Easy Seashell Crafts

Whether found on the beach or bought in a craft store, shells can add a touch of seaside flair to any room.

Beach Detailed Flower Holder

Repurpose a tin can with beach finds. Glue fabric or paper around the clean can. Add desired beach details. To use on a chair back, cut a hole near the top and the bottom of the back of the can, then tie with ribbon threaded through the holes. Or set decorated tin on the table as a centerpiece.

Beach Memory Jars

Bring home beach memories to store in a jar. Collect clear jars and bottles. Put shells and sand inside. Label each container with rub-ons or stickers to spell out the name of the destination.

Glass-Topped Table

Give a piano bench a beachy transformation. Remove the hinges from the bench and cut out the center of the top to accommodate a piece of glass. Screw wood trim pieces to each corner on the underside of the top. This will keep the top secure when replaced on the bench. Sand, and then prime and paint the piece. Let dry. Fit a custom-cut piece of glass to the top using mirror clips. Place decorative paper inside the bench and add shells.

Beach Treasure Box

The lid of a cardboard or papier-mache box is the ideal place to display a few prized specimens. Paint the sides and lid of the box with artist's acrylic paint in a color found on some of the shells, such as the raw sienna shown. After the paint is dry, arrange the shells on the lid, take a digital photo, then remove all shells.

Referring to the photo, glue each shell in place one at a time, largest to smallest. Then plan the design for the box sides, leaving the lid on. To make feet, glue same-size shells to the bottom of the box at the corners. (We used a strong adhesive called Household Goop. Be sure to use Goop in a well-ventilated area, and allow several hours for it to set up.)

Shell-Rimmed Mirror

Perhaps the only thing more beautiful than a single shell is a collection of them. To balance the composition of this heavily adorned mirror and simplify the process of arranging the shells, work in layers. Arrange the largest shells on the mirror frame first, then, working from largest to smallest, fit shells into the remaining spaces until the frame is covered.

A bagged assortment of shells provides enough variety in size and species to achieve a stunning look. First, group the shells by size. Position the largest shells at even intervals around the frame, then fill in with the next smallest shells. One at a time, pick up each shell and glue it down. Layer on smaller shells until even the tiniest areas are covered. (We used a strong adhesive called Household Goop. Be sure to use Goop in a well-ventilated area, and allow several hours for it to set up.)

Hanging Shell Wall Art

Create wall art from natural finds. Drill several holes in a long piece of driftwood. Pull twine, approximately 30 inches long each, through the holes and tie at the top. If shells have natural holes, pull twine through them. Tie knots to hold shells in place. If necessary, drill through shells to create holes.

Shells and Twine Bookmark

Craft a lovely bookmark to remind you of days at the beach. Natural string fits right in with seashore finds, such as shells, buttons, and bottle caps. Knot eight 18-inch-long strands together at one end to make the main bookmark; knot 8 inches below the first knot, or farther depending on the size of the book. Drill holes in items to attach to the string ends or use hot glue.

Framed Shells

Play with perspective by using a photo frame and shells. Remove the frame's glass. On the frame's backing, add a piece of beach-theme paper, and adhere ribbon. Replace the backing. Hot-glue shells onto spaces within the photo frame.

Shell-Edged Place Mat

Here's a showy mat you can complete in less than 10 minutes. Trace a round dinner plate on stiff felt; cut out. Starting in the center of the circle, hot-glue jute in a coil until the entire felt piece is covered. Hot-glue shells evenly spaced around the edge.

Shell Card Embellishments

A trip to the ocean provides shells for this project. Glue the shells to the card, and then stitch over them for added embellishment.

Natural Shell Wreath

Use similar-size shells for a quick natural wreath. Hot-glue shells to a foam wreath form. We used a pattern, but a random style would be pretty, too. To hang, tie with wide jute ribbon.

Sand Jars

Shells work wonders for plain jars. Fill jars with sand, then wrap raffia or twine around the jar tops. Tuck in starfish and tie on sand dollars, shells, and other various beach treasures.

Greeting Card with Bookplates Cover

Construct a warm greeting card to hold bookplates. Print the front and inside messages on a piece of card stock. Cut out a square window using a crafts knife or square punch. Accent the cutout with a mat of kraft paper, then mount a piece of vellum with a slightly larger cutout to the front using spray adhesive.

Greeting Card and Bookplates Inside

Hot-glue a miniature sand dollar and a raffia-trimmed pocket inside. For the bookplates, run adhesive labels with a preprinted striped design through a color printer. Decorate each with a miniature starfish.

