I use E-6000
For me, a hot glue gun works best. Yes, there can be stringing, but little mistakes can easily be corrected and the glue can be removed easily from most surfaces.
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A hot glue gun works good when applying seashells to plywood, but if you live in the hot south, you can't use it on anything outside during the summer months because the sun gets the glue hot enough to loosen its hold and, one by one, the shells begin to fall off. What type of adhesive should I use on outdoor decor?
J.B. Weld glue is the most tolerable in the heat.Water based adhesives do the job well.
I live in the tropics and make a lot of shell decorations for the yard and home. I know what you are talking about and the only glue that actually works well for me is epoxy. I have some shell mirrors that are in the outside bathroom for over 15 years, and other shell decorations that are in direct sunlight all year round. I would invest in the epoxy glue if you want it to last any time at all.
I have pretty good luck using Matte Medium or Modge Podge glue.
I would try superglue, bondix, or maybe even wood glue
What adhesive is best to use for securing sea shells to a board that stands up against the weather? Also, can the project then be sealed with polyurethane or something?
You can use melt E-6000 adhesive. You can seal the board as well, if you wish.
Waterproof construction adhesive. It comes in clear and white, some brands, in natural colors.
There are two part epoxies that work, but they smell dreadful and need to be used very quickly for the best results. When I used them I had to do it outside or it made me cough, but I am very sensitive to smells.
If you still have a mom and pop hardware store around, they can give you instructions if you have not worked with it before. If you use that, there should not be a need to seal it, unless you want to seal the wood first and then glue the shells on. The hardware store folks can give you the best thing to seal wood also. Its been years since I have done that kind of work and I think I used a spray on seal....but they probably don't make it any more. Sadly most of the products I used to use when I redid furniture and such have all been banned or changed because they were poison. Who knew right! Scary but true!