This natural material comes in many shapes and sizes and can be a part of some interesting projects. This guide is about crafts using sea shells.
This is a gorgeous, romantic, and elegant craft which can be applied to a number of other crafts as an enhancement, although it is completely stunning on its own! The shells (if you live near bodies of water) are free, which is the best part!
I previously replied to a request of what to do with excess shells. I explained how I decorated wooden or chipboard (MDF in Australia) mirror or picture frames with shells.
I recently made one for a friend who celebrated her 40th birthday on the weekend. She was delighted with it so I thought I'd share the picture I took and how I made it.
I agree with Luvyabye, great mirror! And, you should go into business, maybe add other items to put shells on too. Beautiful!!! RoseMary
That is absolutley gorgeous Bev, good job.
That is one of the prettiest ones I have seen. Great job!!!
This looks beautiful in your bathroom and you can use colors that match in yours.
Ever collected shells at the beach or just admired their natural beauty? Frames decorated in shells are always distinct (no two shells are the same), stimulate personal or collective creativity, and evoke a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for years to come.
My 5 year old son picked up a ton of seashells while we were at the coast this past summer and I need Ideas of how to use the sea shells in a crafts. I've decorated a picture frame but there are bunch more and he enjoys crafting. Any ideas?
Christy from El Paso, Texas
I found using a dremil on low and slowly drilling the hole releasing pressure off and on helps with less breakage. This way you don't break through the end so quickly. Also drill the inside so the arch is flat. Hope this helps.
When we go to the beach we always have TONS of shells we bring back and we have no idea of what to do with them. So finally we came up with the idea of putting them on inexpensive frames to "dress them up a bit". They are really cute and fun.
Materials needed are: hot glue gun, (and glue for it of course), a simple picture frame, and plenty of sea shells. Then you go at it with your own creative touch.
I would like to share with all beader friends about making of Sea Shell Jewelry that I posted at my blog.
http://jewelry-skills.blogspot.com Have fun!
This was one of the most fun and memorable things we ever did on a beach vacation with the kids. Sandycast faces made with sea shells.
Comb the beach for great sea shells, broken ones can be cool. Collect shells in a used onion bag, it makes it easier to wash off the sand before you use them or take them home.
Bring some plaster of Paris and an old beach pail and something sturdy to mix it with. Make a shallow, face shaped hole in the sand on the beach. Chose the shells you want to use for eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Keep the shells faced up to see the effect of how they will look when completed.
Reverse the shells and pour the plaster of Paris into the shallow hole. Carve your initials and year on the back. Give it enough time to set before you uncast it. Do not brush too much sand off of the sandycast.
Everyone will love them! They can be displayed on a plate stand because no one will want to put them away too soon. Have fun making memories, kids!
Source: Family Fun Magazine, many moons ago.
By Mother Goose from Royalston, MA
We had a lot of left over little seashells we gathered at the beach. This craft uses up some of those shells for a cute keepsake for all of those wonderful beach memories!
How do I put silver edging on a seashell?
By Tonya from North Port, FL
If you're talking about "real silver edging", then you must of course, use melted silver, being careful to just dip the shell edges in the liquid silver. This method requires the most costly way of silver edging, and some of the more expensive tools etc. If you're just wanting to make decorative shells, then you can buy an acrylic metallic bright silver paint and a tiny fine line artist brush.
I have added a "silver blush" with Bright Silver Accent or Rub N Buff. Any sort of shell collecting and work is very rewarding as sea shells are already perfectly shaped and naturally formed into the most beautiful bits of art.
Have fun and good luck. Hope this helps.
Pookarina (5th Generation Native Floridian)
For just a quick edging of silver sparkle, get some clear finger nail polish with silver flecks in it. It gives great highlights, and you don't have to be too very accurate. Have fun!
You could do a lot of different things to make this craft your own. Make a 3-D thank you note, make a journal entry about a vacation or the beach, or just make it decorative. Use seashells and other items you may see along the seaside.
I've bought picture frames (with wide borders) from the Goodwill or other thrift stores. I use craft paint (any color) to paint them and then a satin varnish. Then I hot glue a variety of shells to the frame. I use shells I pick up at my beach and the frames cost only a couple dollars.
I live across the road from a beach so I find things like shells and fossils. Do you have any ideas what I can do with them? For example, I could collect them for making necklaces, perhaps to sell. Any ideas would be appreciated.
I saw in Woman's Day magazine (6/25/02) where they had made a wreath out of nothing but seashells. In fact, they had colored them. I tore out the page and saved it. Here are the directions they give...
1. Create colors for shells following pkg. directions for mixing dye (they used McCormick green and teal). Wash and dry shells collected from the beach.
