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She sells sea shells by the sea shore

Updated on November 17, 2012

What's it all about?

In this lens, you'll find a hand full of Frugal Crafting ideas using old sea shells. It was inspired by an old friend who was a chef at a seafood restaurant asking me if I could think of any crafts using lobster shells! I really hope that you enjoy these ideas!!

If you enjoy this lens or find it to be useful and informative, please rate it up at the very top of the page!

What to do with all those sea shells?

Before I became disabled, I used to love to go beach combing. Walking along the ocean shore and picking up odd shells, bits of ocean-smoothed glass, softly rounded pebbles and stones, listening to the waves and the seagulls, and filling my lungs with the fresh salty air was my idea of paradise.

Growing up in Massachusetts and spending wonderful times on Cape Cod with my Daddy and sister made the shore an all time favorite with me. Now that I'm in a wheelchair, the seashore isn't so easy to get to - but I can make it come to me, and so can you, with a few simple crafting ideas.


Candle 1

You can make charming little votive candles to add mood lighting to your mantel or coffee table out of large sea shells and a few inexpensive materials.


* Large clean sea shell such as a quahog

* Paraffin Wax

* Candle colorant chips (optional)

* Candle wick

* Candle scent (optional)

* A pencil or wooden skewer

* Waxed paper

Procedure Place the shell face-up on the waxed paper (this is to catch drips and dribbles). Trim the candle wicking so that it is as deep as the shell with a couple of inches left over and tie one end around the pencil. Place the pencil across your shell so that the wick hangs down in the center of the shell and just touches the bottom. If you are using a particularly large shell of some sort, you may want to put in one or two additional wicks.

At this point, I like to take a taper candle of the color which my candle will be, light it, and drip some of the wax into the bottom of my shell (or jar or cup or tin or whatever I'm using that day), then push the wick into it. This helps the wick to stay stable when pouring the paraffin in.

Melt the paraffin, adding your scent and color (if desired). Be very very careful when melting wax. Always use a double boiler and keep a tight eye on what's going on. Melt small amounts at a time rather than vast quantities.

WARNING! Wax can cause a devastating house fire in next to no time. Never make candles without observing all safety precautions possible. The safety of your home and family are worth a few minutes of careful preparation.

Take care when pouring the melted paraffin into the shell, hot wax can cause severe skin burns. For this reason and the risk of house fires, this is really not a craft for younger children.

After the wax has cooled, you will have an attractive candle or twenty. Approximate time: 20 minutes. Approximate cost: Pennies.

Candle 2

A little bit more involved, these candles are utterly beautiful pillars for atmosphere. They apply themselves wonderfully to a nautical themed decor, but will make a lovely accent for nearly any room (I have two in the bathroom for when I take a bubble bath!).


* Small sea shells or bits of sea glass

* Pillar candles (I use two inch wide by about 6 inch tall candles, but any size will work, and I've even done it with votives)

* Paraffin wax

* A large tin can, big enough to completely place your candle inside

* A pair of pliers (Vise-Grips are preferred, as they grip solidly and lock down, if you don't have them in your craft box, steal your husband's!)

Following proper safety precautions, melt the paraffin in a double boiler, then pour it into the tin can. Do NOT fill the can completely, when you dip your candle the level wax will rise and overflow if you have overfilled. Try filling it no more than one half to two thirds full - that should be plenty.

Grip the wick of your candle in the Vise-Grips and dip it into the tin of wax. Remove it and hold it for a moment, then dip it again. Do this several times, but do not let the wax cool completely between dippings.

Set the candle down on a waxed paper surface and press your sea shells and sea glass into the warm wax coating on your candle. Let this cool for a few minutes, then dip the whole thing several more times into the melted paraffin. When you are satisfied that all of your shells are securely buried under the wax, set the candle down on the waxed paper to cool.

I have done this craft in several ways, from covering the entire candle surface with shells (or pebbles/beads/whatever) to doing patterns along the surface or just putting a ring around the lower or center portion of the candle. They look great and have a very interesting bumpy texture to them.

Time for this one is about 30 minutes, and the cost will be $1-$10, depending on what size candles you use and whether you make them or get them on sale.