Beach Decor Vase

No more plain vases in the home. Give a clear glass vase instant beach appeal. Tie jute around the neck of a vase, hot-gluing the ends inside shells.

Kid's Creative Stepping-Stone

Remember a special beach vacation with a cool stepping-stone for your garden.

Seashell Candles

Clean shells and let dry. Melt small chunks of a paraffin block or old candle stubs in the top of a double boiler. Cover the work surface with plastic or newspaper. Slowly and carefully pour melted wax into shells. Quickly put a wick in the center of the wax. Let cool about 30 minutes. Never leave burning candles unattended.

Seasonal Glow Wreath

Shells hold votives on a lightly flocked coffee table wreath accented with starfish and coral. To turn the display into a fancy centerpiece, add a hurricane or a pillar candle to the center. Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Decorative Shell Plate

Create a decorative plate to display seaside treasures. Purchase a plate from a crafts or thrift store and hot-glue the shells. Follow a pattern or go for a more organic look. Display tableside on a plate holder.

Memory Jars

For a quick gift for fellow travelers, fill a glass jar with beach items. Tie a tag around the lid with a date and description of the trip to help friends remember the great time you had together.

Beachside Comes Inside

Elements of the beach are captured in this easy-to-make candle display. Change the shells from time to time to refresh the display.

How to Make It:
1. Start with a large, shallow glass bowl.
2. Create a center mound of sand, leaving a ring of glass showing, and place a large shell in the center.
3. Pour a small amount of sand into clamshells and nestle votive candles inside.
4. Arrange the clamshells around the large shell, and accent with smaller shells.

Sea Shell Drawer Pulls

You don't need a beach house to enjoy this cottage-style dresser. Shell pulls add a touch of whimsy and interest to an ordinary dresser.

How to Make It:
1. Paint a chest of drawers soft white.
2. Using maximum-strength epoxy, adhere shells to flat drawer pulls.
3. Choose shells with flat surfaces at least as large as those on the pulls for good adhesion.

Dress it up With Shells

A discount-store composition shelf is taken up a notch with artfully arranged shell embellishments. The do-it-yourself shelf is now an elaborate display for collectibles. This seashell sconce would be fabulous in any room.

How to Make It:
1. Plan the shell placement following the lines of the sconce.
2. Adhere the shells to the sconce with maximum-strength epoxy. (Mix up only the amount you can work with right away.)
3. Hold the shells in place until the epoxy sets.

Shell Lampshade

Accent any lampshade with translucent discs of capiz shell in two easy steps. You'll often find them on souvenir or import-store wind chimes -- and the disks will have predrilled holes.

How to Make It:
1. Cut shells off the chime cords.
2. Use nylon thread to hand-sew them to your shade.

Lanterns with a Seaside Touch

For indoor or outdoor decorating, embellish purchased paper lanterns with capiz shells. Choose paper lanterns in colors to match your style. Or to keep with the ocean theme, choose seaside colors like green, blue, or sandy white.

How to Make It:
1. Cut various lengths of cords (with their shells) from a wind chime.
2. Poke small holes in the bottom edge of each lantern, and push the cords through.
3. Knot the ends. If a cord is too short, simply stitch it in place with a needle and thread, tying a knot to secure.

Bucket of Shells

An ordinary clay pot becomes a pretty bath accent with shell embellishments. Fill your pot with hand towels, soaps, and lotions for spalike pampering any time you choose.

How to Make It:
1. Paint a medium-size clay pot in a desired color.
2. Cover the rim with shells using maximum-strength epoxy.
3. To give the shells a pearly finish, brush on a thin coat of pearl acrylic paint, available at crafts stores.

Seeing Shells

Purchased for about $5 at a crafts store, this oval mirror already had holes for a ribbon hanger. Clamshells are ideal for this project because they are flat. Smaller shells add interest and fill in empty spots.

How to Make It:
1. First, lay out your shell arrangement.
2. Glue clamshells around the edge using maximum-strength epoxy.
3. Add smaller shells to complete the design and fill in any gaps.

Shell Swag

Drape this beautiful swag across a sheer fabric to dress a window. Keep it simple by only using sand dollars and one other type of shell. Or add more variety by using shells in different colors and sizes.

How to Make It:
1. Top each shell with a bell cap from the crafts store, using maximum-strength epoxy to secure it. (The sand dollars won't need a cap.)
2. Tie the shells and sand dollars to a string of pearls using ribbons or cording.
3. Add a second string of pearls below the first to frame the embellishments.

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