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Make a Seashell Cross

Updated on May 2, 2014

Five Easy Steps to a Seashell Cross

This seashell cross is very easy to make and would be a great craft for children and for seniors in nursing homes.

My mother is in an Alzheimer unit in a home near my house. Mom has always been a busy person and she still is happiest when she is kept busy. I have volunteered to do crafts with the ladies in Mom's home and have been looking for easy crafts and activities to do to keep them busy.

As I was walking along the beach on our vacation it occurred to me that there should be lots of different activities that I could do with Mom's group using seashells. I started right away collecting bags of shells and then went to my computer to research some crafts that I could do. Many of the ideas were too elaborate, so I devised this simple cross seashell to make. I made a sample, which I photographed for this lens, and then went on to work with my Mom's group to make the crosses. It is very simple to make and with just can be altered to work with both children and adults.

Happy Crafting

photographs by Mary Beth Granger

Sea Shells at the Seashore

collect shells as you walk

When we travel, we often go to the ocean. I love to take long walks on the beach and as I walk I also look for unusual shells. The shells in the photo below were found on Coral Cove Beach in Jupiter, Florida. It is one place that we go each year that always seems to have an abundance of shells.

If you have access to a beach then you can collect shells for this project and other shell crafts. If you don't have access to a beach then you can purchase shells at most craft stores or online.

Additional Supplies Needed - Sea Shell Cross

In order to make the shell crosses you will need some foam cutout crosses and some yarn. The tools you will need to complete the project include a hole punch, glue gun, and scissors.

Foam Cross Shapes - multiple color shapes

I bought my foam crosses at a local craft store. Here are some that look very similar. These foam shapes come in a variety of different shapes and colors. Two of the other shapes that I think would good for a shell craft are the heart shapes and the star shapes.

Step One- Sort Sea Shells - sort by size and/or colors

When I do this craft with the ladies in Mom's home, I will first let them sort the shells into groups by size and color. When we do this we can talk about the various shells and everyone can pick their favorites. This will also get the shells ready to make a design on the cross.

Step Two- Punch Hole in Cross

Punch a hole in the top of the cross about 1/2 inch from the top.

Step 3- Add Yarn to Cross

Next you will want to cut a length of yarn to hang the cross. I cut the yarn into 12 inch lengths but you can get them any length that you would like. You will then string the yarn through the hole in the cross and tie a knot near the end.

Step 4- Arrange Shells on Cross

This is the area where you can use a bit of creativity. Each person can arrange their shells in a pattern on the cross. I think it works good to use a variety of sizes on the cross. I first laid out the larger shells and then filled in with smaller ones.

Step 5- Glue on the Shells - use low temp glue gun

In the next step the shells will be glued on to the cross. Pick up the shells one at a time and put a few dots of hot glue on the back of the shell. Then press the shell back into place on the cross. They will dry very fast so make sure you put it back exactly where you want it. Continue with this procedure until all the shells are glued in place.

Low Temp Glue Gun

For this project a low temperature glue gun will work the best.

Finished Shell Cross - door hanger

Here is the finished project. It can be hung on a doorknob or on a hook on the wall. I think it will make a colorful decoration for my Mom and her friends.

Sea Shells to Purchase

If you don't have access to a beach where you can get shells you can purchase shells at a quite reasonable price. I have seen them in various sizes and types at craft stores. Here are some that you can purchase online.

Now that I'm doing crafts with the ladies at my Mom's Alzheimer unit I can sure use some ideas for easy crafts. If you have any ideas please share them with me.

Do you have an idea for an easy craft? - please stop and leave me a message

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    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      I have access to seashells a block from home and a glue gun not yet used. This will be a great starter project and just in time for Easter to make a cross, too.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi this look easy and a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing.

    • whodiesinthenew profile image

      whodiesinthenew 5 years ago

      That is a great idea! I have a jar full of seashells somewhere I could use for this!

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I used to do crafts in an old people's home. I'm sure your Mom and the others there must really enjoy you craft sessions.

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      What a terrific step-by-step lens. I'm sure lots of people will find this very useful, like teachers, and Sunday school teachers. Well done. Congratulations on your Purple Star, too. Blessed!

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      I am so impressed by your devotion to your Mom. My own mom died from complications due to Alzheimer's, so I know how difficult it is to be in your position. Great job on this lens - very inspirational! It's easy to see why it won a purple star!

    • profile image

      anilsaini 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Sea shells always add a very light feel to things. Just like being at the beach

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I like the pictures of the sea shells, congrats on your feature in squidoohq.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Great craft guide to make a thoughtful gift. :)

    • KireinaJeweller1 profile image

      KireinaJeweller1 5 years ago

      That is very cute. Nice idea - hope your mum is doing well.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      Very creative - congrats on the Purple Star!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      What a beautiful craft idea! I just love this seashell cross!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a nice idea. I'll bet the residents really enjoyed this project. Great lens!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 5 years ago

      I like this craft. I like sea shells on lots of different things. Congrats on the purple star!

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      I have seen some wall hanging with sea shells. However, I don't know how were the shells fixed. Long back I saw some small pieces fixed on ladies purse.

    • profile image

      dbialecki 5 years ago

      Very nice.. fun and easy! Thank you for sharing your guide.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      What a great idea. I once tried to do complicated bead making at a senior center and it was so hard for all of them. A few managed and they enjoyed it, but I can see this needs to be kept simple. How about making flowers from tissue paper?

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 5 years ago

      I love the idea of walking first on the beach (if possible) to collect shells for this great crafting project!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      What a lovely craft. I see seashells all the time at garage sales and thrift shops.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      This is a very nice simple craft...perfect for small children, too! I'm going to do this with my kids...they will love it! :) Thanks!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What a wonderful craft! Your mom is so blessed to have you close by to not only visit but work with her and the other ladies. Great topic and so beautifully documented!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      I have made three crosses in the last three months for my secret sister in the quilt guild. One was with button, on was shabby chic and the last one was with pennies that said "Paid in Full". Since she collects crosses for her wall, it looks like now I will need to make one with shells. I didn't consider the foam crosses so thanks for a great idea.

    • CreativeXpressi profile image

      CreativeXpressi 5 years ago

      Really liked your lens. I collect sea shells. I have a lot-too many. After reading your lens, I plan to donate some of my shells to the activities department of my local nursing home. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Those are very nice.

    • PoeticChristian profile image

      PoeticChristian 5 years ago

      Good lens, great for the elderly and children as well. Let them play with play dough or get a bag and fill it with different items and then they take turns telling you what is in the bag. or have them do Color by numbers in coloring books or just color in coloring books period. One thing that might work too is to decorate a plain white box of memories or things they like so they can look at those when they are upset. Take care. Blessings

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for this great idea to do with my elderly Mom. She suffers from dementia, and I like to keep her mind active. We weave pot holders together and then give them as mememto gifts. I know family and friends will appreciate these in years to come.