Preserving Beach Memories – A Simple DIY Project

Preserving beach memories

Now that the summer is coming to an end… I figured I should probably finish up a project I’ve been sitting on for about a month. You see, I’m a collector of memories so-to-speak. Photographs are nice (and believe me I take plenty of them) but I need something real, a physical something I can touch. When we travel, souvenirs are a must… but not all souvenirs cost money…

My idea came to me while we were in Florida and I saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I filled an empty water bottle full of sand and shells and brought it home with me. Now this is nothing new, I’ve seen a thousand different sand projects plastered all over the internet but which one was right for me? Put it in a frame with a photo? Mix all the sands of all the beaches in one large container? No I want to be able to touch the sand… to remember that moment in time. Was it soft? Textured? Rocky? That’s when I decided that each sand would get it’s own unique container.

floridaflorida 1








Miami Florida – with it’s coarse texture and its seashell and coral coastline. A romantic getaway with the GF that I will never forget!


ludingtonludington 1








Ludington Michigan – the softest sand and clearest water I have ever seen. Our first real “family” vacation.


mackinawmackinaw 1







Mackinaw City Michigan – full of rocks and sticks. Another romantic getaway to see Northern Michigan in the fall.


sandmackinaw beach 1








And finally: A return to Mackinaw City – this time with much softer sand, some shells, and drift wood. Northern Michigan in the summer with the GF and my boys.


sand materials

So I promised you a DIY. As simple as it seems there is a small bit of skill involved to get everything just right.

What You Will Need:

-A memory (sand, shells, rocks, etc) – a good sampling of the beach itself. I try to keep it somewhat true to life as if I scooped the scene right off the beach.

-A container (glass, vase, jar, etc) – I wanted each to be unique instead of having them all match. I try to find a style that represents the mood of the vacation …to me at least.

-Stick on letters – I use scrapbooking letters and pick a font and color to also best suit the mood

-Tweezers and a rubber band (optional)

Tips and Tricks:

Obviously assembly is a snap: dump in the sand, stick on the letters… done. But I find it’s best to let the sand dry out for a while before pouring it in. It’s less likely to stick to the sides of the glass that way and it’s easier to work with.

lettering 1lettering 2





When applying the letters use the very edge of the tweezers so the sticker comes off easier and doesn’t accidentally tear. In this instance I used the sand as a straight-ish line but you could also use a rubber band around the glass to keep your lines from becoming uneven. Just be careful not to rip the stickers off when removing the rubber band in the end.

mackinaw beach

Gently shake the sand to expose some of the shells. I find it looks more natural than just plopping them on top. And bam, done! You now have a memory you can reach out and touch any time you please.