A DIY Beach Cottage Christmas Wreath for a Dollar

Sun 29th, Nov, 2009

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 I have to say I never thought, five years ago, in the midst of a cold run-up to the festive season in the Old Country that I’d be sitting in shorts and singlet revelling in making a Christmas wreath from a bunch of shells.  Furthermore I certainly didn’t think that said wreath would be thrifted.  Or that I would be taking photos of it.

That is not to say I have anything in the slightest against thrifting or decs beach style.   Far from that, I love Christmas here…it seems a mix of all the things I love, customs from home like the turkey on the day, but now with a layered salad, and new traditions like Carols in the Park, Santa turning up, fully suited, down the beach and Christmas Camping.

Every year at this time, weighed down by a truck load of my secret indulgence, I have to be careful not to get overwhelmed by my own expectations that all will be perfect – that the tree will look like it stepped out of Country Living, like my turkey was bronzed by Jamie and my gifts were wrapped by the goddess Martha herself.

I have to protect myself from those beautifully accessorised magazine articles of lovingly prepared items and shelve all ideas of ‘Christmas Crafting’ and sewing gifts.

I don’t though yet seem to be able to protect myself from breathtakingly decorated stores.  Yep I do know no-one lives in these stores (tho certainly I have thought of asking how much for a night in the beachy shop bed) and that it is quite impossible to have every single gift in a square shape so that your parcels match all nicely under the tree, thank-you-very-much.

Which leads me to a shopping trip last weekend with Miss BC and one $200-ish shell wreath.  I spied it right away, flipped the price tag and moved on to baubles…but that wreath was on my mind people…whether that is entirely a good thing or not is another matter…when forcing 7 yr olds to ONLY FIND WHITE SHELLS, while beachcombing some might think it not ;-)

And so I give you, with nothing but a thrifted one dollar cane wreath, a handful of gathered shells and a can of spray paint, this now, hastily hung on the oars to see how it’ll look…contribution to DIY Divaness, …embodiment of make-do-and-mend.

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There is something therapeutically mind-numbing about spraying things white and fiddling around with shells.  Throw in a hot glue gun and a wreath and it’s almost too much to bear.

And I again find myself a dangerous lady with a can of white spray paint, anticipating what next might look better devoid of colour…perhaps I could wipe out the underlying hysteria felt by most women around early December with one big woosh of white paint?


I used to be very old-school about Christmas, sometimes not let anything but gold pass the threshold, before that very much green and red.


I am more than pleased with how this turned out, and less so because of the budget factor, but actually more just kinda quietly enjoying how much more doing this means than buying one from a shop ever could do.

I’d love to know what you think?  Just a tad too beachy I think it might be for some and if truth be told before I saw this in the flesh it would probably be for me..

Anyway I’m off to tie ribbon around spray-painted things.

See you next time


p.s. cushions (which incidentally we are fighting over every night they feel just so good) from the lovely Tricia at Coastal Cushions


don’t forget it’s Giveaway Time at A Beach Cottage this week

I’ll be posting a great giveaway – stay tuned!

blogged for Met Monday, thanks Susan, Thrifty Thursday and Mosaic Monday

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77 Responses to “A DIY Beach Cottage Christmas Wreath for a Dollar”

  1. andrea frost says:

    dear sarah…

    LOVE that wreath…(although for some reason I hate calling it a wreath…a bit too funerial i think??)..

    Totally perfect for the AUSSIE CHRISTMAS….(may attempt one to send to my eldest son living on the Gold Coast??)…SOOO NOT TOO beachy at all…
    PERFECT…& especially for a 22 yo’s modern town house!!??

    OOHH!! you have gotten me excited…that CAN be one of his early xmas pressies!!??

    loved the previous post re your pressies…& the wrapping..

    hope you found some lovely vintage GARAGE sale finds this weekend?? although one cannot be lucky ALL of the time..

    xx andrea

  2. Isee says:

    Sarah: I love what you’ve done with the wreath.I looks great hanging from the oar. I’ve also been thinking of doing something similar, perhaps adding a few small pieces of driftwood and/or a starfish. It’s much more fun to be clever and have a sense of achievement I think – my days of wanting perfection are long gone.

  3. Isee says:

    Did you buy these $1 wreaths at a store or a garage sale?

  4. robyn says:

    perhaps I could wipe out the underlying hysteria felt by most women around early December with one big woosh of white paint? IF I had been drinking tea I’m sure I would have choked! I think that is a wonderful and delightful idea! Lovely wreath!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I think it’s fantastic, it is understated and perfect for a beach cottage Christmas. You did a great job.

