Seashell painting is the perfect summer craft for both adults and kids. Painting seashells is such a relaxing and fun activity, and the colourful shells look so beautiful!
Seashell painting is so much fun! It’s a great craft to make in the summer after a trip to the beach, and it’s a perfect activity for those lazy afternoons at the cottage.
Arrange your seashells in a shadow box, create a centerpiece in a bowl or jar, or glue them to canvas to make colourful wall art. Painting seashells is such an easy and fun activity since you only need a few simple supplies.
You can paint rainbow coloured and colour blended shells like we did, or you can paint your seashell a single colour. You can even paint a pattern, like polka dots or stars. It’s completely up to you!
Check out our Painting Seashells video tutorial:
*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial.
Looking for more seashell crafts? Here’s some of our favourites:
Here’s what you’ll need:
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The full printable instructions are at the end of this post, but here’s a list of products on Amazon that are similar to the supplies we used:
Where can I get seashells?
You can gather your own seashells at the beach! Seashell painting is even more special when you use shells you’ve picked up on vacation. Be sure to wash and dry your shells before painting them.
If you don’t live by a beach, you can also buy seashells. The dollar store usually carries them, and you can also find seashells at Michaels or another craft store. Amazon sells a lot of different types of seashells as well.
What is the best paint for painting seashells?
Acrylic paint is our first choice for painting seashells. It’s easy to make layered designs with acrylic paint. It’s an inexpensive and easy paint to work with, and it dries shiny and opaque. It’s also quite durable.
Our seashells had darker areas that the paint couldn’t quite cover, so we needed to do a base coat of white acrylic paint first. If your seashells are darker coloured and you’re planning to paint a lot of them, you can speed up the process by using a white spray paint primer instead of painting them with a brush.
How can I preserve my painted seashells?
If you want to keep your seashells in the garden or if you’re worried about the paint chipping, then you can spray the shells with a clear acrylic spray sealer. This should be done outside or in a well ventilated room. It will also give the shells an extra glossy finish.
A seashell painted with acrylic paint alone will last at least a year without any extra steps. It will last years if it’s in a frame where it never gets touched. We didn’t do anything to preserve our painted seashells.
What can I do with painted seashells?
These painted seashells look great as a centerpiece in a candle holder, mason jar, or dish. You can also put them in a shadow box or glue them to a canvas to make a keepsake from a special vacation.
You can turn your painted seashells into jewelry, or place a magnet on the back of them and hang them on the fridge. They also make a great addition to a sensory bin or sand box!
How to Paint Seashells
- Acrylic paint (as many colours as you want!)
- Paper plate (to put paint on; optional)
- Start by painting a white base coat on the seashell, if the shell is coloured or patterned. Let the white paint dry before painting over it.If the shell is already white, you can skip this step.
- Paint a section of the seashell with the first colour (red, in our case).
- To blend into the next colour, don't clean off your paintbrush entirely. Instead, wipe off the excess paint from the current colour on a paper plate or paper towel, and then pick up your next colour.Blend this new colour with the edge of the previous colour before painting the next section of the shell.
- Continue this pattern of blending colours until your shell is completely painted.
- If you'd like to add an accent colour, wait until the previous layer of paint has dried and then paint a stripe along the top of the shell.Metallic colours like gold or silver are a good choice for decorating the seashell edge.
- Your seashell painting is complete!
Adults and kids alike will have fun painting seashells! Make a rainbow coloured seashell, or paint along the shell’s natural patterns, like we did with our Sharpie Seashells. Either way, seashell painting is a relaxing summer activity that results in beautiful painted shells!
Here’s even more seashell crafts:
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!