How to Make Contemporary Seashell Art

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper plates
  • Paint
  • Art paper
  • Clam shell
  • Sand dollar
  • Starfish
  • Corkscrew shell
  • Sponge
  • Shadow box frame
  • Seashore postcards
  • Photos taken at the beach
  • Assorted seashells
  • Glue
  • Old aspirin or pill bottle
  • Sand

Seashells are a popular decorative motif, and artwork that utilizes shells is some of the loveliest and most original around. Shells have a timeless quality, and artwork created from shells brings with it memories of warm days spent with toes in the sand. Seashell art isn't difficult to create; the supplies are as plentiful as the local beach or a local craft store. Just a couple of afternoons spent with some seashells and glue is all you need to create one-of-a-kind art for your home.

Seashell Art Prints

Pour a bit of paint onto some paper plates. Use a couple of plates so that you can have several different colors without them running together.

Set out a piece of art paper for your seashell artwork.

Dip a clam shell into the paint with the open side going into the paint as if the clam were a cookie cutter and you were trying to make clam-shaped cookies from the shell.

Press the paint-covered clam shell on the paper. This will create the outline of a clam on your paper.

Repeat the process until you have many clam shell outlines on the paper.

Start the process again with another kind of shell, such as a corkscrew shell, or perhaps a sand dollar, starfish or sponge. Dip it into another color of paint, and repeat the process on the paper. You can do this with as many kinds of shells as you have. Just assign each one a specific color so that it stands out against the other shells on the paper. Let each color of paint dry before starting with a new one.

Make several different prints using the shells.

Frame the seashell paint prints once you're done. You can create variations of this theme by featuring only one kind of shell on each piece of paper or changing the paint colors.

Seashell Shadow Boxes

Assemble the items that you are going to use in your shadow boxes.

Take the glass out of your shadow box frame and get it ready for the gluing process.

Arrange the items that are going to be in the background first. This would include postcards from the beach, black-and-white art photos or honeymoon photos taken at the beach.

Glue the pictures into the back of the shadow box. Let the glue dry.

Add an assortment of shells so that they adorn the area around the postcards or pictures. Glue these onto the shadow box once you have their placements in the “gallery” determined. Let the glue under the shells dry.

Fill a pill bottle with sand and put the lid back on. Sand can be bought from the craft store or taken from the beach during a vacation.

Place your sand bottle into the frame and glue it down.

Return the glass to the shadow box frame when all the glue is dry.


  • With both of these projects, you can create a single piece or a gallery of related images.


About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images