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How to Make a Seashell Votive Candle

Updated on August 24, 2012
Seashell candle made with a conch shell
Seashell candle made with a conch shell

Fun, easy, inexpensive craft!

A great way to save treasured family seashells is to turn them into beautiful and functional candles. With some standard wax, any seashell can be transformed into a useful votive candle. These are excellent to give as gifts, use in home décor, use as centerpieces and wedding design, and as centerpieces. Making your own seashell candles is fun, easy and inexpensive!

Craft candle wicks with metal base
Craft candle wicks with metal base
Paraffin wax beads will make the job easier
Paraffin wax beads will make the job easier
Candle dyes
Candle dyes
Scented oils for candle wax
Scented oils for candle wax

Supplies for a Seashell Candle

Wax- You can either use a kit from a craft store. Bead paraffin wax is the easiest to use and melts smooth. It makes it easier to control the portion of wax you can make.


Wick- Available at a craft store. You will need one that has a metal base attached so the wick will stand upright.

Candle wax dye- If you want your candle to have a colored candle, you can purchase dye from a craft store. It is easy to use and goes a long way. Like paint, the dye will always harden to a darker shade than you are working with. Use sparingly.

Candle wax scent- When making your candle, it is very easy to add scent to it. Bottles of wax perfumes are available at craft stores. If you prefer, you can complete this project with pre-scented wax.

Metal can- This will make the candle melting easy and spare you from cleaning up melted wax.

One Craft Stick- For stirring the mix


Shells- You can either use shells from your own personal collection or purchase shells in any size from craft stores. For this tutorial, I am using a large conch shell. You can use any shell including scallops and oysters.

Melting wax in a disposable container saves your pots and pans and makes for easy clean up.
Melting wax in a disposable container saves your pots and pans and makes for easy clean up.
A plain seashell candle made of a large conch shell.
A plain seashell candle made of a large conch shell.

Instructions to Make a Seashell Candle

Make sure the seashell you are using for this project is clean and oil free. Wash with light detergent and let it dry thoroughly. Place it on newspaper or scrap paper to protect your workspace.

Place a saucepan 3/4th full of water on the burner on the stove on low- medium heat. Place a tin can (label removed) into the water in the saucepan. Add enough paraffin wax beads to the can to fit your seashell. It is ok if you make extra.

Slowly stir the wax beads with a wooden craft stick so it melts evenly. Stir until the wax is evenly melted and smooth.

If adding color to your wax, drop a few drops of your prefered dye into the mix. Stir until even.

If adding scent to the candle, remove the wax mix in the can from the heat. Stir in scent quickly before the wax hardens.

While wax is still warm and pliable, pour it into the seashell. Carefully add the wick so it stands up straight in the candle.

Allow the candle to dry and harden for at least 40 minutes. When it is set you can trim the wick to your desired length.

Your candle is ready for use or for gift giving!

Wine bottle candles
Wine bottle candles

Wine Bottle Candles


By using a long wick, an elaborate candle holder can be made by pouring wax into a tall wine bottle with its label removed. Carefully pour wax into the wine bottle, add a long wick. This is an easy way to add some flair to any home décor and brings romance to a special dinner. Add several for a dramatic look.



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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Cute and clever idea. Voted up!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi LauraMayB! To keep the shell from tipping over while the wax is setting, a large piece of mailing tape folded over to make two sticky sides will keep the shell in place. I always do messy crafts over parchment or wax paper and you can use this to hold the shell down. Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      LauraMayB 4 years ago

      What did you attached to the bottom on the candle, to keep it from tipping over? I am making these for my wedding but I don't know how to keep them upright! Thanks!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for your kind comment and visit Cyndi10!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      What neat projects. I always wondered about making the seashell votives. Thanks for really great projects for someone who loves candles and I am one. Voted up and useful.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for your kind comment peach purple!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      beautiful and unique seashell candles. Suitable for christmas and Valentine's Day. Romantic gift and cheap too. Gonna head to the sea for some seashells and follow your steps to make some seashell candle for home deco.

    • profile image

      rebeccamealey 4 years ago

      Cute shell candles, and easy. You are correct, inexpensive. What fantastic gifts they would make. Thanks for sharing this idea.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Paddyboy!

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      This here is what you call fun stuff!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for reading and commenting Phyllis Doyle. Hubpages is very inspiring if nothing else. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Lord De Cross.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Great hub with helpful information and tips. I do not know how I have missed this all this time, Tammy. I love crafts and this is an ideal way to decorate for special times, holidays and for gifting. Thank you!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      I like your ideas Tammy. This Seashell crafting are part of your unique reknown niche in here. Great ideas that save us money. And it comes from a mom!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Good luck with the project vespawoolf. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I have some nice seashells from beach vacations. What a practical way to enjoy them! I could melt down bits of old candle and use that wax with a new wick. I've marked this to try soon. Thank you!

