Looking for Sea Shell Craft Ideas

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.




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...

  • 10" plastic-foam wreath
  • approx. 90 assorted cockle shells and small clam shells (from beach or craft store)
  • egg dye or liquid food color
  • 1/4 yd. muslin or fabric to match shell colors
  • 1 1/4 yd. each two 1/4" wide grosgrain ribbon in shell colors
  • tacky glue or glue gun
  • 2 glass containers for dye
  • measuring cup
  • paper towels; rubber gloves; apron
  • serrated knife

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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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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In This Article
Sea Shells
Crafts Using Sea Shells
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January 31, 2007
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