Decorating

8 shell craft ideas for beginners

Preserving seashells as a reminder of carefree days at the beach is best in the form of home furnishings, jewelry, and souvenirs. After all, they are such a beautiful, completely free, natural and durable material. In this material you will find 50 inspiring photos, 8 ideas and the same number of step-by-step DIY workshops on making shell crafts for beginners.

Basic instructions for preparing seashells

Cleansing

Before you start making crafts from shells, they need to be well prepared.

  • If the shells are “dead” and there are no remains of shellfish in them, then they just need to be soaked in a solution of water and any chlorine-containing agent (eg, with bleach, “Duckling”, etc.) in a 1: 1 ratio for 30 minutes. If the shells are very dirty or you want to remove the dark outer layer (periostracum), then soak them longer. After soaking, brush the shells and rinse in clean water.
  • If the shells are “alive”, that is, they have the remains of mollusks (albeit long dead) and have an unpleasant odor, then they must be thoroughly cleaned. To do this, immerse the shells in boiling water for 5 minutes, and then remove the remains of the shellfish using tongs, nail scissors, etc. There is also a second way: heat the shells in the microwave for 30 seconds, then try to remove the remains with tongs. If unsuccessful, continue heating the sinks in the microwave, checking the result every 10 seconds. When all remains have been removed, treat the sinks with chlorine according to the first instruction..

After finishing, inspect the sinks for chips and, if any, sand them with a sanding block, disc or sandpaper. If you want, you can add shine to them with clear nail polish or furniture, or with oil or grease cream. True, in this case, before processing the shells with glue, the gluing points will have to be additionally degreased with alcohol.

Drilling holes

To make some types of shell crafts (for example, wind chimes, garlands, beads, bracelets and other jewelry), you need to drill a hole in them. This task is quite simple, the difficulty lies only in the fact that the shells can crack or delaminate in the place of drilling..

  • Therefore, remember the main rule: the thinner the sink, the smaller the hole should be in it and, accordingly, the thread / accessories of the decoration..
  • Seashell beads To make such beads, you need to drill holes in the shells and string them on a silk cord, fixing the location with knots. Further, the ends of the laces will only have to be clamped in the crimp ends and fastened to them
  • Seashell beads To make such beads, you need to drill holes in the shells and string them on a silk cord, fixing the location with knots. Further, the ends of the laces will only have to be clamped in the crimp ends and fastened to them

There are two ways to make holes in shells – manual and automated.

Method 1. Choose a drill bit for a drill, screwdriver or straight grinder with a diameter of 0.8 – 2 mm. Place the shell on a wooden or plastic board and glue it down with masking tape. Drill a hole directly over the tape – it will prevent the shell from splitting or delaminating.

Method 2. If you do not have a screwdriver or drill, then you can make a hole in the sink using a nail and a hammer. To do this, first glue the shell with masking tape, put a mark on the inside of the shell, then attach a nail and gently tap it with a hammer several times to make the initial hole. Next, widen the hole by moving the same nail back and forth inside it until you reach the desired diameter..

Shell hole

If you have neither a nail nor a hammer at hand, then use an ordinary needle, nail scissors or a knife and “drill” the hole by hand. The result will appear in about 10 minutes.

Idea 1. Inlay frames, frames and frames

Shells can be used to decorate the frame of a mirror, a picture or a photo frame. We present examples of such crafts in the next selection (scroll the photo to the right).

  • Frame for decorative shells mirror
  • Frame for decorative shells mirror
  • Frame for decorative shells mirror
  • Frame for decorative shells mirror

Photo frame decorated with seashells

Photo frame decorated with seashells

Photo frame decorated with seashells

Photo frame decorated with seashells

Photo frame decorated with seashells

  • Mirror in a frame decorated with seashells and starfish
  • Mirror in a frame decorated with seashells and starfish
  • Mirror in a frame decorated with seashells and starfish

Today we suggest you decorate a frame for a mirror with shells, but by the same principle, you can decorate any photo frame or picture frame..

Mirror decorated with seashells

Materials:

  • Small, medium and large shells and, if desired, additional decorations (e.g. starfish, pearls, skate figurines, etc.).
  • Glue gun and a few sticks of glue or clear epoxy glue.
  • Newspaper or any unnecessary paper to protect the mirror from the glue.
  • Masking tape or regular tape.

Instructions:

Step 1. Protect the mirror with paper and masking tape. At this stage, the frame can be painted if its original appearance does not suit you..

Step 2. Sort the shells by size to make it easier to create a future composition.

Step 3. First, glue the first row of small or medium-sized shells (about the same size) around the mirror.

Mirror frame decor with shells

Step 4. Now start gluing the largest shells. Beforehand, you can play with the layout options and choose the best one. If you are using epoxy glue, after all the parts are glued, leave the frame to dry overnight.

Mirror frame decor with shells

Step 5. Next, fill in the gaps between large shells, medium and small shells.