  6. Tricia Rose says:

    I shall certainly try the woosh of white paint, since the ‘Christmas feeling’ I usually get is lemme-out-of-here! Making nice things with little children is way more fun than greed and tinsel. Need to borrow some kids…

  7. Irene says:

    Funny about making do… Three weeks ago I bought some lovely proteas (I think) from a local school fete. They lasted about 10 days then began to dry out. I had then in their vase outside ready to chuck on the compost (yukky water) when it came to me.. they still look good enough to make into a bunch to hang upside down on my front door as my Christmas ‘wreath’. So there they are in all their red and gold beauty, still looking lovely on my door. I think that will be my next blog too…reused and recycled for Christmas!
    As my best friend says…if its free, its for me!
    lol!…Irene x

  8. Carla says:

    I spied one of those wreaths you have used in the local salvos about a week ago, not as cheap as yours…..these guys were asking $2!!! Hehe! Wish I’d bought it now, maybe I”ll pop in in the morning and see if it is still there.

    Either way thanks Sarah, this is definitely an idea I will be using in my house this Christmas.

  9. Well now, it’s perfection, Sarah!! You’ve given me an idea for above the bed, at the lake!

  10. desiree says:

    I must say I never understood how people who emigrated to Australia or NZ could get the ‘good’ old Christmas feeling… but after this post I start to understand that there will be another sort of Christmas feeling…Turkey with a salad! sounds great and the wreath is just really beachy ;) I love it! you must be laughing your *@# off everytime you look at it and think about the 200 dollar one. Well done girl!

  11. Can white ever be a bad choice? Well not when it’s in your hands. Great combo – it’s so beachy & beautiful. I’ve been puttering around with decorations and will be posting my new displays in the upcoming days. Don’t ya just love Christmas? It’s like decorating gets re-energized!

  12. Kimberly Knoess says:

    Simply elegant! I love the oar too! I love the cushions! Guess I love it all. I appreciated what you said about protecting yourself from the perfection in magazine photos!

  13. Ruby says:

    i think the wreath is beautiful & simple enough to leave up all year around. nice job! ruby

  14. Great job Sarah. We both understand the power of white paint (in my case white, cream, french blue, pale green). I always say if you don’t like it, paint it. Great wreath, BTW asking for just the white shells is just fine.

  15. Pomona says:

    It looks perfect in your house – especially in that wonderful light. Here on a damp grey November day (just like you remember, dark at 4pm) I have been blogging about red – I need the warmth and brightness to counteract the leaden skies and dreary grey light!

    Pomona x

  16. Looks like white perfection to me. (You should join our white Wednesdays…lots of fun). One reason I have always wanted a beach cottage was to decorate it for Christmas. I had visions of glittered starfish long before it became the thing to do. It’s funny though….I live on a lake but I have no desire to decorate my tree with ducks. LOL….

  17. Scribbler says:

    You nailed it for us all with the “underlying hysteria” line!

    I have had a white styrofoam cone for years that I had planned to turn into a Martha-perfect topiary of some sort some fine day — then saw some beachy ones covered in shells on ‘Needless Markup’ web catalog — lotsa cash required — I am gluing seashells on the old cone sometime this week — I think I’ll like it.


  18. bec says:

    Looks lovely Sarah

  19. mary says:

    Oh, it’s beautiful! I always love visiting here, with your so very serene look! thanks for sharing your talents and your lovely images at MM. :)

  20. Atticmag says:

    Perfect to leave up year-round. Clever idea to hang from the oar.

  21. Kammy says:

    Great job and great tutorial ! I just can’t find any shells in these mountains, LOL !

  22. Eileen says:

    Beautiful shell wreath. It is perfect for your beach cottage.

  23. Dee Dee says:

    How pretty!
    Dee Dee

  24. Sue says:

    It is simple and understated…perfect for an ‘aussie’ christmas.We dont need bling, and over-the-top decorations to bring in the festive season!
    Im telling myself daily, So I dont have to do it this year, but my kids have something to say about it!They want it all!
    At least with your wreath, it can be an all-year-round dec!

  25. I love it. Looks like something in Coastal Life magazine! ~Jeanne

  26. Struggler says:

    I absolutely love it – it looks perfect in your home. I also get the feeling, you could make and sell these for serious profit, if you were so inclined.

  27. Carol says:

    Looks very pretty! Love it!

  28. m says:

    Lucky you to be able to find such gorgeous shells! AND to have a helper!!!! I have to but mine from Florida! I am up to my ears in shell wreaths too, but you know me…they are all getting a healthy dusting of glitter! ;}

    m ^..^

  29. I love your all white room and the wreath looks perfect there. Right out of an Anthropologie catalog. Much better than anything sparkly gold!

