Whoo-hoo! It’s time again for another monthly Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge. I’ve paired up with 19 other talented ladies to bring you a new home decor piece from an item(s) we’ve found at a thrift store, yard sale, resale shop etc. There is no budget or specific theme so we are free to let our creativity run wild! For this month’s Thrift Store Upcycle, I’ve created a DIY Aloha Seashell Pineapple Sign from an old cabinet door.
DIY Aloha Seashell Pineapple Sign
Since I grew up in Hawaii, most of my teen summer years were spent hanging out at the beach, checking out the cute surfers, and getting my fair share of the Hawaiian sun. So when summer hits, I always feel the need to decorate with all things inspired by the Hawaiian islands, like this DIY Aloha Seashell Pineapple Sign.
You may be wondering why I chose the word ‘aloha’ for my sign, so let me tell you! If you’ve been to Hawaii, I’m sure you’ve heard the word ‘aloha’ used as a general greeting or parting word, but it actually has a deeper meaning. To many on the islands, ‘aloha’ is a way of life and locals believe in living the ‘aloha way’ or with ‘aloha spirit’, which is to be kind and live in harmony with all – the land, yourself, others, and God. And since these are all things one wants to strive for, I thought it would be a great word to display in our home.
- cabinet door or piece of wood
- letter stencil or Silhouette Cameo machine with vinyl (I used clear contact paper)
- acrylic paint – Craft Smart Dark Green and FolkArt Patina 2951
- FolkArt Home Decor White Chalk Paint
- small angled brush (pineapple crown)
- large paint brush (white chalk paint)
- flat sponge brush (lettering)
- Hot Glue Gun & lots of glue sticks
- Black & Decker Sander with 150 grit sandpaper
- scallop shells
- damp cloth
- clear sealer
- sawtooth hangers that nail in or keyhole hangers(2x)
- paper towel or old newspapers
How to make a DIY Aloha Seashell Pineapple Sign
The base of my sign was created from an old cabinet door that I found at my local Habitat of Humanity Resale store. I just recently discovered it and I’m totally in love! I found a ton of building supplies, furniture, rugs, and more at heavily discounted prices. It was difficult to keep focused on the project at hand, but I managed to dig through a pile of cabinet doors until I found one that I liked for $4! The one I chose measure about 36″ x 10 3/4″, but you can choose whatever size you like.
I forgot to take pictures of the next few steps, sorry. I used a hand sander and lightly sand the entire front of the cabinet, wiped it down to remove any dust, and painted it with two coats of white chalk paint.
Next, I used my Silhouette Cameo* machine to create an ‘aloha’ word stencil template. I used the Kokila font and sized my letters to fit my cabinet door. Then, I dry fit the letters onto the cabinet front to make sure I liked the spacing.
*If you do not have a Silhouette Cameo machine, you can always use store bought letter stencils or do a charcoal letter rub to transfer your letter design.
When I got the spacing right, I used a pencil to lightly trace the inside of each letter. I used the tracing as a placement guide for sticking the clear contact paper onto the board. The letter ‘o’ will be the outline for the seashell pineapple, so I skipped sticking this letter stencil to the board.
Once all the letter stencils were applied, I used a damp cloth and gently wiped away any pencil marks on the inside of the stencil letters – it’s okay if you see some of the pencil lead under the template, this can be cleaned up later. You may be able to skip this step if you are using a dark paint color. You just don’t want any pencil marking on the inside of the letter area or it may show through the paint.
To paint the letters, use a flat sponge brush and dip it into the paint. Use a pouncing motion and remove some of the paint on a paper towel or newspaper. You do not want the sponge to have too much paint or it will seep under the stencil. Next, use the same pouncing motion and apply the paint to the stencil in a light coat. Let this dry and apply a second coat. When all the letters are dry, remove the stencils and wipe off any excess pencil lead markings with a damp cloth.
For my pineapple crown, I placed a shell at the top of the ‘o’ to help me visually mark the top of the pineapple. Then I lightly drew a simple pineapple crown above it and used a small angle brush to fill it in with paint. When the paint is dry, sand the entire piece to give it a weathered look or leave it be – it’s up to you.
This is where I forgot to add my sawtooth hangers to the back – don’t make my mistake. You’ll want to add your hanging device to the back BEFORE you add the shells to the front of the cabinet. It’s kind of difficult to hammer in a hanging device when you can’t hammer it into a flat stable surface…oops.
To create the seashell pineapple, take scallop shells and do a dry fit, using the ‘o’ tracing as your guide. Some shells fit better together, so don’t be afraid to switch shells out.
Here is how I made my pineapple. Note that there are slightly larger shells used in rows 4 & 5 –
- Row 1 – one shell
- Row 2 – two shells
- Row 3 – three shells
- Row 4 – four shells
- Row 5 & 6 – three shells
- Row 7 – two small shells
Now it’s time to glue the heck out of these shells. Starting with the top shell, be generous and add glue around the under edge of the shell before placing it on the board. Continue adding a generous amount of glue to the under edge of each shell and placing them down until you have a pineapple shape. Spray a clear acrylic coat over the entire piece and it’s ready to hang! And if you like this decorating with shells, head over to see my DIY Seashell Pineapple Jar too!