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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Beach Memories

by: Julia Stratford-Wright
February 28, 2017

Beach Memories

I live within an easy drive of the east coast of England. I love taking my dog Norman to the beach and seeing if I can find any treasures brought in by the waves. I wanted to display some recent finds in a box frame which could be used somewhere in my home. The box frame is homemade from simple, inexpensive wooden pictures frames.


Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paste - White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Green Gold
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Blue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Prussian Blue Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Gold
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Metallic Gold
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - New Life
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Legacy
  • Americana Decou-Page (Glue-Sealer-Finish) 8oz - Americana Decou-Page Matte
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • Three Wood Frames
  • Heat Tool
  • Palette Knife
  • Mister Water Bottle
  • Texture Stamps
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Cosmetic Sponge
  • Baby Wipes
  • Exacto Knife
  • Grey Board
  • Archival Ink- Brown
  • Book Pages
  • Muslin Fabric
  • Found Beach Objects
  • Rusty Wire

Instructions :

Lightly sand frame and apply two coats of gesso.

Apply crackle paste randomly using a spatula.

Allow the paste to dry naturally. When almost dry, heat areas with a heat gun to make small ‘bubbles’ in the paste.

Apply titan buff paint using a baby wipe and mist lightly with water. This allows the paint to seep into the crackle but not clog the cracks.

Make a wash using Green Gold and Phthalo Green Blue to add colour to the crackle paste.

Detail to show how a wash sinks into the crackle but doesn’t clog it.

Use more washes made from Phthalo Green Blue, Green Gold and Prussian Blue to add further colour to the frame.

Stamp and sponge Quinacridone Gold paint onto the frame to create ‘rusty’ details.

Dry brush areas of the frame with Metallic Gold. This enriches the colours and highlights the texture.

Use Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in toning shades to colour the bottom layers which will form the box frame.

Cut a piece of grey board or heavy card to fit the back of the box frame.

Stipple Gesso onto the grey board to cover and create a gently textured surface.

Sponge the edges of the grey board with Prussian Blue paint.

Stamp and age a piece of vintage book paper with quinacridone gold paint and a toning shade of Archival ink.

Use Decoupage glue to fix the book paper to the gesso coated surface of the grey board.

Fix the box frame layers together using Decoupage glue. Hold together temporarily with tape if necessary to ensure they stick perfectly.

Cut a piece of muslin to the size required. Distress the fabric using a sharp tool and pull out threads as required.

Colour the fabric using watered down Titanium White paint.

Use quinacridone gold paint to add ‘rust’ marks to the fabric. Tiny amounts of carbon black paint can be mixed in for a dirtier rust look (not shown).

Collect beach treasures to be displayed in the box frame – I just love those rusty pieces of metal which required no paint makeover and the shell which had picked up a rust stain somewhere on its’ travels! Look out for the tiny scraps of ‘sea’ glass with edges smoothed by the waves and glorious pieces of driftwood with amazing textures.

Bind some of the treasures together using rusty wire.

Use Decoupage glue to fix the treasures to the book paper in the base of the box frame.

Stamp some rust marks onto the frame sides using quinacridone gold paint.

Use drift wood beach treasure and rusty wire to create a hanger for the box frame.

Detail shot showing the texture of the frame and the drift wood.

Be sure to visit Julia's Stuff for more projects and to learn more about Julia Stratford-Wright.



Kathy Gledsdale

February 28, 2017

Love this Julia, great techniques!

Andy Skinner

March 2, 2017

Lovely project. I have various seaside treasures lurking just waiting for a project to use them on. Thanks.

Jane Cameron

March 3, 2017

Smiling thinking of you at the beach finding these treasures Julia. I have only been to the beach a few times in my life and never imagined making such an AMAZING bundle of unique relics for a project like this. It's PERFECT. Love your crackled frame and the colors.... SUPER INCREDIBLE CREATIVITY. Thanks so much for your inspiration. Xj.


March 3, 2017

I have accumulated several "treasures" from Salisbury Beach, Hampton Beach and the Marginal Way near Ogonquit on my many travels east. This is a perfect way to showcase them. Thank you! By the way, DecoArt products are the absolute BEST!

Terri De Shon

March 13, 2017

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