The Ultimate Guide to Crafting with Seashells

Little Artists pictures3
Crafting with seashells is something quite new to me. I grew up in a steppe area, no real river and I didn’t see the real sea until I was 19 years old. Before that I only new that you could “hear the sea” if you put a seashell to your ear (not really, right? But as a child I loved listening to the sea and kept climbing up high to reach two precious seashells my mother and father brought from their vacation to the Black Sea).
Now that we live by the seaside, I find it is a great opportunity to embrace the gifts of nature and use seashells as crafting material for my own children and in my classrooms.
If you haven’t read yet, I posted 2 articles about seashells: Quest for Seashells  and Sand Play.
To make it easier for you (and for me for future references), I am posting a round-up of seashell craft ideas from fellow bloggers of Kid Blogger Network.
So, here are the things we can make with seashells:
1. Picture and craft frames:
Framed Mermaids from Crafty Moms Share
Seashells frame from Here Come The Girls
Shell picture frame from No Time For Flashcards
2. Sensory trays:
Beach sensory tub from No Time For Flashcards
Ocean sensory tray from The Imagination Tree
Sand play ideas from The Imagination Tree
Rock pool from The Imagination Tree
Ocean sensory play from Creative Playhouse
Summer sensory activities from Rockabye Butterfly
3. Math and Alphabet activities with shells:
Letter and number review from Rockabye Butterfly
Symmetrical patterns from The Imagination Tree
Alphabet shells from The Imagination Tree
Shell memory game from No Time For Flashcards
4. Play dough with shells and Sand play dough ideas:
Sand play dough from Creative Playhouse
Sand casts from Mama.Papa.Bubba
Pirate Island Play Dough from The Imagination Tree
Salt dough shell fossils from The Imagination Tree
Clay and shells craft from Local Fun For Kids
5. Discovery bottles and jars
Ocean discovery bottle from The Imagination Tree
Beach in a jar from Mama Miss
7. Seashell painting:
Painting seashells from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Rainbow seashells from The Educators’ Spin On It
8. More craft and ideas with seashells:
Crafty Moms Share:
Beach playmat
Beach inspired nature art
Mermaid treasure box
Busy Kids Happy Mom:
Seashells Christmas Ornament
Shell wreath tutorial
Crystal’s Tiny Treasures:
Seashells necklace
The Pleasant Thing:
Seashells activities
Using your seashells
Do you craft with seashells? Do you have more original ideas for craft and play that involves seashells? Please leave a comment and a link, if you have one!
This post is a part of the Ultimate Guide To 50 Craft Materials hosted by Craftulate. To check for more exciting guides from other bloggers, please visit the landing page!

Quest for seashells

Zhuhai is a coastal city. We have the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. Having the sea so close by has so many benefits: while we can’t really swim there for the pollution reasons (we have a large cargo port here), there are few beaches with nice sand and lots of seashells laying around. One of our favorite summer time passes is a quest for seashells. Once our daughter became older we started taking her to the local beach area to play with the sand and she’s been obsessed with seashells once she found out that “you could listen to the sound of the sea”!

Once at the beach, we go on a seashell quest: our daughter and my husband walk around and look for seashells that could be added to the collection and played with at the beach. Seashells are great natural toys to compliment playing with the sand!

So what can you do with all those seashells your child brings home? You can paint them! It is so much fun and we enjoyed this activity using regular tempura paints. Acrylic paint will do too. And depending on how smooth the shells are, you can also use regular paint.

Here are some tips on painting shells:

1. Wash them and dry well first. If you wish, you can polish them with sand paper as well if the surface if too rough (we actully enjoyed painting over the rough surface).

2. Mixing colours will only add to the fun!

3. Add some glitter into the paint or use glitter glue after the paint dries – they will have a lovely glow!

4. Painted shells are not suitable for fish tanks!


If you don’t have an easy access to shells, you can do the same with rocks! Our daughter is also obsessed with collecting rocks  – they are easy to handle and can be painted on as well!

A few words about sand play

Have you noticed how fascinated most of the children are with sand and mud? Has it ever crossed your mind how magical the sand play can be for a child? Even adults enjoy sand play and there is a whole science of creating sand images. It’s one of the most adorable sights – to see a child exploring the texture of the sand with his/her little hands and feet.

A couple years ago I came across a method in psychology called “sandplay”. This method is used to correspond with a person’s inner state of mind by allowing him/her to draw and build images out of sand. A friend of mine took her boys to this therapy for a few years and she said it helped them really improve in many ways, and especially to formulate unresolved emotions children often have due to not being able to express what they feel.

My older daughter LOVES playing with sand. She is a very spirited child and once she masters the game more or less, she seeks for more challenging things to occupy her. Sometimes she easily gets bored so she jumps from an activity to activity. But playing with sand can last a while. We don’t have sand boxes where we live but we have a lovely beach nearby where the local authorities created a special area for children to play, under the trees, protected from the sun by their shade.

I notice that she feels more relaxed after playing with the sand and less agitated. I can either sit right next to her and play with her together or let her play on her own (under my supervision).

Few things however you should remember when allowing your child playing with the sand:

1. Some children like to taste everything. If you have a tasty-tasterson, choose the sand that is clean.

2. Playing at the beach or in the park with sand, make a “sweep” of the area for trash, pieces of glass and plastic. It could be a fun activity with an older child.

3. Don’t hesitate to let your child barefoot in the sand – it is extremely healthy and it helps especially those children and adults who have a flat foot syndrome.

4. While playing in the sand with bare hands is fun, spend a few bucks on buckets and shovels. At home you can collect all sorts of plastic containers and bottles (cut the top) to use in your sand play.

5. Enjoy it. And let your child enjoy!

Happy sand play and thank you for reading my blog!