Homemade Shell Ornaments

Introduction: Homemade Shell Ornaments

Looking for something quick and easy to make for last minute presents? Need something to keep the kids busy and out of your hair during the holiday season? Look no further!

These shell ornaments are fun, quick, and easy to make. They are also a great way to get the kiddies involved in the gift making and decorating. They also make awesome keepsakes that your children will want to put on their own trees when they get old and have to move out of the house.  

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Step 1: Gathering Your Supplies

I did not have to buy any of the supplies for this project because I had them around my house. So your cost really will depend on what you already have or how much you want to spend. 

*Glitter (any color)
*Spray adhesive (regular glue works just fine but I think it tends to be a little messy)
*Markers (permanent or paint pens)
*Clear coating 
*Plastic container
*Bleach (to clean the shells if needed)
*Newspaper or other covering for your work surface
*Optional: paint, paint pens, googly eyes

If you live near the beach then the shells will be easy for you to find. If you don't live near the beach but know someone who does, have them collect some and ship them to you.
PLEASE do not take live shells from the beach! Check to make sure any shells you collect do not have living critters inside them. The sand dollars I used for this project were already dead when I collected them from the beach. 
If you do not live near the beach, never fear! Craft stores like Michael's sell bags of shells that would work just the same. 

You might be wondering what kind of shells will work best. Personally, I prefer the sand dollar. They have a built in hole for the ribbon to hang them by. These might be hard to find depending on your location and season. (Please don't kill sand dollars for arts-n-crafts!) If you decide to use "regular" sea shells you can easily attach the ribbon using a glue gun.

Step 2: Cleaning Shells and Setting Up Your Workspace

If you gathered your shells from the beach, you are going to want to clean them. You never know what critters you may have accidentally brought home. No one wants a shell ornament that smells like dead fish. 

Cleaning your shells: 
1. Put your shells in the plastic container. 
2. Mix bleach and water in the container until the level reaches the top of the shells.
3. Leave shells in solution for about an hour. 
4. Rinse after an hour. 
5. Dry before crafting with them.

There is going to be so much glue and glitter that you want to protect whatever surface you are working on. Especially if you have children doing this project. Use some newspaper or a plastic tablecloth over your workspace. 

Step 3: Glitterize Your Shells!

This is the fun part!

1. Lay out your shells on the workspace.

2. Spray shells with the spray adhesive. (or apply glue if you are using regular glue) 

3. Add glitter! Use as much or as little glitter as you want. You can use one color or many colors together.

4. Shake excess glitter off the shells.

5. Let dry for a few minutes.

6. Apply clear coating. Let dry according to instructions.

*Options: Apply liquid glue using a paint brush to make shapes (like christmas trees) then apply glitter in only those areas. 

Step 4: Add the Ribbon and Personalize

You will want to add a ribbon so you can hang your ornament. You can use a lovely ribbon with something festive printed on it or just a plain colored ribbon. It's up to you. 

1. Cut a piece of ribbon between 6- 8 inches. 
2. Slide the ribbon through the slit in the sand dollar. (Or use your hot glue gun to glue it onto your shell.)
3. Tie the ends of the ribbon together. 

*Optional: Use a permanent marker or paint pen on the back of your shell to write a holiday greeting or the date. 

Step 5: Decorate!

Now that your ornament is done, hang it on your tree! Or give it to someone else to hang on their tree!

Other options: Tie it to a gift bag as a bag ornament. Put it on a wreath. 

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