Whether you live near the beach or just love the ocean, creating beautiful seashell art décor is easy once you know where to find the shells.
I’m always amazed at how expensive wall art can be at certain stores. I don’t mean one-of-a-kind creations made by artists, I’m talking about mass-produced wall art that is intended to be sold to hundreds or thousands of households. The prices they charge blow my mind!
I’m sure you’ve seen some of these pieces and thought to yourself, “I could make that.” Same here!
My husband and I were in Ethan Allen and spotted this gorgeous seashell art piece. We looked at the $1759 price tag, looked at each other, and both said, “nope!” Then to my surprise, he simply stated, “you could make this for much cheaper.”
Of course, all I heard was I had his blessing to buy more craft supplies, lol.
But seriously, I tucked the idea away until I felt inspired to use the technique for wall art that is less nautical and more fitting for the vintagey/ French country look in my home. And that brings us to this fun seashell heart project.
You don’t have to make a heart, but I definitely recommend grabbing some bags of these miniature white seashells and creating a wall art piece you will love, even if you don’t live anywhere near the beach.
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Seashell Art Décor Materials
(Click the product links below to find your materials!)
- Wood Heart or Other Shape
- 2 Packs of 100 Mini White Seashells
- Fusion Mineral Paint in Algonquin or Paint of Your Choice (They have smaller/ cheaper sample sizes of Fusion in local shops)
- Paint Brush
- Tacky Glue
- Coarse Sandpaper
- Popsicle Stick
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Seashell Art Décor Steps
Step 1: Paint your wood base in a color of your choice. Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.
I’m using a heart shape because I planned to use this piece with my Valentine’s Day decor, but your project can use any shaped base that suits your style. I chose to use mineral paint because it has that chalk-painted look but is easier to work with, in my opinion. I used the color Algonquin because I wanted a beachy neutral beachy look to the wood that would also look good with my vintage and French country decor.
Step 2: Take some coarse grit sandpaper and sand the edges of the painted wood to give it a worn, beachy look.
If you don’t like the distressed look, that’s totally fine, just leave the paint as is. The original art piece we saw at Ethan Allen definitely was more nautical than beachy and wasn’t distressed at all.
Step 3: Pour out all 200 tiny white shells onto the painted wood and use your fingers to form the shape you want the shells to take.
You want to do this before gluing to make sure you have enough shells to fill the shape you want. Fun fact: I didn’t have enough shells initially and had to wait for another order to come in before I could make this lol. If you are going to make a different or larger shape with your shells, you may need to order more shells than I did.
Step 4: Take a pencil and lightly sketch around the edge of your shell-filled shape.
This will help you keep the shells in the right shape and distance apart when gluing them.
Step 5: Use a popsicle stick to smooth a thick layer of the tacky glue onto the center area of the painted wood surface. You want to work in small, 3-inch by 3-inch areas so the glue doesn’t dry before you cover it with shells.
Step 6: Grab a palm-full of the tiny shells and pour them onto the glued area. You’ll need to adjust any shells that didn’t land on glue and fill in any empty spots.
Step 7: Continue to glue the shells to the wood surface in small sections until you have filled in your shape. Use any leftover shells to fill in any gaps or empty spaces.
Step 8: Use your flat hand to gently press on the shells to make sure they’re all sticking to the glue and not just resting on top of other shells. Resist the urge to turn it upside down to see if any fall loose! Set your project aside to dry for at least 24 hours, possibly 48 hours, depending on temperature and climate. Keep your art flat until it is completely dry or the shells may slide right off the wood.
That’s it! You can choose to hang your beautiful new seashell art on the wall or set it on a table as part of a vignette.
Seashell Art Décor Information
Using store-bought shells may seem like cheating, but I think they’re perfect for:
- When you love the beach and want a coastal look in your home
- When you don’t live anywhere near an ocean ( I see you Kansas)
- When you’d prefer to not spend 500 million dollars on wall art
Even if you do make it to the beach, you’re still not guaranteed to find enough good shells to use for a project. I live 15 minutes from the beach and when we recently went down to build a snowman, er sandman, even after 30 minutes, we barely had enough broken shells to decorate him.
If these tiny white shells aren’t what you have in mind, you can find just about any type of shell on Amazon. You can buy them in variety packs (so it seems like they were gathered randomly lol) or get all of one kind like I did.
My main point is don’t hold back on creating seashell art décor for your home just because you can’t make it to the ocean.