I was in T. J. Maxx this weekend and spotted a lot of nautical themed stuff, including bags and bags of starfish! So I thought I’d share with you my giant starfish wreath, which is one of my more “crafty” projects this year. With the last bit of Winter finally clearing away, I know the beach has been on my mind for sure, and probably yours too!


If I can’t sink my toes into warm sand just yet, decorating with beautiful and beach themed things has got to be the next best thing!




How did I get so many starfish?


Well, once upon a time, I happened to peek into a ZGallerie Dumpster, you know, just for the heck of it. (I hope I don’t get in trouble for this. I don’t even drive the same car…and I’ve cut my hair; it was a lonnng time ago.) Anyway, there were a bunch of netted packages of starfish and I was able to reach about ten of them…so about 100 in all.


I knew they were mine.




These little guys have booked a significant amount of storage time since then, mildly stinking up garages and closets along the way (they needed to sit out in the sun for awhile), and popping up here and there for the occasional bathroom decorating project or nautical themed party.


starfish wreath


Aren’t they beautiful?




I sorted them by size and laid them out, overlapping them.




Using my round kitchen table as a guide was the simplest way to maintain a uniform shape while making the wreath. I used the larger starfish first and piled the smaller starfish in the middle of the table for the second round.




I just kept piling them on.




Then I poured a fresh cup of coffee and got out my hot glue gun. But just keep in mind that dripping coffee on a pristine white starfish, especially one that has been hot glued to dozens of other starfish, doesn’t “add character” in a good way…so you have to be a pro coffee drinker to pull this off.  Or an addict to need too…


So now I’ll share with you some more helpful tips which I may, or may not, have learned on the job (and which any other human might, or might not, already intuitively know).


The first one is: Starfish smell…even when it has been a very long time since they were in the ocean…a few hours in the sun helps with this…as long as there are not any nesting birds overhead 🙂




I glued wherever two starfish touched This meant a lot of gluing. It took awhile.


During this project, I learned that toddlers are clever enough to teeth on glue sticks, hide glue sticks, throw glue sticks off decks, sink them in pools, and roll them under refrigerators and other immovable household appliances…if their parents are not clever enough to anticipate this…




I think I got carried away because I ended up gluing several starfish to the table.




But with time and patience, they came free. And, being careful not to break the wreath, I lifted it from the table to check for any weak spots (there were plenty).


Just note that detaching starfish that have been hot glued to a kitchen table may break the starfish, de-whiten them (see “dripping coffee” above and insert “blood stained thumbprints”), scratch work surfaces, and become a reminder of your shortcomings while trying to use your hands later in the day. Just sayin’.




I gobbed the glue on the underside where you can’t see it and tried to use a Sharpie to mark places to glue but it kept dripping and I kept burning my hand and marking up my starfish.




So I turned the who wreath upside down.




This made the natural indentations in the starfish very handy for catching the hot glue. I was able to dribble some on, let it dry, and then dribble some more to create bridges between starfish that wanted to kiss, but just weren’t quite there yet. (We all need a little help sometimes.)


Using the hot glue gun on a lower setting helps the glue pearl up and connect the starfish without gluing everything down to the table. Live and learn.




This amount of gluing takes quite awhile, so when a friend happened to call…I happily jumped on speaker phone and glued away to my heart’s content. And my friend still thinks I’m the nicest, most-listening ear on the planet.


(Just don’t let the tip of the hot glue gun come in contact with your cell phone screen…I’m not sure how I know that.)




Like I said, my poor table was a little worse for the wear. And (see all the tiny starfish “crumbs?”) so were my floors. Keeping a vacuum handy when working with starfish is essential, if you want to keep your sanity.




And there were tons of hot glue strands that needed to be picked from the wreath. This is slightly therapeutic.




I was really happy with how big it is!  I’m all about the overstatement.




So pretty.


You can’t go wrong with all natural materials. At least I don’t think you can.


This was not a one cup of coffee project where my baby was asleep (nor even a one-potter); I worked on it over two days and we ate from the countertops, or outside. I really can’t remember since it’s been awhile and since I didn’t think it was perfect, so I didn’t post it. I just kept moving “Starfish” from one to-do list to another.




Anyway, I needed to hang the starfish wreath somehow. There was some leftover wedding ribbon from somebody’s wedding. And it was white so I went with it. It was perfect.




I just tied it off wherever two starfish met the best.




And there was a lot of glue…




No need to be pretty here, the ends won’t show.




I also have this salvaged window hanging on my dining room window.




I thought it looked a little lonely. So I made a modification that wouldn’t be noticeable later if I changed my mind.




Then I tied a loop in my wedding ribbon.




And stuck in on my drywall screw.




And then I tucked in the ends. Because I’m a professional.




And here’s my starfish wreath on the wall!

starfish wreath


I hate being in pictures when I look frumpy so there’s plenty of weird angles to enjoy 🙂 Just not the one you’re looking for…

starfish wreath


And another.

starfish wreath


I like the crisp white against the brown. But I really want to paint this room because I think it’s a little overwhelming.



And then I decided to move it into our fireplace room. I think it looks better here.



Surprisingly, it didn’t fall apart. It actually feels sturdy…there’s just that much glue.
And I love how it looks against the green.


Starfish wreath


Do you love it? Should it stay in my fireplace room? And would you try this project if you happened upon 100 starfish in a Dumpster?


I hope you’ll share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.