DIY Shell Monogram

Shell Monogram

My friend Jenny G. is an amazing graphic designer.  She made my masthead and kindly wouldn’t take any payment.   I happen to follow her on Pinterest and noticed she had an affinity for monograms and a love of the beach.  So I decided to make her a very cool monogram made of shells.  This year, my resolution is to use only things I have in the house or material that is upcycled.  This took a bit of figuring out how to attach the shells to the fabric, but once I did, it was easy going.

If you like my masthead, let me know and I will certainly pass along her information!

Time: 6-7 hours

Skill: Easy to Moderate
  • Frame (without glass)
    • Size: 15×13 on the outside perimeter. 9 1/2″ by 7 1/2″on the interier perimeter
    • I bought the above frame without glass or a back at a thriftstore for $5.99
  • Swatch of linen
    • I bought a linen tablecloth at thriftstore for $1.99
  • Transfer Paper (Transfers a jet ink image to fabric)
    • Purchased at Fabric Store $4.99  
  • Shells from a beach necklace
    • the shells should have TWO holes in the backing otherwise you aren’t able to “sew” through easily
  • Cardboard (if the frame has no back)
  • Embroidery Hoop *optional
  • Tape

Steps*These are the exact steps I took using the materials that I had as listed above. Please modify if needed!

1. The frame I purchased had no glass or back, so I improvised a backing using cardboard. I cut a piece of the cardboard to match the backing of the frame. Using the cardboard “backing” piece, I cut out a swatch of fabric that was large enough for me to fold down the edges securely in the back.
Created a cardboard backing

2. I tea dyed the fabric by soaking the fabric overnight in 8 bags of black tea. 24 hours later, I washed and dried the fabric in the washing machines/dryer then ironed the fabric.

3. On the computer, open up Paintbrush. Using the font LUKE, I selected the text tool and placed in the A. I could have measured but I eyeballed the appropriate size by holding up the frame next to the computer. It was approximately 375 pt font.

4. Place the transfer paper in your printer. Before printing, read the instructions of Transfer Paper. The directions on the package indicated to print the image in a mirror copy. I did NOT do that because I wanted the letter A to be on the back as a guide only. (If the image is on the back, it needs to be backwards so that you can trace it properly.) If you want this project to be cheaper/more evironmental, I would recommend tracing the letter on the back of your fabric. Iron the letter onto your fabric.

5. Next, get out the embroidery hoop and center the fabric. Be sure that the letter you choose is showing from the back of your hoop. (It’s not neccesary to use an embroidery hoop, but it makes this project much easier.)

Backwards letter

 6. Double thread your needle and knot it. From the back, pull your needle through the fabric. Holding the needle, drop a pearl through the needle, and then gently pull the needle up.
  The shells should have two holes  

7. To secure the shell, push the needle through the fabric in approximately the same place that you came up. The shell will center above this entry/exit. Continue “sewing” your shells to the fabric until you are finished.

8. Once you are finished, loosen the fabric from the embroidery hoop. Iron the fabric where the embroidery hoop has creased the fabric.

9. Center the fabric over the cardboard and secure the edges to the back using tape.

Taped linen to cardboard backing

10. Place the cardboard into the frame and secure. I placed a secondary piece of cardboard over the top to hide the mess, but this is not a necessary step.

Secondary cardboard

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