6 Sensational Seashell Crafts to Do With Your Kids

Spending some time at the beach this summer?

Want a way to make special seaside memories last all year ’round?

Bring home some shells and make something special with your kids.

The editors of My Kids’ Adventures searched the web to find fun and creative things to do with seashells.

In this article I’ll share our favorite seashell crafts that will lead to hours of fun family time.

Want to make summer beach memories last all year? Bring home some seashells and make seashell crafts with your kids. 6 kid-friendly beach crafts included.

Why Craft With Seashells?

One of the best parts of spending time at the beach is searching for seashells. Take a walk along the shore with your kids and search for treasures that are revealed with every wave. Pick up your favorites and fill your pockets.

Then do something with your seashells. Any time you create something from your shoreline souvenirs, whether you simply display them, sand and all, in a bucket or vase or you transform them through activities or crafts to do with the kids, it’s a great way to extend your beach adventure and make your memories last long after you get home.

Read on to find lots of fun activities your family can do with seashells.

No beach? No problem! Pick up some shells at a local craft store or download seashell printables, and then color them in with crayons, paint or markers and decorate as you would with real seashells.

Here are six sensational things you can do with seashells.

First things first, after you bring home your bounty, wash the seashells, so they’re clean and ready to use. Then choose your favorite project from the list below.

#1: Create Art

Most shell projects have an artistic element. Here are a few that stood out.

For a simple way to display your findings, make a shell keepsake like Heather did on Local Fun with Kids.

shell keepsake

Make clay, cut out the shape you want and then press the shells into it.

Make clay or use clay you have around the house. Then cut out shapes and press the shells into the dough.

This makes an excellent gift and a remembrance of fun times at the beach.

This seashell mirror from Crazy Little Projects is another activity that will bring a bit of the beach into your home. You’ll have to bring home some sand along with your shells for this one.

seashell mirror

Bring the beach into your home with a seashell mirror.

Find a mirror at a craft or dollar store and glue sand around the edges. Paint some ocean and add seashells.

Since no two shells are alike, each mirror will be different. Create a composition that triggers memories from the time you spent at the beach.

#2: Paint Shells

Painting seashells is a fun and easy project for kids of all ages. Paint them as simply or intricately as you want. Use one color or several. Add detail, sparkle, anything goes.

Nicole Etolen and her son shared their shell masterpieces on the Pretty Opinionated blog.

painting seashells

Pull out the paints and add color to your seashells.

On the Pink and Green Mama Blog, MaryLea and her daughter used watercolors and sparkly paint to give their shell collection some personality.

First, clean your shells and make sure you get all of the sand off. Then paint the shells and let them dry.

As an alternative to paint, try melted crayon seashells, like Asia Citro shared on Fun at Home with Kids.

drawing on seashells

Heat up the seashells and draw on them.

Just heat the seashells in the toaster oven and then draw on them with crayon.

Note: check the temperature before handing hot shells over to your kids. If the shells cool down too much, pop them back in the oven for a few minutes.

No matter what your method, put your colorful creations on a platter, in a bowl or set them aside for another fun seashell project.

#3: Construct Creatures and People

One of the cool things about seashells is that although they can be similar, they come in different shapes and sizes. That makes it easy to tap into your creativity and turn seashells into other things like creatures.

Check out Jackie’s Bird Seashell Ornaments on the Happy Hooligans blog. Look at your shells and see how they fit together. Add paint, googly eyes, feathers, whatever you have in your craft supplies to create your creatures, birds or otherwise.

bird seashells

Use craft supplies you have on hand and turn your shells into creatures.

Parents will need to help younger kids to use a hot glue gun to glue the shells and accessories in place.

Why stop with creatures? Create seashell people, like Jessica Cherry did on Let’s Do Something Crafty.

shell people

Paint wooden sticks and add shells to turn them into people.

Use wooden sticks from your local craft store or flat, wooden tongue depressors to make people. Draw the face and clothes with paint, crayons or markers. Glue on yarn for the hair and add the painted shells as skirts. Add a super-small shell for a purse or hat.

Alternate adventure: No craft sticks on hand? Place shells on construction paper or card stock and draw pictures of people, a beach or even a cityscape. Glue the shells down and frame your art in a shadow box. Or write or tell a story about the picture.

