found on the beach – 49 lighters

found on the beach

I think this just may be my favorite found on the beach arrangement!

When I first started doing these arrangements five or six years ago I always made them in the sand. It was super important to me that I found a clear little section of sand with no other debris. I was really nitpicky about finding the *perfect* spot. A lot of the time I would even use a piece of drift wood as a rake to clear an area and smooth out the surface. After a while those felt kind of boring but it really took until last year for me to realize how much I enjoyed placing them on other natural surfaces. This arrangement on the rocks of the breakwall set the tone for my recent work. I just loved the way my colorful finds looked against the dark rocks, and the juxtaposition of something natural paired with the trash.

Since the weather has started to just barely warm up, they’ve been taking better care of the beach, or at least making it look like they are. They plow all the trash, driftwood, miscellaneous debris, and sand to one end and then scoop that all up into a dumpster. It doesn’t actually clean the beach because I’m willing to be at least a portion of that ends right back up in the lake since it isn’t being recycled.  Even freshly plowed, I still managed to find 49 lighters in one walking pass of the beach. Plus three more on my walk back to the car. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how many there are to find!!

lighters found along the shores of Lake Erie

bee boots by Joules

Let’s end this with a quick shot of what one little section of the lake looks like. Fun to pick through for me but honestly, so sad. Could you imagine being a fish in that? Earth Day was yesterday but this is something we need to be thinking about everyday if we ever want it to get better.


If you like my ‘found on the beach’ collections – prints, phone cases, and more can be found here. Handmade zipper pouches + postcards can be found here.


Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • As much as I enjoy the found on the beach photos I am shocked by how much trash you find. Is this common on Lake Eerie beaches? Is it particular to your area due to the way the lake water moves? I just don’t see this on Lake Michigan beaches and now I’m wondering why. What is the difference?

    • It’s definitely not all beaches along Lake Erie. We have lots of beautiful, clean beaches here!

      I’d assume it has something to do with the way the water moves. This beach isn’t particularly large but there are certain sections of it that get hit with trash harder so that to me says it has to do with the current. Might just be closer to where everything washes into the lake at as well.

  • There are so many lighters out there! You may find this interesting- my friend April did this insane installation of found lighters in Hawaii- SO MANY.. thousands! Collected from 5 small remote islands that only animals and a couple of researchers inhabit over 1 summer:
    I enjoy these posts as an avid beachcomber. Interesting to see the same things in a lake as in the ocean in Hawaii

  • I always wondered how you could find so much stuff on your beach but after seeing that “messy” picture at the end I can believe it! But I love what you do with it. It calls attention to the trash problem while making it something beautiful. I’d love to find something like this.

    • Yeah, that was quite a shock to find! I’ve never really seen the water look the bad. Whats really strange is that it was only like that there. The rest of the water looked fairly normal but that one little corner was just a wreck!