Mirror frame decor with shells

Idea 2. Making a valentine panel

From the collection of shells of different shapes and sizes, you can make a panel in the form of a valentine. However, you can cut any other shape out of cardboard / plywood, say, the same seahorse or a letter.

Panel from river and sea shells

Materials:

  • Glue gun or any glue with strong adhesion;
  • Collection of river and sea shells;
  • Cardboard;
  • Scissors;
  • Leg-split.

Instructions:

Step 1. Cut out the base for the heart-shaped panel from the cardboard.

Step 2. With a knife or awl, make two holes for the twine.

Step 3. Begin glueing the shells, trying to leave minimal gaps between them. Leave eyelet holes open.

Panel from river and sea shells

Step 4. Cut the twine to the desired length, thread the two ends of the rope through the holes from the inside of the panel and tie them into double knots.

In the next video, you can see a visual master class on making crafts from shells with your own hands in the form of a valentine panel.

Below are other ideas for creating a panel from shells.

Panel from seashells

Panel from seashells

Panel from seashells

Panel from seashells

Interior letter from seashells

Idea 3. “Painting” a picture on canvas

And here is another idea for creating a wall craft from shells.

Painting from seashells

Painting from seashells

Materials:

  • Stretched canvas;
  • Shells;
  • Glue gun or other glue of strong adhesion, for example, “Moment”;
  • Template or stencil of the desired design, printed on paper;
  • Acrylic paint for background creation (optional);
  • Brush (optional).

Materials required to make a painting on canvas

Instructions:

  1. If you want to repeat the idea of ​​the painting in this master class, then first create a background for the composition from seashells. To do this, use a brush and acrylic paint of the desired color. Wait for the background to dry and proceed to the next step.
  2. Fix the template or stencil to the canvas with masking tape, and then trace its outlines with a pencil.
  3. Start gluing shells to the drawing without going beyond its borders.

Composing composition

Composing composition

Idea 4. Cook candles for mini candlesticks

Seashells are almost ready-made miniature candlesticks that are just waiting to be supplemented with paraffin and wick. The resulting candles can be used for table setting, a romantic picnic or just for interior decoration..

  • Shell mini candles
  • Shell mini candles
  • Shell mini candles
  • Shell mini candles
  • Shell mini candles

Materials:

  1. Sea or large river shells;
  2. Small round candles in tin molds;
  3. Water and a pot for a water bath;
  4. PVA glue or double-sided tape.

Instructions:

Step 1. Remove the candle itself from the tin container, and then remove the wick from it by pulling on the metal base at the bottom of the candle (see photo). Set aside the wicks, and return the candles themselves to the molds..

Paraffin and wick preparation

Paraffin and wick preparation

Step 2. Glue each wick on double-sided tape or PVA glue in the center of the shell.

Step 3. Now we need to melt the paraffin to a completely liquid state. This can be done in three ways:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat to stop boiling and dip the molds into it..
  2. Place the candles on the stove, preheated over a minimum heat, and make sure that the paraffin does not burn.
  3. Heat the paraffin wax with a hair dryer.

Step 4. Once the paraffin is melted, remove the molds from the heat and start filling the shells. It is best to use a pair of tongs or a pair of Chinese chopsticks for this. Do not forget to protect the surface of the table with a newspaper beforehand..

Filling shells with paraffin

  • If the shells are too unstable, and you are afraid that the paraffin will harden unevenly, then it is better to arrange the candles in the cells of the egg packaging or fix, for example, with soft plasticine that does not leave marks.

After about 20 minutes, the paraffin will completely solidify, and you can enjoy the light of the candles from the seashells.

  • Paraffin hardening Paraffin hardening
  • Candles in shells

Idea 5. We make a topiary in a marine style

Topiary is a small decoration in the form of a tree in a pot. You can find out the principles of making topiary from shells with your own hands in our master class or from the following video lesson.

And in this selection of photos you can get ideas for decorating a topiary from shells with your own hands in a traditional round shape or in the form of a Christmas tree.

  • Double shell topiary Double shell topiary
  • Shell topiary on a candlestick Shell topiary on a candlestick
  • Topiary made of shells and pearls Topiary made of shells and pearls
  • Seashell topiary
  • Topiary in the form of a Christmas tree made of shells
  • Topiary in the form of a Christmas tree made of shells
  • Topiary in the form of a Christmas tree made of shells
  • Topiary in the form of a Christmas tree made of shells
  • Topiary in the form of a Christmas tree made of shells

Idea 6. Making a candlestick-flower

If you have a sufficient number of bivalve shells, then you can make beautiful candlesticks in the form of flowers out of them..

  • Seashell flower candlestick
  • Seashell flower candlestick

Today we propose to make just such a craft from mussel shells.

  • Seashell candlestick
  • Seashell candlestick

Materials:

  • Shells of bivalve molluscs;
  • Any small diameter round base;
  • Glue gun;
  • PVA glue (optional);
  • Glitters (optional).

Materials needed to make a shell candlestick

Instructions:

Step 1. Prepare the shells – wash them with soap, remove organic debris and, if desired, bleach them with chlorine-containing agents (see instructions at the beginning of the article).

