Repurposing with Shells and Junk from the Beaches of Portugal

Repurposing with Shells and Junk from the Beaches of Portugal
It's time for another Junk Revision Challenge. A monthly blog hop where we transform so called "junk" into something better. I was sad to have missed last month's but had a craft show to prepare for. This month's challenge is "INSPIRED by MOM or DAD". I remember fondly our vacations on the beaches of Portugal and time spent collecting shells and other found objects... now to figure out what to do with these...

For this challenge I decided to honor my heritage and my parent's heritage. Both my parents are from Portugal but you wouldn't know it from looking at them. My father when tanned looked Middle Eastern and my mother was pale and had platinum blonde hair. I wish I had a photo of them to share with you, but most of the family photos are back in Canada in my mom's home. I was the last of my siblings to be born there and we immigrated to Canada when I was a toddler.

The first time I remember visiting Portugal was when I was 7 years old and we spent our vacation on the beach... we went there every 7 years it seems...

The last time I went was 2 years ago when my mom treated my family to a trip to remember. It had been more than 20 years since I had seen my extended family there and the beautiful beaches. In this photo my uncle and my munchkin are getting ready to go fishing. Look at all of those shells...

... so much treasure to be found and my favourite daily activity.

Portugal is a coastal European country with 500 miles of beaches. We visited a few nearby beaches and enjoyed the scenery. The Atlantic ocean water was a little too cold to swim in and the waves a little too wild for my taste. Besides I still remember my near death experience as a 7 year old when a huge wave overtook me when I was walking back to shore. My life passed before mt eyes like a super fast movie...

To this day I don't swim in the ocean... instead I mostly enjoy walking by the sand dunes away from the crowds and searching for "junk treasures". Bits of driftwood, nets of all colors and of course sea shells all come home with me...

While we were there my mom's condo was in need of some new accessories. This print was hanging in the living room and just didn't seem to fit a beach style home. So I used it as a base for a mirror. The actual mirror piece had come off one of the particle board closets and had been sitting in the closet. Time to glue it onto the framed print and add some of the new found treasures!

I adhered the mirror onto the wood backed print with some mirror adhesive and it fit almost perfectly into the frame except for being about a quarter of an inch smaller which was not a problem... that space was filled with some aqua colored rope from the junk stash. I wanted it to frame the rest of the found objects.  I am really pleased with how it turned out and especially like the addition of the net on the upper section and the various colors of the driftwood.  But I wish I had taken a few more photos of the process and the finished piece. Hopefully one day I can return and take better photos and create more pieces with the stash of junk left behind.

This is a box that I found at the thrift store for $1.50, which I knew was a deal even if I had no idea  what I was going to do with it at the time...

I figured I could paint it and it could store some of the more interesting beach finds. The sea glass is from various beaches. I used some leftover "Blackberry House paint in a color called "Well Water" to paint the inside and as a second coat for the top.

Using my Silhouette Cameo I cut out a vinyl stencil with some lettering that would fit on the box top. Then using white craft paint I filled in the words with a foam makeup wedge.
I lightly distressed the edges and love that the white and original red show through. I then found a peachy/orange colored shell that I thought would compliment the blue and hot glued it on. Now it is a pleasant reminder of some wonderful vacations and memories made by the sea with family.

Hope I have inspired you to do something with your collection of Treasure from the Sea!


Make sure to check out more inspirational ideas by my fellow Junk Visionaries below...


  1. your story of Portugal was wonderful. The beach and sky in the photos almost take your breath away with it's blue, blue skies. Loved reading this.

  2. I love beachcombing, though our beaches are not quite as beautiful as Portugals. Great ideas for what to do with all those found treasures.

  3. The treasures from the sea box is the perfect accent to the story you told about visiting Portugal. The way you've upcycled it is absolutely stunning. Love how the bright orange shell gives it such contrast.

  4. Hi Lucy,

    Our family also lives the beach vacations, perhaps a little more than I do! I'm with you about the water, so love to hunt the treasures and take the photos!, l enjoyed your story and live your treasure box! Thanks for sharing!!!


  5. Lucy, what beautiful memories you must have of Portugal. Great idea to add seashells to the mirror. Love the new look you gave the box that holds the remaining seashore treasures.