Painted Shell Art

One of the best things to do at the beach is collect shells, but what can you do when you get them home? Yes, it is nice to just have a collection of shells and they are pretty in a glass jar. But what if you could make something bright, colorful, and really fun with your shells? Painted shell art is a great way to show off your collection and put them on display. Wouldn’t that be much better?



  • Shells
  • Paint and brush
  • Tape
  • Craft glue
  • Sturdy cardstock or poster board
  • Marker


Step 1. Make sure all the sand is off of your shells and they are clean before you start. Then just lay down some newspaper and choose fun colors to paint your shells with. Neon colours, if you have them, work really great for this craft.


Step 2. Start painting your shells. You can trace patters in your shells. You can tape off sections of your shells and paint them with colour blocks. You can do spirals. You can outline them. Just start painting and see where it leads. The best way to make this craft is to use a combination of colours and patterns.


Step 3. Lay out your shells in a fun design or pattern. Try a bunch of different things before deciding to glue them down. You can put them in rows if you like, or line them up according to shell type, or categorise them by colour. Or you don’t have to do any of those and just lay them out in a cool pattern. Once you have decided where you want all of your shells to go you can start sticking them to the cardstock with glue.


Step 4. The best way to glue the shells is by covering the heaviest parts of the shells with glue and pressing them to the cardstock. Just a tip, your cardstock will need to be very sturdy so it can support the weight of the shells without bending. Most shells do not have a lot of surface area ideal for gluing, so this might be a little tricky. If you have a really hard time making the craft glue work you can ask a parent to help you with the glue gun.


Step 5. Using a marker write a small message about your shells. You can give your new piece of art a title, or record a memory or copy down a poem. Once finished, the best way to display this kind of art is in a shadow box.

Personalise the Craft

This is a great way to bring new life to your collection of shells. By choosing to paint them you can open up any number of possibilities. You can paint them all one solid colour, you can use metallic paints, or if you want to display your shells in a certain room you can coordinate those colours. Now you can walk along the beach with new purpose, looking for treasures you can add to your painted shell art collection.