Trinket Boxes

I have to admit that I am an avid box collector, and you may eventually get tired of seeing my ideas for making boxes. Even so, I'll continue with box ideas until you all tell me to stop, and this is one of my favorites.


* Assorted small sea shells and sea glass

* An old jewelry box or trinket box (from a yard sale or thrift shop) - you can also use a papier mache box from the craft store

* Craft paints such as Ceramcoat in a sandy tan, black, rich brown, and pale grey

* Paint brushes

* An old toothbrush

* Polyurethane coating

* Glue gun


Prepare your box by cleaning it thoroughly with a damn cloth (if using a recycled wooden, metal, or glass box). Paint with several coats of tan paint, until the box is completely covered, letting it dry between coats. Once this is done and dry, take an old toothbrush and dip it in the black paint, dab off the excess, and run your thumb down the bristles, aiming it so that the paint that comes off splatters onto your box. Repeat this process with the brown and grey paints. You may want to practice this on a piece of newspaper first. The effect you are working to build here is 'sandy stuff'.

Once your paint is completely dry, take your seashells and sea glass and hot glue them onto the top and sides of the box. You can also use a few smooth beach pebbles for effect. I suggest NOT covering the entire box with shells, as it will end up looking like one of those cheap trashy souvenirs from Miami. It looks best if you scatter a few shells here and there, almost as if they were tossed randomly by an ocean wave.

After the box looks the way you want it to, go over it with a paintbrush dipped in polyurethane and when it has dried you have a truly attractive work of art for your trinkets.

This project will take several hours, due to the drying time for paints and polyurethane. It is easy enough for kids to do. If you use yard sale boxes and

The Classic Sea Shell Wind Chimes

What can be more calming than the sound of wind chimes tinkling in the breeze? Use your shells to make a beautiful one.


* Sea shells and sea glass

* A 3, 5, or 6 inch round embroidery frame

* Satin cord in the color(s) of your preference

* A wire coat hanger

* Wire cutters

* A Hot glue gun


With the wire cutters, cut the hook part from your coat hanger, leaving a couple of inches of the wire at either side. Taking the remaining piece of wire in hand, cut it into two even length pieces, about three inches longer than your embroidery frame is wide.

Bend the two wires in the center to a very slight angle. Place the wires across each other at the bends so that they form a +, all wire ends pointing down, and hot glue to secure. Bend the two ends on the hook around the cross formed by the other two wires, to make it truly secure. Next you need to bend the very ends of the cross wires around your embroidery hoop, at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock directions. Apply a touch of hot glue to each connection point to hold it secure. This forms the 'hanger' for your chimes.

Cut pieces of your satin cord, each 15 inches long. Tie the end of one of the cords at the center point of the hanging apparatus, and the rest by one end around the embroidery frame, about two inches apart and hot glue the contact point of each cord to secure into place.

Hot glue shells and pieces of sea glass to the ends of the cords. Try to use a particularly long one for the center 'clapper' piece. If you feel creative, try trimming the cords to different lengths before gluing shells and glass on, but make sure that the ends are close enough in length that the pieces will hit each other in a breeze.

You can hot glue shells and sea glass around the edges of the embroidery frame and on the wire crosspieces, for an added touch.

Time: This one can take anywhere from an hour to a day, depending on how much time you want to put into the "perfect design". Difficulty: Although this one is fairly easy, because it calls for wire cutters and hot melt glue it is not a craft for young kids, it is best left to adolescents and adults, although the younger ones can help by selecting the shells and deciding which to put where. Cost: This will depend on if you purchase shells or use found ones. The ultimate cost will be anywhere from a couple of dollars to upwards of $50 (some of those shells are EXPENSIVE!)

I hope that these ideas have given you some thoughts to mull over, and will serve as a spark for you to develop further ideas of your own.

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      clm5322 10 years ago


      Thanks for visiting my lens! I saw this diy one that you did, and love the crafts. You have some really good ideas!

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 10 years ago

      Very interesting, informative fun lens! Thanks for visiting my How To Make Chocolate Fudge That Will Have Your Friends & Family Begging For More! Lens.


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