How To Make a Seashell Necklace

The weather here in Northern Ireland is notoriously unpredictable, and usually cloudy and damp.  This past week we’ve been very fortunate to have had a lot of sun and hot weather (hot for here, not hot compared to the Canadian Prairies).

A Seashell Necklace is easy to make and is a lasting memento of a trip to the sea.

Seashell necklace

We’ve been trying to make the most of it and soak up the vitamin D as much as we can.


kids at the beach, looking for shells, Crystal's Tiny Treasures, photo

It’s been extra special because my husband, Phil has been on holidays from work as well.  We’ve been doing some fixing-up around the house and yard, but we’ve also managed to drive up to the beach this week for a barbecue lunch.  Truth be told-I was the one who drove up.  I’ve just begun driving again after a 12 year hiatus, and even after being here for 10 years, it’s strange being on the wrong side of the road…but that perhaps will be a story for another day.

Seashell crafts, summer crafts, camping crafts, beachtime fun for kids, photo

I’m not much of a beach bum for several reasons, but I enjoyed the day with my family around me.  I even took the children down near the water for a  little wander.  While we were there we picked up a few shells to bring home with us.  We have a rose bowl that we have been filling with shells from our beach barbecues over the past few years, but this time we decided we would do something a little more artistic with them.  We became more inspired after also visiting The Gallery Whitehead over the weekend and seeing some shells Cynthia Waddell had painted.

sea shell collection, summer crafts for kids, shell art, photo

Some shells are pretty and shiny and get all the limelight, but we have chosen to turn a broken, not-so-pretty shell into a beautiful sea shell necklace.  It was surprisingly easy to do, even for my young children, and it will make a lovely keepsake of our trip to the beach with Daddy.

sea shell arts and crafts for kids and adults, family beach memories, Crystal's Tiny Treasures, photo

Kallista and I took out some acrylic paint and a brush and began painting the shells.  I painted the broken one, and Kallista painted another one that we are attempting to turn into a barbie doll hat.  We are having a little trouble with this at the moment, but we will let you know more about it once we make the appropriate adjustments.

Reversible sea shell necklace, nature jewellery, shell jewellery, photo

We let our painted shells dry out in the sun before adding a layer of varnish over the paint for durability.  Once that had dried Kallista chose some decorations for her hat and Tristan chose some gems for my sea shell necklace.  Here you can see my design on the concave side of the shell and Tristan’s design on the convex side of the shell.

jewellery for kids, frugal artwork, frugal jewellery, make your own necklace, photo

I looped some waxed cord through the shell and tied a knot in the ends to hold it all in place.  That was it!  Now I have a beautiful sea shell necklace full of family memories…if I can ever get it around my neck…it does look lovely on Kallista as well!

This little craft was also part of Red Ted Art’s Google+ hangout this week.  You can see a YouTube recording of it here.  There were many other fantastic contributors with terrific crafts all made from shells.

  • Red Ted Art showed us how her children have used shells as little beds for Lego figures.  She also shared how to make crab and turtle fridge magnets.
  • Kids Chaos shared how the grandparents and grandchildren came together to make artistic scenes with watercolours and shells.
  • The Imagination Tree made shell imprints into salt dough which give youngsters lots of opportunities for learning.
  • Zing Zing Tree shared several ideas:  fairy cups, lollipop people, a barnacle bracelet, a hair clip, and some hanging decorations.
  • Domestic Goddesque showed the results of using shells for printing on paper that makes personal gift wrap, and then turned those shells into a picture frame.  Great to see things re-purposed!

If upcycled jewellery interests you, try these: A Garden Stone Pendant, a Puzzle Piece Brooch, and a Paper Bead Bookmark. And check out our summer fun and diy jewellery pages, as well as our nature activities for kids page for more ways to get kids excited about all things nature..

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About Crystal McClean

I am a Mom, Wife, and Home Educator. We love to have fun together while learning and exploring our environment.

  • Nicole Copeland

    How cute! and such a great ideal! We have so many sea shells laying around I need to look for a cute ideal to display them

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you :-) Sea shells can be tricky when it comes to making them ‘useful’, I agree.

