Are you looking for a way to preserve some memories of fun days at the dog beach with your favourite pup? We’ve got just the thing with our easy, DIY “Paws in the Sand Beach Memories Shadow Box.
You guys, this is TOTALLY not the project I had planned.
Not even close. It has sand and it’s in a shadow box, but that’s really all it has in common with the project I had in mind. UGH. Don’t you just hate it when things don’t go your way?! In my head, I was going to make a sand casting of Kol’s actual paw print in sand from our favourite dog friendly beach at the lake.
The only problem? That would have required a bit of co-operation from Kol. Cleary, I was delusional to think I would get that. I think you all know him well enough by now to know that was never going to happen. After several attempts to capture a clean pawprint in the sand where Kol flailed like I was trying to dip his paw in hot oil, instead of cold sand, I gave up. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
It’s cool though. I’m actually really happy with how this turned out. I think, maybe, it might be even better than what I originally had planned. The dried plants I included totally remind me of the lake and the whole thing feels way “beachier” than I thought it would.
Did you spend some time at the beach with your pup this summer?
Here’s what you need to make a Paws in the Sand Shadow Box of your own:
- 2 cups of sand from your fav. beach (if permitted) or the craft store
- Plaster of Paris Mix
- A few plants/flowers from your fav. spot, dried in the sun for several days
- Optional: shells from the beach or craft store
- Shadow box frame
- Plastic Wrap
- Hot Glue
- Paint stick, spatula or piece of stiff cardboard.
- Optional: Puggle with a bad attitude
Let’s do this!
Open your frame and pull out the inner frame. Set aside the outer frame, glass & backing. Line the inside of the frame with plastic wrap. (You want to create a “bowl” out of the plastic wrap inside the frame. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sit square in the corners, you’ll never notice later.
Pour your sand into the plastic wrap lined frame. Use your hands to press the sand so it is flat and compact. (If you have really loose, dry sand, you can moisten it with water to make it pack better.) Using the tip of a pen or pencil, press paw prints into the sand. I chose to make mine look like a dog walking across the beach, but you can use any pattern you like. If you have shells, sticks or other riff raff you want to embed in the plaster, press it into the sand now. I put a few shells along one edge of mine. (Don’t add your dried flowers or plants yet!)
Mix the plaster according to the package directions. I used about 2 cups of the dry mix. Pick out the black puggle hairs – or leave them in. No one will notice. Carefully pour your plaster over the sand, spreading it into an even layer. (I used an old wooden paint stick and it worked great.) Wait for the plaster to dry overnight. Watch in horror as your dog steps in the wet plaster. Curse him for not stepping in the sand when I was asking him to earlier, while frantically cleaning the plaster out of his fur and stressing over whether the sand casting was ruined.
Once dry, remove the plaster from the frame and set aside the loose sand. (You’ll need it later.) If you can see too much of the plaster through the sand, you can brush a thin layer of glue over the bare spots and sprinkle them with sand again. I kind of like the plaster showing and chose to leave it.
Plug in your glue gun. Place your sand plaque back into the frame and arrange your dried flowers and plants. Use hot glue to cement them in place at the base of each plant. While the glue is still hot, sprinkle it with sand or, if desired, cover the glue with sea shells.
Remove the glass from your larger, outer frame and if needed, wash it (I had finger prints everywhere at this stage.) Run a thin bead of hot glue along the inside of the frame where the glass sits. This will keep the sand from spilling out when you sit your frame up. Press the glass into the glue while it’s still hot. Let the glue set. Once the glue is dry, pour a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sand into the frame along the bottom edge, place the plaster sand plaque over it and add the frame backing, setting it in place with the metal pins or clasps. Flip over an runa bead of hot glue around the outside of the frame backing to keep sand from spilling out.
Set your frame right side up, shaking gently to arrange the sand as you like it.