Thursday, 27 January 2022

'Sailors Valentine' and 'The Octopuss Garden' by Kat Hazelton

Throughout the centuries shells have always fascinated people. They have been used as symbols in art and religion, been made into jewellery, used to adorn tribal costumes, and have been collected by wealthy travellers to put in curio cabinets. During the Victorian period shell craft or shell art became popular with all classes of people, including Queen Victoria. Stately homes often had shell decorated furniture and Grottoes, which where highly decorated with exotic shells and pebbles worked into patterns and pictures. Some society ladies took up shellcrafting as a hobby often buying kits to make exquisite shell dolls and dolls house furniture. Those from a more working class background found there was money to be made by making and selling shell craft souvenirs to tourists. Sailors would often buy 'Sailors Valentine's' to give to their love ones. These wooden boxes or framed pictures, sometimes octagonal in shape, were highly decorated in shells, starfish, seahorses, corals and pearls. Depending on who the gift was for some would come with names, hearts, shell flowers or sea themed scenes including carved mermaids. 

Inspired by Victorian Shellcraft here are two fun shell projects to try. 

First project is a 'Sailors Valentine'. This ornamental seafaring keepsafe has two scenes. On the left a giant sea monster is attacking and pulling down a ship to it's watery doom! The other side a more gentle scene of a beautiful mermaid who in my heart rescued the human crew and maybe fell in love with the Captain! I am a romantic! 

The second project 'The Octopuss Garden' is a lavishly adorned bauble of seacreatures and shells enjoying their underwater home. 

You will need.

Beads and glitter in sea colours.
Clear cabochons for bubbles.
Metallic paints. 

Textured paste. 

Liquid pearlised drops, used in card crafting, or gems stones. 

Watercolour or acrylic paints.
Paint brushes. 
Water colour paper and sheet of glitter foam. 
Reindeer moss and natural string. 
Tacky glue.

For 'The Octopuss Garden' you will need these additional mdf shapes.


I started off by doing two simple paintings. One of ocean waves and one of an underwater scene with seaweed. To add some bubbles to the underwater scene I dabbed the tube of white paint directly onto my paper. These paintings will be used as backgrounds to both projects. I did my paintings on two A4 sized pieces of water colour card which was more than enough for these two projects. If you prefer you can do your painting on smaller sized card such as A5 or A6.  Personally I like to do a bigger painting so I can keep the left overs for other projects and card making. 

I then painted and decorated all my mdf shapes using metallic paints, glitter and liquid pearl drops. 

I also painted my ATCs, frames and baubles with metallic paints. I also added some texture paste to outer side of the ATCs to add some rocky details. I then cut out and glued on my painted sea backgrounds and frames. 

To glue the two ATC scenes together I created a hinge using a strip of blue glitter foam. I glued the hinge to both ATC's directly onto the paintings, making sure the hinge was narrow enough to be unseen once the frames where glued on top. 
I then arranged and glued on my shapes to create the two sea themed scenes. 

Next I glued on creatures, shells and clear 'bubble' cabochons to my bauble to create my Octopus's Garden. 

To hang my pendant I added a length of natural gardening string. 

To add final finishing touches to my 'Sailors Valentine' I added reindeer moss, some more beads, glitter and clear 'bubbles'. Notice I deliberately turned my ATC ship upside down so that the seacreature looked like it was dragging it down to it's doom! The seacreature is in fact Calico Craft Parts furbellow weed!  

'Sailors Valentine' and 'The Octopuss Garden' by Kat Hazelton 2021 

I hope you enjoy another 'Kat make'. 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I will be happy to help if I can. I shall be back again soon with another make.

Until then 'enjoy crafting' . 

Kat 😊


  1. Another amazing blog posting. You describe the make process in such detail. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I am glad you are enjoying my postings.

  2. A very creative idea, gorgeous. Love your explanations and story behind your project!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Glad you enjoyed my blog posting 😊