  30. Kristin says:

    I will totally be spraying my wreaths this Christmas–I have thought of white, silver and maybe even bright pink!! ;)

    This wreath looks precious!!!

    Hugs to you!

  31. I love it! I have already thought about spraying down all of my wreaths for Christmas–maybe white, silver, or even hot pink!! ;)

    Your wreath looks so precious!!


  32. Terry says:

    I think you can leave this one up long after Christmas.

  33. bj says:

    I think this is just perfect for the Beach Cottage..it looks right at home and is just beautiful.
    I, too, sighed and whined and almost threw a hissy fit for a Pottery Barn wreath..(Pottery Barn is my hero)…it cost waaaay too much money so, I did just what YOU did…just made my own. Post of it is coming up soon…
    xo bj

  34. Leanne says:

    Such a pretty wreath and you can leave it up after Christmas. It’s beautiful.

  35. Alison Gibbs says:

    Fabulous look for the Beach Cottage, I am definitely having a simpler christmas this year both with decorations and gifts. I am going for moa simpler look with lots of whites and creams – hopefully mostly made by me.

  36. JSELEP says:

    Beautiful project

  37. Tammy says:

    I love this idea! I just redid my bathroom with a hint of beach decor and this would be perfect for the holidays! thanks for the inspiration!

  38. Very nice. I really love the white oar that it’s hung from, too.

  39. I love it. We have a lot of white shells here on the Gulf in Florida.

    I may have to make a trip to the beach and see what we find.


  40. Krisu says:

    Simple, white and beautiful.

  41. Janelle says:

    Love the simplicity of the shells and what a great idea for a beach cottage Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful one Sarah. xox

  42. I have a small white tree that I decorated (in the next post)for my little girl.

    I did a tree for each of the kiddos in a theme–unique to them. You would love one–its an Australian tree.

    I would love to do a white tree–so many options. You could do silver ornaments or wood and wicker. It would look neat having natural twigs sticking back out of it from the top. I even think (not necessarily for the beach cottage) but a white tree with all red ornaments. you could go vintage with rustic handmade–icecylces. I made a few,

  43. Sarah S-B says:

    Oh it’s just amazing!!! :)

  44. Pearl Maple says:

    Your wreath is a cutie, having grown up on Cape Cod we would often do this sort of natural beachy theme for Christmas, you are making me homesick.

  45. Sarah. I am so excited that you have decided to join us! I have added your blog to the list for Vintage Christmas Monday. It is an every Monday blog party so I didn’t specifically add this post. If you would mention the the party in your post I would appreciate it so your readers can find the other participants..

    If you don’t want to continue after today with Vintage Christmas just let me know and I can take you off the list….but you will still be on my blog because you are already on my link list because you are one of my favorites

    Shells are certainly vintage!

  46. Lorraine says:

    Sounds like we share similar thoughts about Christmas. Lowering the childrens expectations about presents is one!

    I like the wreath very much and it is perfect for your cottage.

  47. Debbie Price says:

    TOO Beachy? Is there such a thing? It is wonderful!! It is simple, which is what the season is suppose to be…not flashy and over-bearing and, dare I say, gaudy?! I think it is much prettier than anything you could ever buy! Happy start on the holidays!
    Hugs across the pond…..
    Deb P

  48. Sheila says:

    Sarah, I think the wreath is perfect in its simplicity. I personally LOVE that look, and I think you did a marvelous job with it. AND some of the prettiest Christmas rooms I’ve ever seen have been all white. Angels robes are white. The Lord’s robes are white (or so He’s always pictured), clouds are white, the sheep who visited his manger were white, everything ethereal is white. Paperwhites are white (love them SO much at Christmas). My favorite china is always white. You did good! :-)

    Now, as to those cushions… love them! I particularly like the very, very subtle use of color on them that just makes you wonder if you really see it. They are FAB! The wreath is FAB. You, my dear, are FAB!


    Sheila :-)

  49. Nancy says:

    I love it. I love the thriftiness of it, the simplicity and I love it hung from the oar. Very neat!


  50. Di says:

    So lovely and simple. Sometimes a room call for simplicity, doesn’t it.

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    Just Vignettes

  51. It’s so pretty and simple. The shell theme looks so perfect in your home and it’s such a wonderful way to use shells collected on vacations. A great way to preserve and display memories.

