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How to Polish Sea Shells

Updated on April 9, 2018
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Niina is an artist and illustrator who has a soft spot for mermaids, fairies and dragons.

Collecting Sea Shells

Collecting sea shells and identifying them is one of my favorite hobbies. In this tutorial I shall share with you how I clean and polish sea shells that I collect.

After the day at the beach place your sandy sea shells on towel or a bowl (unless you want sand all over).

Never pick up sea shells that you think they might be alive. If you find a living sea shell from the beach just carefully place it back to the sand. 90% of the sea shells that land on shore are just empty shells.

Removing the sand

Pour some warm water into a large bowl and replace your shells there carefully.Let the sea shells stay in the warm water for a while. Water gently removes the extra sand from the shells.

Drying the sea shells

After the sand has been removed replace sea shells back into the tower and dry them.

If you travel abroad and see pretty sea shells and you wish to take some home with you check the custom and wildlife protection regulations of that country to see if you can bring them home or not.


For polishing it is recommended to use natural oils. You can use bamboo oil, coconut oil, baby oil. I´v even heard some people using olive oil but that can be quite sticky. Personally I like to use coconut oil + it smells good.

Gently start polishing your sea shell with coconut oil. To do this you can use a toothbrush or cotton buds. This great scallop that I found from the beach last weekend is very smooth so I just spread the oil with my hands. If your sea shell has very rough surface I would recommend using toothbrush.

All pretty and shiny! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Love for sea shells

Have you ever polished sea shells?

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