(Not)Under the Sea

I’ve been crushing on all the sea urchins I’ve been seeing in home decor around the web.  I want one…or several.  Target has some (and they’re on sale this week) but I couldn’t bring myself to shell out $20 for them when Sebastian needs some new kicks.  So goes my checkbook.

So, I rummaged around the house in search for urchin material, found it, and made one.  Behold:
Not bad for free, eh?

It turned out pretty great even though there are a few things I’ll do differently next time.  I’ll get to those things in a sec but first, here’s how I made this one.

I grabbed a pack of bamboo skewers I had leftover from the girl’s mirror project.  And then I searched for the easiest play dough recipe I could find via the web that needed ingredients I already had on hand (I forgot to keep note of which recipe I actually used in the end, sorry!  But, the ingredients were flour, salt, water, and cream of tartar I think.  I didn’t have any food coloring to make things more fun so I tried some lemonade mix we had and it didn’t do a dang thing.)

First, I cut the skewers down with the blades on a needle-toe pliers so that they were each about four inches long.   IMG_8709
Then, while the kids were making faux breakfast/lunch/dinner with (and eating…*cough*Sebastian*cough*) the play dough, I stole one small dollop and formed it into a half-circle.  The diameter of the bottom was about an inch and a half.  I didn’t want a huge urchin since the space it was going to rest wasn’t the largest but I wanted it to be big enough to not be missed.

Then I simply stuck in skewer pieces until I felt it was dense enough. 
And then one of the girls started screaming at the other who then needed to go potty and Sebastian went for another mouthful so I quickly turned to them and knocked my new urchin right off the counter onto the hard tile below.  I don’t know what looked worse, my face or the urchin.  Either way, I had to start over but I waited until after bedtime because fool me once…  ;)

Round two went much better.  I actually assembled the urchin on a small piece of wax paper this time though so that it wouldn’t stick to the surface it was on; I noticed the first one was a tad.  A few days later, after I had given the play dough time to dry, I took the whole thing outside and gave it a nice coat of gold spray paint (Rustoleum – my fave!)

When that dried, I very carefully lifted my sea friend off her wax paper setting and into the hutch in the living room, where she serves as both decor and museum material behind that glass…”See the sea urchin kids? They live in the ocean, move really slowly, and feed on algae.”  (Thank you wikipedia!)  Form and function; function and form.


And speaking of the hutch, I completely redecorated the shelves on it a few weeks ago.  I’m still tweaking a few things so I’m not going to show the full monty yet, but here’s a sneak peek:
It’s been really fun tinkering with shelf decor in there, having anything I want at my design disposal because the kids can’t touch it hence it doesn’t matter if it’s breakable.  I used a bunch of things I already had plus some thrifted books…in case you were wondering where most of these went.  :)

As far as what I’ll do differently the next time I make a sea urchin (our master bath is calling for some), the bamboo sticks were great because I already had them, but next time I’ll grab something with a small base that will make smaller, therefore less noticeable holes in the dough.  Maybe some pointed toothpicks?  Also, the play dough seemed to shrink just a little when it dried, also making the holes larger and more noticeable and I didn’t try it, but I bet if I pulled on a skewer piece, it’d come right out.  Actual clay might’ve worked better.  Or, you could make the urchin like I did above, take all the skewers out when the dough dried but before painting, pour some glue into each hole to fill them in, and reassemble.  That would solve the big hole problem and hold those skewers in forever.  You can be sure I’ll give you the deets on our next urchin but if you try one before me, let me know how it turns out!

Happy Thursday folks!

 diy sea urchin


  1. I loooooooove! I'm obsessed with the hutch too! Now come make my house look like yours please and thank you.

    1. Thanks!!!! Natalie, if you lived even remotely near me, I'd be over there in a heartbeat! We would have so much fun! :)

  2. Love it! I've seen those sea urchins before and didn't want to spend the money—but never thought of making one. Genius!

  3. so cute! instead of the playdoh, you could try those foam plant blocks, shaved down to a little half circle. they are pretty cheap and I'm sure with a Michael's or Jo Ann's sale and/or coupon, you could get them for a steal. plus I'm sure someone who's crafty & creative like you could find many uses for the extra you'd get in a pack :)

    I LOVE your hutch. I have no pretty things on display in my house (sniff). Some day when the kids are grown... :)

    1. Oh! Great idea! I wonder how they'd handle spray paint. I'll have to find out! Thanks for the idea!