Crafts Using Sea Shells

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.
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November 11, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about making a seashell picture frame. Use your seashell collection to create a beautiful picture frame.

A picture frame made from seashells.

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October 31, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about using the right glue for seashell crafts. Certain types of glue work best when working on projects involving gluing shells to other objects.

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Seashell Wreath

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May 14, 2013 Flag

This is a guide about making birds out of seashells. Because of their unique shapes, textures, and colors seashells have many craft uses, including using them to create decorations in the shape of birds.

Seashells

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July 23, 2014 Flag

This is a guide about making a seashell mirror. Use that shell collection that has been collecting dust on the closet shelf to create a beautiful mirror to complement your decor.

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shell mirrors

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February 7, 2014 Flag

Sea shells are used in many craft projects including the creating of lovely shell flowers. This is a guide about how to make a seashell rose.

Seashell Roses

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January 17, 2013 Flag

This is a guide about decorating with sea shells. Whether you are a collector or simply like to buy pretty unique shells at coastal shops, you can incorporate them into many lovely craft projects.

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sea shell switch plate

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Solutions

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June 8, 2010 Flag

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

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August 20, 2009 Flag

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!

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Cut the long edge of the blue paper to look wavy and resemble waves.
  2. Lay the blue paper to overlap the tan paper and tape together at the back side. Turn over and use a glue stick to stick together the front sides.
  3. Cut out a sun using the yellow and orange paper. Cut one of the beach photos in a circle to place in the middle of the sun. Glue or tape all pieces of the sun together onto the blue paper.
  4. I added another beach photo on the blue paper for fun. You could add fish, waves, boats, birds, or whatever you wish to add.
  5. Using the marker, write the name of the beach and the date at the top of the blue paper.
  6. Use regular glue to place seashells all over the tan "sandy beach" paper.
  7. Allow to dry and hang to enjoy!
  8. By Jayme from Harrisonburg, VA

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July 28, 2008 Flag

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.

Approximate Time: 30-45 minutes

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Cut a piece of foam board to desired size.
  2. Add a note or a journal entry in the middle (optional). A good journal entry could be about a specific vacation or just about the seaside in general. You don't have to add anything if the craft will just be decorative.
  3. Glue or tape the message to the board if it is a computer print out, or write the message in pen if desired.
  4. Glue seashells around the board using white glue. Could also add sea weed, sand, etc.
  5. Use hot glue to attach rope around the edges of the foam board. Cut at a diagonal to fit, or leave loose ends to tie in a knot. I reinforced the cut ends with hot glue.

Enjoy the memories!

By Jayme from Harrisonburg, VA

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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January 31, 2007 Flag

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

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August 13, 20080 found this helpful

Could someone give me advise on how to clean delicate mother of pearl sea shells. They are very thin and colorful. A tip on how to bring and maintain them looking shiny. I am afraid that the bleach might destroy them completely. They are so beautiful that I don't want to risk not even one. Any tips would be appreciated. By Unis

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October 29, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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December 21, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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February 17, 20090 found this helpful

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!

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

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January 31, 2007 Flag

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.

Jen

Answers:

Seashell Wreath

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)

By Tawnda

Baskets

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)

By Michelle

Frames

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)

By Ozbev

Wall Holder

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)

By Melissa

Votive Candle Holder

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.

Jewelry

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)

By Gretchen

Looking for Sea Shell Craft Ideas

Here's a couple posts from our archive that may be helpful.

(05/27/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Picture Frames

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)

Hanging a Large Shell

Hang your large shell on the wall using wire plate hangers. (11/10/2005)

By Ursula

Opercula

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

Shell Pendants

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)

By Jupiter

Website

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.

http://www.hbshellsandsea.com (09/22/2006)

By Alan

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Categories
Crafts NatureJanuary 13, 2013
Guides
Seashell Wreath
Using the Right Glue for Seashell Crafts
sea shell switch plate
Decorating With Sea Shells
Seashell Roses
How to Make a Seashell Rose
A picture frame made from seashells.
Making a Seashell Picture Frame
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