usually used to write names on wine glasses, so it wipes right off.  (By the way, these pens are so fun to have at parties, or make a great gift.)

You could also use a shadow box for this project.  Here is a cute one from amazon.

Step 2 – Fill in the Shape…

You can use any state you want, or any shape you want.  Once it is traced onto the glass you can start filling in the shape with the broken sand dollars and gluing them down.  I used a few unbroken ones too.  My son helped me with this and loved it and did such a great job.  You could also do this with any kid of shells.

Step 3 Finishing Touches…

Once you are satisfied with how it looks, wipe or scrape off any extra glue using a razor blade tool.  You can also wipe off any visible pen marks.  Then, add the frame and hang.  At the last minute I opted to write the words Home Sweet Home on it using these paint pens since it seemed a little bare.  Here is how it looks hung in our dining room.  (I think I need to lower it a bit.) Anyway, that is what I came up with.  What do y’all think?

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