Sea Life Silhouettes


Crate and Barrel’s series of sea life silhouettes captured my imagination.

This project is actually one I completed more than a year ago, just before our April 2011 housewarming party. But, if you’re like me (and judging from the blogosphere lovefest, more than one of you are!) and love beach themed decor, there is really no wrong time for a sea-themed project. The inspiration came from Crate and Barrel’s Sea Life Silhouettes – a series of several simple coral outlines printed on white paper and showcased in clean, white frames. Since the original inspiration, the sea life silhouettes came down in price as they were eventually cleared out and they are no longer available. If you’d like to create your own version for a fraction of the original price, read on.


I scoured the web for some copyright free coral images to download. I cleaned up my vintage coral prints in Photoshop, painstakingly removing the digital clutter, eliminating the parchment paper, and isolating the silhouetted outline of the coral itself. Once this was done, I had two pieces of coral rendered in black that I then color-matched to my new bathroom wall color.


The key to creating a good knock-off of the Crate and Barrel inspiration was scale. Most of us own printers that can print on paper that measures 8.5×11″. How often do you see art from an upscale store that is no bigger than a letter-sized sheet of paper? Not often. That’s why I recommend going big if you’re going to knock off art pieces. I had this printed at 11×14 on matte card stock to replicate the effect. I only spent a few dollars per print, but have a custom piece of art that suits my home and my tastes. I could easily have gone larger – I only selected 11×14 so that two would fit above the towel bar.


Inexpensive white frames from Target complete the look. Total cost was $26 for two frames and $11 for prints bringing this project to a grand total of $37 for two sea life silhouettes. Considering that on clearance the Crate and Barrel inspiration pieces were $49 at the lowest that I saw – that rings up to a savings of $61!

Of course, a proliferation of beach decor images abounds. Just search “coral print” on Etsy if you don’t believe me. If you’d rather spend a little money and save a little time, you can easily buy prints or ready-to-print images that will give you this same beachy decor for less.

For me, reminders of the sand and sea are not only a summer phenomenon. I can’t get enough of the soothing blues, whites, and tans all year round. What beach-inspired projects have you tried?

Update 5/13/13: I have located the original images from this project. Download them here.



  1. If so, I too would love a copy. I am not familiar with how to use photoshop, and I love what you have created. Thank you

    • Thank you all for your interest. Unfortunately, I edited these files two years ago on a computer at my workplace and I’m not sure where they’ve gone in the various backup cycles since then. If I run across them I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, you can always check Etsy for some great options of similar graphics that you could download and print yourself.

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