Seashell Craft Ideas

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Almost everyone loves to walk along the edge of the sea on a hot summer day and look for delicate seashells. But what to do with them all once you get home? Try some of these simple seashell craft ideas to give those shells you collected a second life.

seashell craft ideas

Seashell Craft Ideas for the Wall

Shell picture frame or mirror: Cover the frame of a mirror or a picture frame by gluing down a beautiful pattern of seashells.
Name wall hanging: Purchase large wooden or foam craft letters to spell your child's name or any word or message you'd like. Either cover the letters completely with shells, or paint the letters and glue shells on sparsely as decorative accents.
Shell shadow box: Arrange and display your favorite shells in a wooden shadow box, available at almost any craft store.
Garlands and wreaths: Drill a small hole in each shell and string on thin twine or ribbon to create a garland of shells. To create a shell wreath, glue shells, beach glass and dried flowers to a craft wreath form.
Seashell mobile: Start with a dramatic, long piece of driftwood and drill five or six holes in it. Pull a piece of twine, about 25 inches long through each hole. Choose four to six shells for each length of twine. If the shells already have natural holes, great. If not, drill a tiny hole in each shell. Tie a few shells to each strand of twine at staggered intervals and then mount the driftwood on your wall.

 seashell craft ideas seashell craft ideas


Lighted Seashell Craft Ideas

Something about soft light enhances the magic already present in beautiful seashells. Here are a few ways to bring that extra magic to your seashell crafts:

Shell candles: In a double boiler, melt some of your old candle stubs or some paraffin. Carefully pour melted wax into clean, dry seashells. Position a wick in the center of each and wait 30 minutes for the wax to cool and harden.
Shell votive candleholder: Start with a glass votive candleholder. Using a hot glue gun, beginning at the rim, carefully glue down macramé cord as you wind it around the votive, one row at a time until you work your way to the bottom. When the macramé votive holder is dry, glue on a few decorative shells, and finish the project by tying a raffia or pale ribbon bow around the rim.
Seashell string lights: Here's a way to give your old Christmas lights a fresh glow! Tape a section of Christmas lights down on a protected work surface. Apply a bit of glue to the base of a scallop or clamshell and attach it to the base of a light, taking care to see that glue doesn't touch the bulb itself. Repeat for each light until a shell covers each bulb, and allow your seashell lights to dry for about a day before using. Seashell lights look great with either natural or painted shells.
Shell lamp base: Revive a boring old table lamp by gluing seashells all around the base. For some added flair, glue a few accent shells onto the lampshade as well.

Seashell Centerpieces & Display Crafts

Using seashells to make centerpieces is easy! Try one of these quick projects and you'll have a striking new decoration in under an hour:

  • Beach memory jar: Fill a glass jar with an attractive arrangement of seashells, sand, beach glass and other small beach memorabilia you find meaningful.
  • Beach treasure box: Buy a wooden treasure chest from any craft store and decorate by painting, glittering and gluing on seashells.
  • Seashell vase: Fill a tall glass vase with seashells, water and fresh flowers.

Useful Seashell Crafts

Your seashells will be as useful as they are beautiful with these fun craft ideas:

  • Use a large plain or painted clamshell as a bathroom soap dish.
  • Glue seashells to your drawer and cabinet pulls for a beach-themed kitchen or bathroom.
  • Paint any large shell and use it as a paperweight.
  • Drill a hole in your favorite shell and string it on a leather cord to create a striking necklace. Or string a group of shells on elastic string for a bracelet.
  • Glue a few shells together in the shape of an animal and add some craft googly eyes. Then glue your seashell animals to craft magnets and hang on your refrigerator.
  • Perk up a plain coaster by gluing a ring of seashells around the perimeter.

If you've been feeling stressed, you might enjoy designing a Zen shell garden to calm your spirit. Fill a shallow wooden box with fine, clean sand. Add some interesting stones and seashells that make you smile. Then any time you like, arrange and rearrange your Zen garden and rake new patterns in the sand. If you can't find a little Zen rake, don't worry; just use a fork!

Tips for Working with Seashells

To get the most from your shell crafts:

  • Sanitize and bring out the beauty of your shells by soaking them in a solution of half bleach and half water for two to three hours. If any dirt remains, scrub it out with an old toothbrush.
  • Before gluing shells down for craft projects, experiment with various arrangements. When you find the one you like best, photograph it. Then when you start to work with glue, you can refer to your photo for a perfect design.
  • Mixing and matching shell sizes and shapes adds charm, texture and detail to your patterns.

Once you get started creating attractive and useful items with seashells, they’ll go fast. You may need to schedule another trip to the beach to find some enough shells for everything you want to make!

Last Updated: March 19, 2013
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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