Coastal-Themed Christmas Tree Decorations Coastal-Themed Christmas Tree Decorations

What You'll Need
Assortment of coastal ephemera, such as shells, sand dollars, starfish, beach glass and small pieces of drift wood
Assortment of accent materials, such as beads, paint and glitter
Decorative cord or ribbon, or thin-gauge wire, for hanging ornaments
Hot glue gun
Garland material, such as wide, sheer ribbon or long lengths of artificial pearls

Using coastal-themed Christmas tree decorations is a way to celebrate your love of the sea at holiday time. Even if you only dream of living in a coastal region, you can bring a bit of salt air flair to your tree. You may already have a collection of beach finds that you want to use. If not, most craft and hobby stores will have everything you need.

Step 1--Create Simple Ornaments

Use the hot glue gun to attach hanging loops to plain shells for the simplest ornaments. Clam shells, sand dollars, starfish and whelks work especially well. Red ribbons add a festive touch to plain white shells. You could also use light blue-green, in keeping with the coastal water theme. Create wire hangers for pieces of sea glass by wrapping the wire around the glass and leaving a long tail, which you can bend into a hook or loop.

Step 2--Add Glitz with Paint and Glitter

Paint shells with enamels or acrylics. Enamels have a built-in shine. Use acrylics and you might want to add a spray coat of sealer to get the same effect. Try metallic or pearlescent paints, which will be luminous when you add strings of lights to your tree.

Step 3--Add Embellishments

Use the hot glue gun to add embellishments before attaching hanging loops. You could wrap a length of tiny "pearls" around the edge of a sand dollar, starfish or clam shell. You could also wrap a length around a whelk, following its spiral shape. Glue a large "pearl" inside an abalone shell to resemble an oyster.

Step 4--Drape Garland on the Tree

Put lights on the tree first, if you wish. Then arrange your garland. Wide, sheer ribbon, in white or pale blue, will mimic the movement of the sea. Using wired ribbon will give you more control over the swag and drape. You can also use long lengths of artificial pearls instead of, or in addition to, the ribbon garland.

Step 5--Hang the Ornaments

Hang the ornaments after you are satisfied with the lights and garland. Once the ornaments are on the tree, it is harder to make these adjustments.

Step 6--Customize the Look to Your Coastal Region

Shop local stores to find small toys and other objects particular to your area. You can start by adding ribbon or wire hanging loops to the back of postcards showing local attractions. If you're in Maine, try looking for pencil toppers, erasers, key chains or items of a similar size that are shaped like lobsters. In Florida, be on the look out for toy flamingoes. On the California coast, you might want to use surfboards. Use red ribbon to tie wrapped pieces of salt water taffy to branches on your tree. Once you start decorating your tree coastal style, you'll surely find endless ideas in your locale to inspire you!


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