If you’re feeling a bit #clambitious about that bucket of shells you and your kids collected on your beach vacation, we’ve got good news for you. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite seashell art projects for those summer finds, good for kids of all ages, ranging from quick and easy breezy to more difficult all-day crafting. No clamshell bras, promise.

Related: 50 screen-free activities for kids to do over summer break, indoors and out

At top: seashell zentangle art | alisa burke

1. DIY Seashell Seahorse

This pretty seashell seahorse art project would look great on the wall! Via Domestically Speaking

This seashell art project looks more complicated than it is, really—and the end result will look great in the bathroom. All you need to create a DIY Seashell Seahorse we found at Domestically-Speaking is a burlap canvas, a bunch of little shells, and a kid old enough not to eat the glue. Bonus: You can match it to dĂ©cor by simply using a different background color and tracing a shape that fits your kid’s style. I can see my son loving a seashell hippo on blue.


2. Watercolor Shells

Kids can learn color theory while painting watercolor seashells | watercolor seashell lesson at Rainy Day Mum

If your kids are like mine, they’d love to dye Easter eggs more than once a year. This fun watercolor seashell art lesson at Rainy Day Mum from our seashell craft round-up last year combines color theory with beautifully painterly shells. All the beauty, none of the… uh… smell of kids who’ve eaten a dozen boiled eggs.


3. Sharpie Seashells

Draw on seashells with Sharpies for beautifully patterned decorations | Creative in Chicago

If the thought of leaving kids alone with sand, paint, and glue makes you want to hide in the mud room, rest assured that you and your kids can do great things with Sharpie markers. I love this idea we found at Creative in Chicago of color gradations. I know my 9-year-old would adore the chance to doodle emojis and favorite quotes all over big, white shells that might otherwise seem boring.


4. Tropical Seashell Fish

Little kids can paint big and little seashells to make tropical fish art | Crafts by Amanda

For smaller kids (and smaller shells), try this tropical seashell fish craft from Crafts by Amanda. You’ll have to help smaller kids with glue, but they’ll have a great time color-coordinating fish and fins. You could even glue a magnet on back and let them swim all over the fridge.


5. Shell Pins

Use tiny shells and bobby pins to make these pretty summer clips | Tutorial via Swell

Our regular beach isn’t known for a great shellection of shells. (Har, har.) If you can only get tiny curves and butterflies, try making your own shell hairpins. Click over the Swell.com to see how-to; you’ll need some epoxy and bobby pins, and possibly some YouTube tutorials for mermaid hairstyles. If you don’t have any hair fashionistas in the house, they also make great bookmarks and would look sharp on a boy’s summer suit.

Related: The coolest summer activity books for kids, because this summer, there’s no such thing as “I’m booooored!”

6. Crystal Seashells

Create crystal seashells in this suspension science experiment | DIY: Little Bins for Little Hands

If your kid prefers science to tempera, this crystal seashells experiment at Little Bins for Little Hands uses any shells you have on hand as the base for a lesson on suspension. You only need two ingredients! Just make sure your kid knows the difference between rock candy and borax—this one definitely requires adult supervision.

Related: 12 fun, creative 4th of July crafts for older kids who have outgrown fingerpainting.


7. Cute Crabs

Make adorable crab art projects with little kids using seashells. | tutorial at Yesterday on Tuesday. 

Here’s another easy seashell art project for little fingers. To make this Cute Crabs kids’ art project, you’ll need flat shells, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and glue. And a vat of drawn butter, if that’s how you like your crab. Heh. Find the full tutorial at Yesterday on Tuesday.


8. Seashell Cardboard Letters

Glue shells and old jewelry onto cardboard letters in this fun art project for tweens or teens | YouTube tutorial from Debi's Design Diary

I know my tween would love this glitzy seashell cardboard letter project, which is laid out in a YouTube video from Debi’s Design Diary. In addition to finding a home for all those shell chunks and teeny shells, you can also add any old baubles or doodads from the craft trunk. Keep it au natural or take it outside and spray-paint it in high-shine enamel or gold for maximum impact.


9. Zentangle Shells

Use Sharpie markers and Zentangle design ideas to decorate summer seashells: Tutorial and tips from Alisa Burke

If you don’t know what Zentangle is yet, it’s all about drawing structured but intuitive patterns, much like what you see in the adult coloring book craze. Zen + tangle! You can do it yourself, and you can do it on seashells, which is relaxing for you and any summer children who complain of being bored. All you need are Sharpies and this basic tutorial on how to Zentangle, plus inspiration from artist Alisa Burke on using the Zentangle theory on seashells, which you can see beautifully here.

Related: Teens will love these 9 summer DIY projects. They totally will.

10. Easy Wall Art

Paint canvases to match your decor, add shells, and you have easy wall art via The Party Teacher

These easy but sophisticated groupings of seashell art from The Party Teacher are high impact, low effort—which is great when you’re recovering from a big trip. You need zero artistic talent, and you can buy shells if the ones you’ve gathered aren’t quite up to the task. Just select paint that matches your dĂ©cor and let the kids go to town with foam brushes, add some glue, and you can have a magazine-worthy display up before dinner.


11. Seashell Garden

This seashell garden by Alisa Burke would look gorgeous in any room

Succulents are still all the rage, and if you’ve been lucky enough to find (or buy! We’re not picky!) some bigger shells, you can create your own garden of desert plants dressed up in seashore planters, like this one created by Alisa Burke — clearly she’s multitalented when it it comes to shells and nature crafts! These easy-care plants are great for a kid with a not-so-green thumb, and they’d also make a great gift for the neighbor who fed your cats while you were on vacay.


12. Seashell Ladybugs

Even little kids can make seashell art with this ladybug craft project from Still Playing School

Here’s a great craft for the littlest ones. These seashell ladybugs we found at Still Playing School are great for the dozens of tiny clam shells kids tend to hoard, and you can use the liquid watercolor suggested in the tutorial or go with any kind of acrylic paint that you might have lying around. These little buggies are fantastic for counting and sorting by size or color, but they won’t eat the aphids out of your garden, unfortunately.


13. Specimen Art

These pretty shells used as specimen wall art resemble butterflies | Petal & Ply (formerly Dear Emmeline)

Finally, a project for those teeny but colorful butterfly shells! My daughter calls these little beauties “nom-noms” because they look like they’re eating their way back into the wet sand. Our favorite beach always has thousands of empty shells that could be beautifully displayed in this clever specimen art project we found at Petal & Ply, which turns seashell art into something even more frame-worthy. If you’re not into straight lines, you can always arrange a whimsical flock of butterflies too.

For any of these art projects, just remember to always let your shells dry out in the sun first so they don’t stink. Ask me how I know.