  • Tess

    We have to get some sea shells from the dollare store,but looks like a great project!

    • Crystal McClean

      Isn’t the $ store a great place?! We have £ shops here, but they just aren’t the same. Happy shopping and crafting!

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  • Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom

    Lovely! Makes me want to try it myself.

    • Crystal McClean

      It’s quick and fun when you need a little distraction, enjoy!

  • Michelle

    What a cute idea! We’re at the beach this week with our cousins, so we’ll definitely have to try this! It would be a fun rainy afternoon activity!

    • Crystal McClean

      Have fun at the beach this week, and let me know how it goes-I’d love to see a picture of your designs!

  • Growing Up Madison

    It turned out beautifully and I would so love to hear the reasons why you’re not a beach bum person. :)

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you very much :-) Why am I not a beach bum? I suppose they were short in supply where I grew up, but it’s so much hassle getting everything ready to go and put back again when we get home, I find sand everywhere for days afterwards, the sand flies are a pest, dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs, etc. But i am trying to relax and enjoy it more; it’s definitely easier without diapers and children who are old enough to walk on their own and even carry some of the equipment :-)

  • Stephanie

    This is so cool! I have tons of seashells from Florida, I just may have to do this!

    • Crystal McClean

      Please do give it a try – or any of the crafts linked here :-) Have fun with them!

  • Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories

    What beautiful shells and a great idea for all those broken ones that need some extra TLC. I live in NC of the USA and we love going to the white sandy beaches on our coast off the Atlantic Ocean. Great post and beautiful family!

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you very much, Tanya :-) A school friend of mine has moved to NC as well and I’ve seen her photos of the beaches-they look beautiful-enjoy your summer there!

  • Colleen @ MommieDaze

    Cute necklace and I can’t imagine trying to learn to drive on the other side of the road. I’d be so confused!

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you, Colleen. It’s quite funny-although I’ve been here so long, my brain still returns to ‘right side of the road’ when I’m behind the wheel! Slowly but surely? We’ll see!

  • Meg

    Fantastic idea! We live near the (New) Jersey (USA) shore, so we have lots of shells!

    • Crystal McClean

      I’ve heard good things about the Jersey shore, you could make all sorts of accessories, have fun!

  • Jill@MomsGoneGlobal

    We have so many shells lying around the house from various beach trips. I cannot wait to do this craft with my boys. These necklaces will make perfect grandmother gifts!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Crystal McClean

      Yes, they’d be great for grandmothers and aunts as well- my children are already wanting to make more!

  • Cynthia Waddell (The Gallery Whitehead)

    Crystal I enjoyed your visit to my gallery last week and I am so happy that it inspired you and the children to make your own shell pendants. They look great.

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you very much! Tristan said he enjoyed all of your work, but he did like the mirror the best :-)
      I’m sure we’ll see you again later in the year for more inspiration!

  • Momma Jo

    I love it, simple and beautiful!

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you very much! Have a great week and stop by again for a chat :-)

  • Kali

    These turned out really cute! The only beaches we have around here are of lakes, but hopefully we can find some sort of shell or rock to try this project out. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Crystal McClean

      I understand, I was 24hrs from the sea for most of my life. And even here the shells vary with the beach I found out this week! A rock would look lovely painted and turned into a necklace, a combination of this post as well as our stone pendant. Have fun with it!

  • Natalie

    What a super cute project! I love how it turned out. Enjoy your warm weather while it last. Visiting from Crafty Moms Share.

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you so much! I think these could be great gifts for the grandparents and Aunts. We’ll definitely enjoy the weather until it breaks, thank you :-)

  • Carrie

    What a fun and pretty project! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you for hosting, and thanks for your comment. I’m itching to make another in a different colour :-)

  • Sugar Aunts

    What a great way to make your own keepsake from the beach, thanks for sharing at Share it Saturday!

    • Crystal McClean

      Thank you Sugar Aunts, and thank you for the Twitter follow this week :-) I’ve been to a different beach this week and made sure I picked up a few shells along the way for a rainy day!

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