2. Dye about 2/3 of the shells one color (they used green), 1/3 another color (they used teal), following dye instructions. Air-dry face down on paper towels or use a blow dryer. Re-dye to darken shade to blend or to blend two colors. Color may be uneven due to shell structure, but that is part of the look.
3. Tint fabric in dye if you like, using vinegar in rinse or dye if suggested by manufacturer. Dry and press. Cut or tear long 1" wide strips across width of fabric. Round off front edges of wreath with knife. WRap strips around wreath overlapping edges to cover foam, gluing as you go.
4. Glue mostly green shells along inner and outer edges, then both colors along front, layered to cover gaps.
5. Tie 30" of each ribbon together around wreath in a bow. Slip separate 15" strand under ribbon; tie ends in two overhand knots at desired length for hanging loop. (10/30/2004)
I took sea shells I collected and hot glued them to the outside of baskets I found at a garage sale. Because I am a sea shell collecting geek, I had lots of the same types of shells so that I could create patterns or rows with each kind. (10/31/2004)
I make presents all the time using bare unpainted mirror/photo frames.
In Australia we can buy MDF wood, but I believe it's not allowed in the US (probably for a good reason). I'm sure you can buy cheap untreated frames from craft stores or clearance sales.
I picked some up for $1.50 each so that's pretty thrifty. The ones I bought had mirrors in them which can be taken out. They had wooden backings and tabs that twist open and shut, securing the mirror and backing. If you buy these, then they can have a duel purpose. People can either use them as a mirror or as a picture frame and all they have to do is take the mirror out and replace it with their own photo.
You need frames, PVA wood glue, shells/pebbles (starfish look good as well)... and glitter. Plus a can of clear spray varnish/lacquer
What you do is find your mirror frame or picture frame and arrange your shells how you'd like them... Remember this isn't rocket science... and you don't have to be particularly artistic to make this work.
When you have an idea of what to do, take the shells off and then smear the frame with the PVA glue and arrange the shells how you would like them. Once I even got some colored pencils from my daughter and touched up some of the more boring shells.
When you have the shells embedded in the glue enough for them to stick, sprinkle a little glitter in-between the shells on the glue and a little on the shells as well... but don't overdo it as it can look a little too much.. believe me when I say this as I've done it myself.
When the glue is dried (it dries clear), spray the frames with the clear varnish and allow to dry.
It may sound expensive having to buy all these supplies but I think you may find that you could have some of these things in your garage or storage cupboard already. Most houses have PVA glue.
I was even selling these to a local gift shop and even had a market stall myself, selling them for $20. It's a fun thing to do and I get a lot of enjoyment watching people's faces when they open their present.
God bless (11/18/2004)
I took a large poster board, sand colored, and painted light blue streaks on it. Then I cut a small basket in half and hot glue gunned both halves to various positions on the posterboard. Once done I hot glue gunned shells in a kind of purposeful beach pattern on both the board and the baskets. It makes an excellent holder for makeup and other small items since my apartment has no space in the bathroom to put things. (12/26/2004)
Use them to line a glass container, then put a votive in the middle. The translucent quality of the sea shells makes for a very pretty soft light. (01/18/2005)
By Melody W.
You can make jewelry with them. Take some seashells you like and some thick wire, and poke holes in the seashells. Some seashells you can poke right through with a needle, but for others you need a drill. Experiment! (02/12/2005)
Here's a couple posts from our archive that may be helpful.
An idea is decorating photo frames and mirrors with shells, fake coral and beach themed craft products. They always look beautiful. You could sell them at local markets. (10/01/2005)
Hang your large shell on the wall using wire plate hangers. (11/10/2005)
Some species of seashell have opercula, or "trap doors" that close over the opening. I have heard that in other countries where seashells such as the turbo's are common, the opercula are used as decorations ranging from tiles to cobble stones. (01/19/2006)
By Donald Pelton
I make shell jewelry with nothing but a drill, brightly colored ribbons and copper wire. Be creative - you can make some fantastic designs. How about making a really simple shell pendant? Many shells on the beach have natural holes worn in the top, gastropod shells and limpets are the most common. Just string some pretty ribbon through the hole and tie a Chinese knot either side of the shell. you can use 2 smaller shells about 2/3 of the way up the ribbon, secured in place with more knots. If you make the ribbon long enough to go over your head you don't have to worry about fastenings and findings if you're not into beading or wirework. It couldn't be simpler and the results can look stunning. (08/05/2006)
I recently starting a blog on sea shell jewelry and crafts, soon I plan to create a list of sea shell ideas. Feel free to check out the blog or website for some ideas.