  52. jane says:

    WOWSERS!! perfection. i save your blog for my last read each day. it is a treat i savor. but each time i visit you i am aware that i’m asking this question over and over: did you have no stuff when you moved “into” beachcottage? i ask, because i have all this stuff, and to have a monochromatic treatment in my house seems impossible to start. was your a gradual transition? (i latched on to the gold, and red/green refs thinking it meant you used to do other colors) my bedroom is done in your style, even before i found your blog, but the rest of the house is years of accumulation from family or purchases that WEIGH ME DOWN. how did you get to your starting point?? any tips would be greatly appreciated. jkj

  53. The Stylish House says:

    I love your wreath creation! It’s relaxed elegance, and looks perfect in your Beach Cottage. Happy Met Monday.

  54. Carol says:

    I love the simplicity of the wreath. Thanks for sharing your great idea!

  55. Cindy S says:

    I love your wreath, it looks perfect right where you have it, too. Hugs, Cindy S.

  56. aubrey says:

    I very much love your shell wreath…especially that you hung it from the wooden oar…how very beachy;) Need me some oars!!! I also agree that while I have tried, it is definitely impossible to have matching square boxes perfectly decorated under the tree. I gave up and try to at least have colors that flow pretty together under my tree=)

    Happy Monday~Aubrey

  57. rose says:

    Perfectly Christmas! Some people think the only Christmas is the kind on a Currier & Ives card, but the majority of the world doesn’t live in New England – lol! I believe in having an authentic Christmas, wherever you live. It would be silly to have a snowman wreath at the beach, wouldn’t it? I live at the beach, too, and love using seashells among the shiny ornaments. Would love to do a starfish-and-shells wreath!

  58. cindy says:

    Love the simplicity of this Sarah….and it fits perfectly in your cottage. Beautiful, as usual :)

    Thanks for linking up!

  59. Lara Harris says:

    I always love stopping by your blog, it has such an ethereal feel to it…so peaceful. :)

  60. Sandy Toe says:

    That is amazing…looks perfectly wonderful!

    sandy toe

  61. Jen R says:

    Very cute wreath!I love easy decorations like that!! Jen

  62. I love it! I think it looks great hanging there!

  63. Lovely! And you can use it all year round.

  64. Sarah says:

    You are the thrifty one! The wreath looks great hanging above your sofa. I love the clean white look of your space. This is so very refreshing!
    I enjoy reading your blog. You make me smile! ~ sarah

  65. Sarah hello! What a lovely blog you have. I love to meet other Sarah’s! Thanks so much for your comment over at my place.

    I hear it has been hot in your faraway land, my brother, SIL and babies are in Melbourne and my Dad has a place in Queensland so I love to read Australian blogs. Thanks for getting me over here.

    Brilliant shell wreath by the way!

    Sarah x

  66. Sarah,
    This seashell wreath is perfect for your sweet cottage! The oar is the cherry on top!

  67. Vanessa says:

    Awww… I wish I had a life by the sea… so serene. Love the blog! I’m a follower now! Best, Vanessa

  68. This is way too gorgeous—I will have to do this some day!! We live about 20 minutes from the ocean!!

  69. brenda klomp says:

    lovely sarah, comfy too.

  70. Shelley says:

    “There is something therapeutically mind-numbing about spraying things white and fiddling around with shells. Throw in a hot glue gun and a wreath and it’s almost too much to bear.”
    I just love this comment! It is so awesome to log on and read the thoughts of someone, and just understand that there are other people who think just like me. Thanks for taking the precious time in your day to blog and share your beautiful house and ideas.

  71. LOve it! Perfect for thrifty thursday!

  72. PlantSomeRoots @ Lakewood says:

    Looks fantabulous and not a bad price, either!
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  73. Hi Sarah, I love your beach cottage all in white, just lovely!!!
    María Cecilia
    p.s. come say hi sometime

  74. Pretty and simple – perfect!

  75. Look at you…even your holiday decorations are thrifted and found! :-) I love it, and I have to say my favorite part is how you’ve hung it from the oar. Brilliant!

  76. Tara says:

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. I love the whitewashed look. You make beachy look so refreshing.

  77. Patti says:

    I am totally new to your blog and blogs in general. I am loving reading about your beach cottage. My husband and I have lived in a small town in the middle of the Mojave Desert in CA and after 30 years (!!) we have bought a house near a beach in CA. I am over the moon excited! The house needs help and we are in the process of having crown mouldings and trim put in..I am thinking of having our “family room” be paneled and painted white to allow our brown furniture to look nicer…we had “ship lap” (a type of paneling) installed on the LR ceiling and painted it glossy white..love it…just not sure about the rest of the house!!
    Thanks for the inspiration…