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Seashell Necklace – Craft with your beach shells!

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A few years ago, I shared some adorable mermaid earrings and they were a smashing hit.. so I decided to pull out that same batch of shells and make a seashell necklace – or four. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. This post was first published in May 2017 and was updated for relevance, and to add a video.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

Full disclosure: I am not a 10-year-old girl. I’m a 28 year old mom of two boys and a girl who somehow comes up with things like this. But y’know being a tween girl seems to come naturally to me, minus the drama…

So while I might convert it into a key chain once I realize that I’m not going to wear these around, it’s interesting that this is what I came up with. Truth is, the silver chain style isn’t that childish – I’m sure I can adult this up… (that is SO a thing.)

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

I made a few styles of seashell necklace varying the colors, textures, shells and string, but I did stick to clay and shell with all of them.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

The fun part was figuring out how to add texture to the clay to make it more fun.

On one seashell necklace, I simply pressed in glitter. This will only really work with glass glitter, which has more body to it. Tinsel glitter would need to be Mod Podged onto the final piece rather than pressed into the soft clay.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

On the other, I scraped off shavings from a chalk pastel. I LOVE how it came out!! This also works with plain old chalk. If you use chalk, the color will come out when you seal it and it absorbs the moisture. You MUST seal it.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

I actually completely redid this project now (in 2021) so that I can reshare it. On the second try, I decided to try microbeads as well. Those needed two layers of sealer to really hold them in place but do look really cool.

I used this clay from a big bucket, making this an extremely inexpensive project. To finish it off, you can use either a polymer clay glaze (like I used in the first take) or Mod Podge Super Gloss like I used in the redo.

Air dry clay is very easy to use, but it’s white (or terra cotta – don’t get the terra cotta!) In the first round, I used gouache paints to make it a rich color. In the second, I used regular craft acrylics. They both work great. It’s nice to be able to customize colors rather than being limited to the brand’s palette!

The thing with this clay is that it’s very fragile if it’s too thin. That’s why most jewelry artists don’t usually use it. You do need to make sure that your seashell necklace is think enough that it doesn’t break. I used this clay because I had no idea if I can bake the shell or not, and didn’t feel like trying…

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

As you can see, I switched around the way I strung each seashell necklace. For some, I used white cotton twine and a wooden bead. This gives it more of a casual feel. On another, I added a bit of chain with silver beads strung on. That’s a great way to dress it up for bigger kids (or moms?!)

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

One of the shells I used is painted. I had a shell leftover from when I made my seashell earrings and decided to use it in this necklace. It adds a watercolor touch and really upgrades this seashell necklace! Most of these shells were beach keepsakes but for the redo, I couldn’t find them, so I bought a bag of shells to keep in my craft room.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

I kept one necklace very simple – a perfect necklace for boys too!

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.
Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

Whichever seashell necklace you plan to make, this open-ended craft is perfect for teen summer camp, for a beach party, or any day just for fun! If you want to get started with polymer clay, try this bonfire craft instead!

And if you love making air dry clay jewelry that’s colorful and fun, try this hair tie bracelet DIY tutorial!


Want to learn how to make jewelry out of anything? These seashell necklace are a sample project from my new book How to Make Jewelry Out of Anything!


What you need to make a seashell necklace:

 

 
 

How to make a seashell necklace:

1. Soften your clay with your fingers.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

2. Flatten it and create a well in the center for your paint.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

3.Add a few drops of water-based paint and mix it up.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

4.Add color as needed, a little bit at a time. If you do too much at once, you’ll find that the clay cakes onto your hand.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

Experiment with different colors for different necklaces.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

5. Press it into a coin shape at least 1/4 inch thick and larger than your shell.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

6.If you want, add texture in the form of glitter or pastel shavings.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.
Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

7. Press your shell into the center and shape your clay around it however you want. I did round, a teardrop, and pressed against the shell.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

8. Poke a hole using a skewer or the back of a paint brush.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

9. Paint on two layers of glaze, allowing it to dry in between.

When you’re done, add your string, knots, and finish it off how you want.

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

Your DIY seashell necklace is complete! Where will you be doing this seashell craft? Who will you give this necklace to, and what variations do you want to share with other Moms & Crafters readers? Comment below!

Make an easy DIY seashell necklace for your little mermaid - this easy jewelry making craft for kids is also a perfect summer camp activity for tweens and teens! It's made from air dry clay and a super cool glaze, with instructions for adding different textures to the clay.

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Sandra R Dean

Friday 14th of May 2021

I've just printed this out to use with my adult children and my grandchildren in August when we go to our favorite beach house for a week! What a perfect thing to make while we are at the beach!

Menucha @ Moms & Crafters

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

That's a fantastic family beach house activity! Enjoy <3

Jennifer

Saturday 4th of May 2019

I made these with my 3rd grade class; they’re beautiful! As I was putting the string through, 2 of my 5 samples broke. The hole broke thru. any ideas how I could reinforce the hole?

Menucha @ Moms & Crafters

Sunday 5th of May 2019

Hi! You need to make the top portion thick enough (I believe that the air dry clay recommends 1/2 inch thick) so it's not too brittle. Another idea would be to let it dry with screw eyes at the top instead of making holes in the clay. Goodluck!

Linda

Saturday 11th of August 2018

What did you us to color the clay with? Pastels?

Menucha @ Moms & Crafters

Tuesday 14th of August 2018

Hi Linda, I colored the clay with gouache (any water based paint would work - the richer the color the better). I shaved chalk pastels and pressed them into the surface in addition to the color that I mixed into the clay - that was for texture.

Cheryl

Wednesday 6th of June 2018

how long does the air-dry clay take to dry and does it need to be fully dry before painting with the glaze?

Menucha @ Moms & Crafters

Wednesday 6th of June 2018

HI Cheryl - it depends on the brand. Crayola's takes about 24 hours to dry to the touch, and 72 to dry completely. I'd glaze after it's dry to the touch.

Julie M

Monday 5th of March 2018

How long do these take to complete? Or at least for the glaze to dry? Could this be done in a birthday party?

Menucha @ Moms & Crafters

Tuesday 6th of March 2018

Hi Julie, I don't think this is the best choice for a party - you want to allow the clay to dry and then the glaze. You can try one of these instead.