With temps in the high 90s and crazy humidity here, I’m really, really looking forward to the beach trip we have planned later this summer. So I’ve sought out lots of fun, easy DIY crafts using shells,which are an easy way for the kids to get creative and use up the collection they’ll be gathering in the morning down at the shore. And hopefully I can tackle my summer reading list while they’re at it.
If you aren’t heading to the ocean, you’re not out of luck. You can still channel the beach vibe at home by ordering a bag full of shells from our affiliate Amazon or from a local crafts or hobby shop, and making these fun summer crafts at your kitchen table, wherever that may be.
My kids usually want to use their spending money on the little animals made from shells at the massive souvenir shop at the beach. But with just a little glue, this koala DIY tutorial from Martha Stewart or the (much easier) seashell fish tutorial at Crafts by Amanda might keep my kids busy for an hour or so, and my cash in my pocket.
For a very simple craft, let your kids color their shells. You can learn how to dye seashells with this tutorial from Rainy Day Mum for a beautiful collection to keep in a bowl on display later. Or for more vibrant color, check out this tutorial for coloring shells with melted crayons at Artful Parent. Could not be easier.
Shell Necklaces, Two Ways
Get your kids to dig through their buckets for the prettiest shells that already have small holes in them, and they can easily string them to make a DIY shell necklace with this tutorial at Kids Activities Blog. Or get fancy and dip them in paint first, like the DIY dip-dyed shell charms we spotted by Melissa Esplin. So cool, right? Guarantee they’re selling those at the beachy tourist shops for like $12.99 each.
Hearts Made from Shells
My son loves to play with his tangram set at home, so I think he’d enjoy the idea of arranging his shells into shapes — like these cute hearts made from shells at Hoppin Up. Whether you stick them to the quick-dry clay for a keepsake, or just let your kids arrange them on paper with shapes as a pattern guide (check out the Tangram Channel for printable pages), this would be some calm, relaxing fun after a morning in the water.
If you trust your kid with a hot glue gun (I’m thinking tweens and teens), they can quickly whip up some seashell hair pins to wear out to dinner or trade with new friends they make at the beach. They’re stylish enough that you could wear them too, which will probably make your kid feel awesome.
Shell Mobiles and Wall Hangings
These shell wall hangings are very cool, but are probably a DIY project best suited for your teens unless you want to spend a lot of time doing it “with” your preschooler. Whether you go with the simple shells-and-driftwood wall hanging we found at BHG, or incorporate jewels and sea glass like this coolk, blinged-out wall hanging at Home Sweet Homemade, the result is one-of-a-kind pretty.
I’ve seen lots of DIY projects for gluing shells onto picture frames which can look really beautiful and is so easy. But I really like the take from Kalanicut with a shell shadow-box frame. It’s a fun way to remember your beach vacation, too. Let each of your kids choose their favorite shells to include in the shadow box, and they’ll be so proud when they see it on display. It’s the little things, right?
Clamshell Jewelry Holder
The best crafts maybe those that require no crafting at all! I love this photo of a clamshell jewelry holder at Marshalls Abroad. They don’t include instructions, but do you really need instructions for putting a big, beautiful upside-down clam shell on a night stand or bureau and keeping rings in it? You might want to start with a good scrubbing though, and maybe some hot glue to hold the pieces together. Hey, you can even use it to hold your new shell necklaces.