Whether you want to display your collection for others to see or for safekeeping, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Be sure to clean your shells before displaying them--for safety and appeal--and you'll have a life-long tribute to gaze at and enjoy.
Gather Supplies to Display a Seashell Collection
Have cleaning supplies on hand. Collectors take great care to keep seashells clean and to display them nicely. Use careful handling when organizing your shells. Wipe the shell with a soft cloth after touching it to remove any oils.
Remove any dust that can get in the crevices of shells and build up. Use a small soft brush to get rid of debris. Consider buying air-tight containers to display the collection to keep out airborne particles.
Utilize a common piece of furniture, such as a bureau or dresser with thin draws to store and display your seashell collection. The drawers can be modified with plastic inserts to hold many shells.
Purchase little plastic boxes and line them with tissue, soft paper or foam. Nestle the seashells inside the boxes. The clear plastic will offer a nice way to view your favorite shells.
Display Your Seashell Collection
Create labels for each shell or family of shells. Place the label above the shell or group of shells by pinning it to the cotton, paper or other display background.
Exhibit your seashell collection in a display case. This is a nice way to present your collection by either hanging it on a wall or placing it on a table. Visit the Michaels Arts & Crafts website to purchase cases or find a store location in your neighborhood (see Resources below).
Take some of your most beautiful seashell specimens to a professional framer, who can display them in box frames. Choose to frame shells individually and cluster the frames into larger groups on the wall, or create a dramatic composition of a number of shells within a single frame.
Display larger, striking seashells as objects of art on bookcases, console tables, desks or coffee tables. Use two or three shells to create a harmonious composition.
Display colorful, but less valuable smaller shells in glass bowls. You can use the bowls as centerpieces on the table or as decorations around the house. You can get quite creative with your containers--for instance, you might choose to fill a glass lamp base with seashells to give your living room a funky, beachy look.
Organize your seashells by color or pattern for a more lively display. Add nautical-themed decorations around your shells to enhance their beauty and create a natural-looking setting. Embellish with bits of fish netting, beach wood and smaller shells, which you can glue (or secure with Velcro tape) to the display.
Do not position your seashells in a way that can damage them. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, secure your seashells to shelves using a small amount of tack-down adhesive. Watch out for storing in certain kinds of wood, which can emit acid over years. If using wood, have an inner storage of air-tight plastic.