    • profile image

      HubTub 5 years ago

      Thanks, Tammy! Good to be back, and it's always a pleasure to see you, my friend!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Hub Tub! It is good to see you are back! :)

    • profile image

      HubTub 5 years ago

      Awesome hub, Tammy! Now I know what to do with all those cool shells I collect on the beach, especially since I love candles too. Thanks for the beautiful photographs as well!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Nora. This is a great and easy craft to do. I hope you will give it a try!

    • Nora411 profile image

      Nora411 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Wow I love your craft ideas!! Great pictures once again! I would love to try to make a conch candle. Voting up and more!!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      These shells are excellent for crafts of all kinds. They are great for decorating too. That sounds like a beautiful coast. Thanks for reading.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      On numerous occasions to the coast town of Mombasa, i have collected these seashells but i didn't know they can be that useful. I will use the knowledge in here to try some of the suggestions. Voted up and useful.

    • tammyswallow profile image
      Author

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      That is a great suggestion KevinMillican. If you make your own wine bottle candle, you can fill it pretty full with wax so it isn't so hard to light with even a long candle lighter. A skewer is an excellent idea! Thanks for sharing that.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I hope you will give this craft a try. You could make all your shell candles and light them in front of a long mirror. So many options. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • KevinMillican profile image

      KevinMillican 5 years ago from Stilwell, OK

      I was just looking at an empty wine bottle sitting on my shelf, thinking of how I were to light a candle at the bottom of it. Then it hit me. I bought a packet of 100 bamboo skewers for grilling chicken. I've had to use one to light my gas heater over the winter. Those would work good to reach candles at the bottom of the bottles.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      What a great idea! I've never made a candle before, but with the HUGE collection of shells I have, I'm just going to have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks molometer. I didn't realize the Victorians collected shells. Makes me wonder who found the first shell and what they thought it was. Great thoughts!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks snowdrops!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks CClitgirl! This is a great craft for anyone looking for nature inspired gifts or décor. I hope you enjoy making coasters too. Thanks so much for your warm comment and visit!

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a brilliant idea. You are so creative. I would never have thought of making my own seashell votive candle.

      Seashell crafts were very popular in the Victorian era but I have never seen them used this way.

      Nice work Tammy.

      Voted up and sharing.

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      This is one creative and wonderful idea Tammy! Thank you for sharing!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! This. Is. So. Cool! I always thought I was pretty crafty, but every time I see your hubs, I learn something new and I'm simply amazed. I still need to make those coasters from one of your other hubs, but I went to the store and got everything. They make great presents! I'll just have to pin this and share because it's awesome!!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks unknown spy. This is a really fun craft. Thanks for stopping by!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Ohhhhhh woooowww!!! I LOove these ideas Tammy!! Very cute!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading RTalloni. I love to be surrounded by sentimental and meaninful things. These are fun and useful.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      What a great way to enjoy the memories from a beach trip! Thanks for this "how to" on making these candles.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Nothing better to do tonight in Fuzhou, China studioearphone?

    • profile image

      studioearphone 5 years ago

      Thanks so much I think everyone would enjoy getting a shell candle. They make great gifts and it is easy to make a large batch all at once. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Happyboomernurse. These items are nice to have but sooo over priced in retail stores. I hope you will make some. It is really fun.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      What a simple, thrifty and decorative idea for turning sea shells into votives. I've seen these in local gift stores at the resort beaches and depending on the size and type of shell they want $5 to $30 per votive.

      I didn't realize how easy it would be to make these myself and I already have quite a selection of shells that I've gathered during my many walks on the beach so now I can turn them into beautiful gifts that guests can take home with them.

      Voted up across the board except for funny and shared.

    • tammyswallow profile image
      Author

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Just Ask Susan! I think everyone would enjoy getting a shell candle. They make great gifts and it is easy to make a large batch all at once. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Hi Sholland10. Candle making can be really messy if you use your own kitchen pots and pans. Using cans is a great way to recycle them. I hope you will give this a try. I appreciate your visit.

      Thanks VocalCoach. I will come and you could give me singing lessons. I sure hope you love a great challenge. It is good to see you and I thank you for your kind words.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      How about moving in with me? We could just play all day making candles along with all the other fabulous crafts you are so good at.

      These photos are gorgeous (love the wine bottles on the stairs).

      Keep 'em coming tammy. These hubs are marvelous - like you!

      Voted up yada yada yada and sharing!

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      This is a great idea! I have never made candles before, but think it looks easier than I thought. I was wondering about the mess then you mentioned using a tin can. I love the scents. I buy candles from one lady who uses so much scent in hers (which I love) that the candles burn black. I switched over to a candle warmer that warms from the top down and love it. I would want to keep seashell candles for decorative purposes only though. They are so pretty! :-) Great hub! Votes and shared! :-)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a great idea. I'd love to make some of these for Christmas presents this year. The seashells are so pretty. I like the wine bottle candles too.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Billybuc. This weekend I collected some BEAUTIFUL purple lilacs for jewerly. It made me think of you and Bev. They are so much like lavender. I appreciate your kind words and glad she likes her necklace. Good to see you as always!