Step 2. Paint the round base of the candlestick some neutral color, such as white.

Step 3. While the base is drying, sort your sink set by size.

Step 4. Start gluing 1 row of shells on the sides of the base with thermal glue.

Making a candlestick from shells

Step 5. When the first row is a little dry, start creating the second row, overlapping each new shell with the previous one and so that it sits between the two shells of the first row. As a result, you will have a staggered layout of the shells of two rows as shown in the photo.

Making a candlestick from shells

Step 6. Glue the third and all subsequent rows according to the same principle, but not on the base, but on the joints of the shells of the previous row (the place is marked with an arrow in the photo below).

Making a candlestick from shells

Step 7. When you glue the last row, inspect the candlestick and add one or two more rows where you think you need it..

Step 8. Hooray, the seashell candlestick is ready! If you wish, you can additionally decorate it with sparkles. To do this, you need to do the following:

  • Treat shells with PVA glue inside or only along the edges.
  • Sprinkle glitter liberally on the craft, let the glue dry, and then shake off the excess.

Decorating a shell candlestick with sparkles

See also the material: DIY ribbon flowers – 6 master classes for beginners.

Idea 7. Create a wind chime

Shells are an ideal material for making wind chimes, because the “chime” of such sea bells is very pleasant to the ear.

Wind chime from seashells

Materials:

  • Twine, line or any thread.
  • Twig or wooden stick.
  • Scissors.
  • Hot glue gun or small hole drilling tool (drill with 2mm drill bit or just a needle and nail scissors).
  • Seashells.

Instructions:

Step 1. If you want the shells to be tied to the threads, then first drill holes in them (see Basic instructions at the beginning of the article). If you do not have a tool, and you are satisfied with the glue method of fastening, then immediately proceed to the next stage.

Step 2. Tie a twine to the branch as shown in the photo, measure about 7 cm in length from it and cut off the excess.

How to make wind chimes from seashells

  • If you use shells with holes, then the twine must be cut immediately to the desired length with a margin for knots..

Step 3. Glue the shell to the twine with a drop of thermal glue. Then glue another 7-centimeter thread of twine to the other end of the sink. Continue working until you are satisfied with the length of the first row..

How to make wind chimes from seashells

  • Shells with holes can be tied to a thread in at least two ways: by tying knots around the holes or under them (the knot must be larger than the hole).

Step 4. Continue to hang the threads with shells to the desired number. That being said, you can play with the length of the rows to form, say, an arch or a ladder. In this case, the wind chime has alternating short and long threads..

Wind chime from seashells

Step 5. When the product is ready, tie another piece of twine at both ends of the branch.

How to make wind chimes from seashells

Following the principles of this master class, but by replacing the branch with a hoop or adding shells with starfish, beads, feathers and other decor, you can create more whimsical designs of wind chimes.

  • Wind chime design idea from seashells
  • Wind chime design idea from seashells
  • Wind chime design idea from seashells
  • Wind chime design idea from seashells

Idea 8. Making a bracelet from cowrie shell

If you have at least one cowrie shell, then you can make a boho bracelet for an arm or leg out of it with your own hands. You can buy all the accessories for such a decoration in needlework stores or in large sewing stores..

Shell bracelet

Materials:

  • One cowrie shell;
  • 1 m silk lace;
  • Half a skein of floss in a contrasting color;
  • Beads (in this master class, copper beads from an old bracelet are used);
  • A pair of crimp ends with loops (designed for cords and bracelets);
  • Clasp for jewelry (in the form of a ring or carabiner);
  • Clasp ring (detachable);
  • Scissors;
  • Pliers.

Cowrie shell, silk cord, old bracelet beads and end fittings

Cowrie shell, silk cord, old bracelet beads and end fittings

Instructions:

Step 1. Drill a small hole at both ends of the cowrie (see Basic instructions at the beginning of the article).

Step 2. Cut about 15 cm from a skein of silk lace and set aside this section for a while.

Step 3. Pass a silk string about half the length through one hole in the shell and tie a knot.

Making a shell bracelet

Step 4. Pass the other end of the cord through the middle of the sink and tie a knot at the second hole..

Making a shell bracelet

Step 5. Cut a few threads of floss, collect them and fold the resulting bundle around the silk cord next to the shell as shown in the photo.

Making a shell bracelet

Step 6. Take a short piece of lace, wrap it tightly around the top of the folded floss, tie a knot and cut off the excess. You will have a brush. Fluff it up and trim with scissors if necessary.

Making a shell bracelet

Step 7. Start stringing beads on both ends of the bracelet. Once the desired length has been reached, bend the ends of the cords in half and tuck the resulting ends into the crimp ends..

Making a shell bracelet

Step 8. Use pliers to pinch the ends on the ends of the bracelet and then cut off the excess cord.

Making a shell bracelet

Step 9 Using pliers, attach the ring to one end piece and the clasp to the other. Your shell bracelet is ready!

Making a shell bracelet