We all bring home loads of shells from the beach, but my favorite ones are those huge ones that offer plenty of surface space and funcitonality for crafting. My mom used to use those as ashtrays, but I decide to go a step further and paint them, expanding on my seashell earrings craft. I hope you enjoy this painted seashell craft and come up with some variations to expand it!
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The idea here is to go with the “grain” of the shell and create a beautiful sea-inspired scene. You REALLY don’t need to know how to paint, making this a great craft idea for summer get-togethers too. The open-ended-ness of it makes it a great art class prompt for the summer too.
Using a sheer paint helps the nature of the shell show through. I used Americana Gloss Enamels – a glass paint that works on any smooth surface – for its sheer quality. You can dilute regular acrylics as I did here, but you’ll have less control over the paint. That might actually be a good thing…
You can see how the “personality” of the shell shows through.
The shell above was quite ugly, with brown markings – it even looked dirty. I turned it into a stormier sea. The one below was a pure white shell, that I barely tinted with color. I made it a calm, serene scene.
The finishing touches – the silhouettes – are where you really use your imagination. When you’re done, you can create a beach-esque scene (similar to the one below) using sand, more shells, and pebbles in a shallow tray to place on a flat surface (such as an entry table). Or mount it in a shadow box to hang and display in groups.
What you need to make a painted seashell craft:
- Sheer paints in orange, pink, and blue (or other appropriate colors)
- Paint Brush
- Large seashells of course
- Thick and thinner permanent markers
How to make a painted seashell craft:
1. Start with your first color painting it onto your shell in a thin layer going with the grain.
For a stormier sea, dab on the colors.
2. Blend it with the second color, keeping roughly with the grain.
3. Add your sea color to the bottom.
For the stormier sea, I once again dabbed in uneven circular motions, letting the sealine remain rough, but still ending with the curve of the shell.
4. Allow your shell to dry completely and draw on your shadows with the thick marker, adding details and filling grooves with the thinner one.
Think of what you see at the sea: seagulls, calm or stormy palms, a straight or rocking ship, ducks, islands, rocks, lighthouses, dolphins… the possibilities are endless!
Do you also collect sea shells to craft with? How will you make this painted seashell craft your own – how will you create your sunset scene?