      Thank you for reading Cranberry Barn. I will have to come and check you out. :)

      Ishwaryaa- It is good to see you. You always visit with the warmest and kindest comments.

      Thanks for stopping by Natashalh. I hope you will give these candles a try. They are easy and end up so beautiful. I appreciate your visit.

      Nice to meet you here Harmony. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      I want to see photos Iamaudraleigh!

      Thanks for dropping in Kelleyward! It is always good to see you. :)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      These candles are beautiful! Voted up, useful, and awesome! Take care, Kelley

    • profile image

      Audra 5 years ago

      I just found a bag of sea shells from the Jersey shore in need for a makeover. This hub has great ideas!

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What an awesome craft! I will have to try this!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      This is exactly my kind of thing! Thank you so much for the fantastic pictures an instructions. Voted up, useful, interesting, and awesome!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Wow! What a unique idea! I like this creatively exciting idea of seashell-candles. They sure look charming and fabulous as home décor items or gifts. Your instructions are clear and direct. The photos are well-captured. The wine-bottle candles look beautiful and definitely are ideal for a romantic dinner as rightly suggested by you. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Pressed all the buttons except funny(sorry). Voted up & Socially Shared.

    • TheCranberryBarn profile image

      TheCranberryBarn 5 years ago from Lake Katrine, NY

      Very innovative! I like it!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Once again I did not get notified...I'm sorry I'm late to the party. You are so damn clever and talented. By the way, Bev loves her pendant and wears it constantly. I'm afraid to show her this hub; we'll have shells all over the house as she thinks you are the number one talented human walking the Earth. :)

      Great job but then, this is Tammy so of course it's a great hub!

    • tammyswallow profile image
      Author

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Nell Rose. They look wonderful in a group as a centerpiece for a table with some driftwood. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting Jade!

      Hi Alocsin! It is a shame that shells are high in your area. Perhaps some of the craft stores sell some at a reasonable price. Thanks for reading!

      Thanks Realhousewife. Two of these photos are mine. These would be great grandparent gifts from kids. I hope you do a hub on the birdhouses. :)

      Thanks Melovy. These are fun and everyone loves candles. I appreciate your visit.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      These look lovely, and we have access to plenty of shells, so we’ll definitely give this a go. They would make great presents at Christmas too.

      Voted up and pinning.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      These are beautiful! Did you take the photos too?

      Again - this is one idea I know my girls and I can do together. I love projects like that especially during summer. Right now - working on some bird houses:) lol.

      Up and everything - you're so clever!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      These are beautiful but given the cost of seashells where I live, can get expensive. I'll forward this to relatives in Malaysia, who can pick seashells off the beach for free. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • profile image

      Jade0215 5 years ago

      Love these! Great job!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Oh wow! I love these! they would look great on my side table! I love shells and have loads in a box, I wonder if I have a big one, or even two? lol! great idea tammy, voted and shared! nell

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Kevin Millican. These would be a great addition to your chef's kitchen. I appreciate your visit.

    • KevinMillican profile image

      KevinMillican 5 years ago from Stilwell, OK

      I really dig the wine bottle candles! Going to have to buy some wine and drink to make some.

    • tammyswallow profile image
      Author

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a wonderful comment Fpherj48. I started getting into crafts as I am tired of spending ridiculous amounts of money on things like candles. You are right, the high quality candles are almost up to $40 for a large size. That is just tooooo high. I hope you enjoy this craft. You will end up with something nicer than you can make in a store. I appreciate your visit.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading SuzieHQ. I hope you enjoy doing this craft. A little wax goes a long way and you can make several for the price of a regular candle. I wanna see pictures. Thanks again!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting Thelma Alberts. You are one of the best hubbers ever. I always appreciate your visits!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      What a truly amazing idea and beautiful hub!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tammy......You are so crafty and creative. I love these ideas...because I love candles. The really "quality" candles are so expensive, I made sure I spread the news that I think "CANDLES ARE A GREAT "GIFT" IDEA. LOL.

      How unique are those shell candles!! I have several huge Conch Shells that I'd been using here and there as décor because they're so pretty.

      Thank you for showing me what I'm doing with them now!! UP+++

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      LOVE . .LOVE . .LOVIN THIS!!! Fab idea tammy, great instructions, pics and love the wine bottle idea too!! I am candle mad and must start making my own. I also love seashells and have used on my pottery so this is another great use for them! Voting it up and more!!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Wow! This is great. A very creative one. Thanks for SHARING. Voted up and useful.