#4: Make Wind Chimes

Nothing keeps memories of a summer beach adventure in tune like wind chimes. Turn your shells into music that you’ll hear every time the wind blows.

Check out Craftbits to learn how to make a wind chime with contributions from everyone in the family.

shell wind chimes

Tie shells onto fishing line and attach three or more strands to a base to make your wind chimes.

Parents will have to help poking holes in the shells. Have everyone take a line of cord and add shells to make a seashell strand. Attach them to a piece of driftwood and make a wind chime you can display right outside your home.

For another way to construct wind chimes, check out the sea shell symphony on the Family Education blog.

#5: Make Accessories

Seashells turn any accessory into a piece of wearable art.

On Polkadot Chair, Melissa Mortenson shares several seashell accessory crafts.

hair accessories with shells

Attach painted seashells to regular hair accessories to add panache.

Paint seashells with nail polish. After they dry, glue them to hair clips, a headband or a ring.

Want to go all out? Make a mermaid tiara, like this one from Carissa on the Creative Green Living blog.

mermaid tiara

Glue painted shells to an embellished tiara or crown.

Paint your shells. While they’re drying, embellish a cheap, plastic tiara with chenille stems, pipe cleaners, feathers or whatever you have that’ll work. Glue on the shells. Add glitter, plastic gems or whatever you want to make the tiara creative and unique, and you’re ready to rule your court.

For younger kids, use fewer or lighter shells, so the tiara isn’t too heavy. Also, do a version of this as a merman crown.

#6: Decorate With Seashells

Add seashells to decorative items throughout your home to give them some beachy personality. Add shells to picture frames, mirrors, boxes, coasters, anything.

Remember the painted shells you made above? The seashell frame, like this one from Stacey at Glued to My Crafts blog, is one example of using them in another project.

seashell frame

Glue painted shells to a picture frame. Add a picture from your beach adventure or one from the winter for contrast.

Paint the shells, let them dry, arrange them and glue them onto the frame. Don’t forget to add a favorite photo to the frame.

If you want a decorative box for your shells, make a treasure box.

shell craft treasure box

Make a seashell box, so you have a place to keep the rest of your seashells.

This adventure from Julie Williams at Education.com suggests you sort and identify the seashells before you glue them onto the box.

Bonus Adventure: Write up a memory from the beach where you picked up your shells. Put it at the bottom of the shell box, and read it anytime you take out the shells. It’s a surprise for your future self.

Some Final Thoughts

A beach adventure is fun for the whole family. When you do art projects with seashells, you extend the experience.

family collecting shells on beach

Collecting shells is part of the adventure! Image source: iStockPhoto.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ton of things you can make with seashells. Even just looking at them will bring a smile to your family’s face. When you do art projects with seashells and display them prominently, you’ll trigger those memories on a regular basis.

What do you think? Do you collect seashells at the beach? What do you do with all of your shells? Do you use them for projects or display them as-is? Share your seashell crafts and photos in the comments.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Debra Eckerling

Debra Eckerling is an editor at My Kids Adventures. The creator of Write On Online, a website and community for writers, Debra helps individuals define, plan and achieve their goals. Other posts by »


  1. KJ Ammerman says:

    Great round-up, Deb! I love the simplicity of the Popsicle stick girls and the princess-quality of the shell tiara!

  2. Thanks, KJ! Me too! Makes you want to head to the beach, doesn’t it?

  3. Thanks for these great ideas, Deb! I love the crown. I have a Christmas ornament I made out of a sand dollar found on a beach vacation. It brings back warm memories every year when I hang it on my tree.

  4. Irene O'Leary says:

    Love these ideas–so simple and so much fun! Thanks Debra…:)

  5. Thanks, Jennifer! I totally want a crown just to have one! :) Yes, that’s the great thing about seashells. Instant memories!

  6. Thanks, Irene! I love seashells and had so much fun writing this!

  7. KJ Ammerman says:

    Or run to the dollar store. Purchase sea shells. Take them to the beach for my kids to find. THEN craft 😉

  8. Ha ha. That works too! Good plan. And for those who don’t live near a beach: do a seashell treasure hunt in the backyard.

  9. Crystal Foth says:

    We love collecting sea shells – great ways to re-purpose them and create some crafty memories!

  10. Thanks, Crystal! I figure you have lots of fun, artful ways to play with seashells too!

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